Identity formation and group cohesion are of critical importance to teenagers. Academic and social experiences are dramatically influenced by the ease in which teens can work with and relate to others.
Mahoney, author of “School Extracurricular Activity Participation as a Moderator in the Development of Antisocial Patterns," found that individuals who became involved in school extracurricular activities were less likely to drop out of school as adolescents or become arrested as young adults.
The study conducted by Fredricks and Eccles, “Extracurricular Involvement and Adolescent Adjustment: Impact of Duration, Number of Activities, and Breadth of Participation," reflected that greater participation in extracurricular activities for the oldest group of studied adolescents was predictive of academic adjustment and heightened psychosocial competencies due to developmental differences and changes in the nature of activity participation. As previously mentioned, activities mature along with the interests, abilities and goals of participants.
The teenage years can be associated with resistance and antisocial behaviors. Participation in extracurricular activities at school has the potential to make a profound impression in the lives of vulnerable youth. Mahoney (2000) said that participation continues to have an associated positive influence beyond the years of formal schooling and that those at highest risk for persistent antisocial behavior found simultaneous participation of their peer social network in school activities to be critical in the associated reduction of antisocial patterns across development.
Teams, groups and clubs create opportunities for the connection of peers from a variety of backgrounds and associations. The bonds created strengthen the support systems of impressionable youth and bolster confidence in social interactions. Mahoney examined, “School Extracurricular Activity Participation as a Moderator in the Development of Antisocial Patterns," and found effective youth programs to be highly organized and structured, with regular meetings that emphasize on increasingly complex skill building as an activity goal led by one or more competent adults. This setting ascertains stability with the promotion of progress as a collective unit. For teenagers, the group process can create confidence and trust in others during a time of life that challenges intimacy and faith.
Image by Joe Shlabotnik