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14-05-2015 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 11/2015

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 11/2015

Mexican-Origin Youth Participation in Extracurricular Activities: Predicting Trajectories of Involvement from 7th to 12th Grade

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 11/2015
Nickki Pearce Dawes, Kathryn L. Modecki, Nancy Gonzales, Larry Dumka, Roger Millsap


The potential benefits of participation in extracurricular activities may be especially important for youth who are at risk for academic underachievement, such as low income Mexican-origin youth in the U.S. To advance understanding of factors that drive participation for this population, this study examined Mexican-origin youth’s trajectories of participation in extracurricular activities across Grades 7–12 and tested theoretically-derived predictors of these trajectories. Participants were 178 adolescents (53.9 % Female, Mage = 12.28) and their mothers who separately completed in-home interviews. Youth reported the frequency of their participation across a range of extracurricular activities. Latent growth curve models of overall extracurricular activities participation, sports participation, and fine arts participation were individually estimated via structural equation modeling. The findings demonstrated developmental declines in overall participation and in sports participation. For fine arts, declines in participation in middle school were followed by subsequent increases during high school (a curvilinear pattern). Motivationally-salient predictors of participation trajectories included youth’s traditional cultural values orientation (sports), the mothers’ educational aspirations for the youth (sports, fine arts, overall activity), and youth gender (sports, fine arts). Overall, the results suggest variability in participation trajectories based on program type, and highlight the need for additional research to enhance our understanding of the impact of culturally-relevant predictors on participation over time.

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