Can involvement in extra-curricular activities help prevent juvenile delinquency?

Mar 22, 2008

Parents concerned about their teens' involvement in risky and criminal behavior have traditionally involved their kids in sports, church and community activities. Do those activities really help prevent risky behaviors in youth? And do the activities affect boys and girls differently? New research published by SAGE in Crime & Delinquency studies those questions, helping parents and youth workers design effective delinquency prevention plans.

The study, conducted by Northeastern University researchers, looked separately at delinquency and risky behaviors for both young men and young women in a suburban high school and how involvement in outside activities influenced those behaviors. The findings provided interesting, and, in some cases, surprising results.

While they found that involvement in extra-curricular activities definitely seemed to minimize the risky behaviors, there seemed to be a “tipping point” where too much participation had a counter-effect. They also found that nontraditional activities for each gender (such as sports for girls and church for boys) provided a greater protection from delinquency.

The researchers believe that extracurricular involvement helps deter delinquency by reducing unstructured time, providing incentives to conform, and creating avenues for attachments with other pro-social peers and adults.

“Young people who participate in sports and both community and church activities report significantly less serious delinquency as well as less problem drinking and risky sexual behavior,” writes co-author Sean P. Varano, Ph.D. “A healthy and measured dose of involvement in extracurricular activities is good for young people.”

Source: SAGE Publications

Explore further: Leading medical experts call for an end to UK postcode lottery for liver disease treatment and detection

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers unwind the mysteries of the cellular clock

15 minutes ago

Human existence is basically circadian. Most of us wake in the morning, sleep in the evening, and eat in between. Body temperature, metabolism, and hormone levels all fluctuate throughout the day, and it ...

Signaling molecule crucial to stem cell reprogramming

15 minutes ago

While investigating a rare genetic disorder, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that a ubiquitous signaling molecule is crucial to cellular reprogramming, a finding with ...

Geologists cite hair as 'human provenance tool'

1 hour ago

Scott Samson, professor of Earth sciences and a faculty fellow of the Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute (FNSSI), is leading a multiyear study of strontium (Sr), a metallic element found in ...

Recommended for you

Doctor behind 'free radical' aging theory dies

Nov 25, 2014

Dr. Denham Harman, a renowned scientist who developed the most widely accepted theory on aging that's now used to study cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses, has died in Nebraska at age 98.

Mexican boy who had massive tumor recovering

Nov 25, 2014

An 11-year-old Mexican boy who had pieces of a massive tumor removed and who drew international attention after U.S. officials helped him get treatment in the southwestern U.S. state of New Mexico is still recovering after ...

New medical device to make the mines safer

Nov 21, 2014

Dehydration can be a serious health issue for Australia's mining industry, but a new product to be developed with input from Flinders University's Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) is set to more effectively ...

US family gets $6.75 million in Botox case

Nov 20, 2014

A New York couple who said Botox treatment of their son's cerebral palsy left him with life-threatening complications and sued its manufacturer won a $6.75 million verdict from a federal jury on Thursday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.