Abstract: Previous research indicates that participation in extracurricular activities is negatively associated with involvement in various forms of risk behaviors among adolescents. However, little attention has been given to the influence of extracurricular activities on youths' involvement in violence and the possibility of variation in risk outcomes by activity type and participants. This study examines variation in the associations between extracurricular activities and violence involvement by activity portfolio and immigrant generation. First, drawing on social control arguments which emphasize that adolescents who participate in school extracurricular activities are tightly bonded to conventional institutions, Jiang hypothesizes that participation in three types of activities, i.e., sports alone, non-sports alone, and both sports and non-sports, contribute to a reduced likelihood of violence participation. Second, studies have shown that the preventive effects of extracurricular activities are particularly strong for high-adversity adolescents and for historically disadvantaged racial/ethnic minorities. Given the adversities encountered by immigrants in settling into and adopting a new culture, quick assimilation into mainstream extracurricular programs may be a particularly effective delinquency prevention for newly arrived immigrant youth. Thus, Jiang hypothesizes that the preventive effect of extracurricular activities on reducing the likelihood of violence involvement is stronger among earlier than later immigrant generations.
With data collected during the first two waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), Jiang uses survey-corrected logistic regression models to assess the above hypotheses. The results show that: (1) although later immigrant generations have higher level of participation than the earlier ones, all immigrant generations are active in activity participation; (2) while participation in non-sports is negatively associated with violence involvement, participation in sports alone shows a positive relationship to violence involvement; and (3) extracurricular activities are positively related to violence among first generation Hispanics, and among first generation Asians (an immigrant group with low delinquency rates and "model minority" status). Possible explanations for these patterns and their implications for public policies are discussed.