Out-of-School Time Activity Participation, School Engagement and Positive Youth Development: Findings from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development


  • Yibing Li Tufts University
  • Neda Bebiroglu Tufts University
  • Erin Phelps Tufts University
  • Richard M. Lerner Tufts University
  • Jacqueline V. Lerner Boston College School of Education




The relations in early adolescence among out-of-school-time activities and indicators of youth development were assessed through the use of 8th grade data from the longitudinal, 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development. Hierarchical multiple linear regressions indicated that “hanging out” with friends without set plans and excessive media use were associated with lower behavioral engagement with school, lower academic achievement, and higher rates of risk behaviors. Youth who ate dinner with their family reported higher levels of emotional engagement, lower depression and risk behaviors, and better grades. Engagement in civic activities was associated with higher levels of emotional engagement. Behavioral and emotional engagement were both associated with better grades and lower depression. Emotional school engagement was also associated with lower rates of risk behaviors. Implications of the findings for evaluating the role of out-of-school-time activities and behavioral and/or emotional school engagement in academic achievement and youth development are discussed.






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