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					After-school Activities as Contexts for the
   Development of Peer Relationships
      & Interpersonal Competence:

         Promises and Problems



               Joseph L. Mahoney
            Department of Psychology
                 Yale University

            Learning with Excitement
               Harvard University
                 October 3, 2003
Key Features that Promote
  Positive Development

 1. Physical and Psychological Safety
 2. Appropriate Structure
 3. Supportive Relationships
 4. Opportunities for Belonging
 5. Positive Social Norms
 6. Support for Efficacy and Mattering
 7. Opportunity for Skill Building
 8. Integration of Family, School, & Community

                                           Source: Eccles & Gootman (2002)
Structured After-school Activities are
 Often High in these Key Features
                  • Voluntary

               • Meet Regularly

               • Led by an Adult

          • Emphasize Skill Building

     • Aim to Promote Positive Development
         Selection to Participate in an
       After-school Activity Setting also:

      Selects Extent of Involvement in Other After-school Settings

Selects Opportunities to Develop the Skills & Values Afforded by the Setting


 Selects Type, Frequency, and Quality of Social Interactions with Adults


  Selects Type, Frequency, and Quality of Social Interactions with Peers
                  • Partially Determines the Peer Group



             NOT INHERENTLY POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE
 After-school Activities May Be Ideal Settings to
    Promote and Maintain Peer Relationships



                  PROPINQUITY



  INITIAL SIMILARITY BASED ON A COMMON INTEREST




INCREASING SIMILARITY THROUGH SOCIAL INTERCHANGES
        Intraclass Correlations:
   Middle School Activity Participation
     & 8th Grade Social Networks

        Band              .24**
        Basketball        .28**
        Cheerleading      .41*** (girls)
        Chorus            .21**
        Football          .32*** (boys)
        Student Council   .11

**p<.01, ***p<.001
 Relationship Ties
Among Cheerleaders
    Relationship Ties
Among Matched Counterparts
    (school, gender, grade, race, SES)
   Supporting Qualitative Evidence

Interviewer: “Who all hangs around together at school?”

Michael (grade 11): “There’s always several different groups.
Um, the sports teams…the girls’ tennis team, the cheerleaders,
the basketball team all seem to have their groups. A lot of people
in the BETA club hang around other BETA club members.
A lot of people in F.F.A. hang around together.

Interviewer: That kind of determines it?

Michael: “Clubs, clubs, clubs and sports determine a lot of things like that.”
                                School Dropout
               100
                90
                80
                70
     %          60
                50
                40
                30
                20
                10
                 0
                                               Problems
                                  Aggressive




                                               Multiple
                                     Risk




Sources: Mahoney (1997; 2000)
                                     School Dropout
          100
           90
           80
           70
           60
         % 50
           40
           30
           20
           10
            0
                                    NO                      YES
                                Extracurricular Activity Involvement
Sources: Mahoney (1997; 2000)
                           Peers and School Dropout
                    100
                    90
                    80
                    70
       Percentage




                    60
                    50
                    40
                    30
                    20
                    10
                     0
                          Neither    Peers   Individual    Both
                                     Only      Only
                          Individual & Peer Activity Involvement
Source: Mahoney (2000)
                   Needed:
    Process-oriented, Longitudinal Studies
                                          Changes in Peer
   Parental
                                          Relationships &
Beliefs, Values,
                                               Status
Encouragement
                                              Mentoring
                    Structured
  Individual                                                                    Interpersonal
                   After-school
 Competence                                                                     Competence
                     Activity
                   Participation                School
                                              Attachment
     Peer
   Influence
                                              Parent-Child
                                               Relations
Neighborhood &
 Demographic
    Factors
                            Sources: Mahoney, Cairns, & Farmer (2003); Mahoney, Larson, Eccles & Lord (in press)
    A Question from Greg Pettit

“Although after-school programs may present
  potential benefits, what are the likely impacts of
  poorly supervised after-school programs, or
  poor interactions among adults or peers within
  these programs? What are the implications?”
Peer Relationships in Less Structured After-school Activities?
 Guiding Philosophy of the Youth Centers
          (“Metro News” - February 1999)

    “Nearly half of Stockholm’s youth are not members in
 an organization. The youth centers do not compete with the
organized activities. Youth have the right not to do something
   in particular. The centers should be available for youth
     who don’t want to do anything special – just to meet
        with peers, drink coffee, and chat a little bit.”

