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Adolescents' Extracurricular Participation in Context: The Mediating Effects of Schools, Communities, and Identity

Andrew Guest and Barbara Schneider
Sociology of Education
Vol. 76, No. 2 (Apr., 2003), pp. 89-109
DOI: 10.2307/3090271
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3090271
Page Count: 21
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Adolescents' Extracurricular Participation in Context: The Mediating Effects of Schools, Communities, and Identity
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Abstract

To understand the meaning of high school students' participation in extracurricular activities, it is important to account for social contexts as influences on development. This study investigated how school and community contexts relate to associations among high school students' extracurricular participation, academic achievement, and educational ambition. On the basis of survey data from the Alfred P. Sloan Study of Youth and Social Development, the results show that participation in sports is most strongly associated with achievement in schools with low educational expectations and schools in poor communities. Participation in non-sports extracurricular activities, while also demonstrating some contextual variation, is more consistently associated with both higher academic achievement and higher educational expectations across types of communities than is participation in sports. A further examination of these associations suggests that having an athletic identity accounts for much of the variation in the value of sports. Thus, identity can help to explain the finding that social contexts differentially influence developmental outcomes associated with participation in extracurricular activities.

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