Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. H. Thompson Prout

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the potential outcomes of participating in structured extracurricular activities (SEA) as an adolescent. Research has previously demonstrated that beneficial outcomes commonly associated with SEA participation include academic achievement and educational/career ambitions, positive social outcomes, and psychological well-being. It is thought that the benefits of SEA participation may be mediated by adolescents’ feelings of school belongingness and positive relationships. By extension, school belongingness is a key contributor to engagement, academic achievement, positive social relationships, and mental well-being. Although the research is typically positive, one must be careful in overgeneralizing that increasing student participation in SEAs will facilitate these positive outcomes. This study sought to address SEA participation and the outcomes of students who were from a low socioeconomic background. Additionally, the study sought to determine what the long-term outcomes were for these same students once they achieved young adulthood.

The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health Wave I and Wave IV was utilized for this study (Harris, et al. 2009). Three regression models were tested in two stages. In the first model, SEA participation and adolescent psychological well-being were used to predict adult psychological well-being. In the second stage, school belongingness was added to the model. School belongingness was considered to be a significant mediating variable if: (1) SEA participation and adolescent psychological well-being significantly predicted adult psychological well-being; and (2) the effect of adolescent psychological well-being and SEA participation was significantly diminished when school belongingness was added to the model.

Models two and three were similar in nature. In the second and third models, SEA participation and GPA were used to predict adult income and educational attainment. In the second stage of each model, school belongingness was added to GPA and SEA participation to predict educational attainment and adult income. School belongingness was considered to be a significant mediating variable if: (1) SEA participation and GPA significantly predicted educational attainment and adult income in the first model; and (2) the effect of GPA and SEA participation was significantly diminished when school belongingness was added to the model.

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