    “Without our centers, the alternative for these youth
      is to hang out on the streets and city squares.”
     “What’s important is that there are people
with life experience that supervise the youth centers.
        They don’t need much of a pedagogy.”

     “Here one can meet and be with peers, and
               maybe even fall in love.
That is the fundamental purpose of the youth centers.”
Characteristics of the Youth Centers

    •Open from Afternoon to 11:00pm
    •Boys & Girls Participate
    •Ages 13 to 19
    •Serve Many Adolescents
    •Few Adults to Supervise
    •Many Youth are At-Risk
    •Few Structured Activities
              High Risk Youth are Over-Represented
                      at the Youth Centers
                     1
                   0.9
                   0.8
      Proportion




                   0.7
                   0.6
                   0.5
                   0.4
                   0.3
                   0.2
                   0.1
                     0
                         Competent             Mild AGG   Lo ACH   Lo PEER    Multiple
                                                                   & Lo ACH   Problems
                           19%                  24%       17%        17%        23%

                                                Age 10 Adjustment Pattern
Source: Mahoney, Stattin, & Magnusson (2001)
                            Youth Center Participation
                         and Criminal Arrests (ages 13-30)
   2 to 3                                       Non-Participants   Participants
  No. of Arrests




                   1
                        Mean




                   0
                       Competent          Mild AGG        Lo ACH     Lo PEER &    Multiple
                                                                       Lo ACH     Problems


                                               Age 10 Adjustment Pattern
Source: Mahoney, Stattin, & Magnusson (2001)
                              Violent Behavior:
                                Grades 8 to 9
ONCE OR
        2
 TWICE
 Frequency




             1.5




NEVER         1
                             No                        Yes
                   Became Involved in the Youth Centers During Grade 9?

                                                        Source: Mahoney, Stattin, & Lord (under review)
                          Property Offending:
                             Grades 8 to 9
ONCE OR
        2
 TWICE
 Frequency




             1.5




 NEVER        1
                             No                        Yes
                   Became Involved in the Youth Centers During Grade 9?

                                                        Source: Mahoney, Stattin, & Lord (under review)
                              Substance Use:
                               Grades 8 to 9
ONCE OR
        2
 TWICE
 Frequency




             1.5




 NEVER        1
                             No                        Yes
                   Became Involved in the Youth Centers During Grade 9?

                                                        Source: Mahoney, Stattin, & Lord (under review)
                                   Vandalism:
                                  Grades 8 to 9
ONCE OR
        2
 TWICE
 Frequency




             1.5




 NEVER        1
                             No                        Yes
                   Became Involved in the Youth Centers During Grade 9?

                                                        Source: Mahoney, Stattin, & Lord (under review)
                Once Involved, Youth Center Attendees
                     Had Peers Who More Often


                                                                    Older
                                           Stayed Out Late at Night

                                Had Been Arrested by the Police

                       The Combination of Older, Deviant Peers
                       May Be Especially Problematic for Girls


Sources: Mahoney & Stattin (2000); Stattin et al. (in press); Persson et al. (under review)
          Do We Know Better?


      “For Recreation,             Unstructured
Just Give Them a Hangout!”     “Night Rec” Programs
  -Wallingford, CT Newspaper
         (April 12, 2000)           Expanding
     What are the Implications for Developing
        Effective After-school Activities?

                       Characteristics of Youth Served

                      • Gender, Age, Behavior/Competence
                        • Maturity, Interests, Needs, Values




Involvement of Activity Leaders
                                                 Appropriateness of the Activities
    • Supervision/Monitoring
           •Mentoring                                            • Desirable
       • Guidance/Support                                       • Purposeful
                                                               • Challenging
               Question

What can be done to encourage a better link
      between research and practice?

  (The Swedish Centers Know About Our
     Findings But Have Not Changed)

				
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