School Extracurricular Activity Participation and Early School Dropout: A Mixed-Method Study of the Role of Peer Social Networks

Joseph L. Mahoney


This longitudinal study employs a mixed-method design to study associations between participation in school-based extracurricular activities, as measured using school yearbooks, and rates of early school dropout. The role of peer social networks that surround activity participation is of particular interest. Results show that the peer social networks of adolescents overlap significantly with the particular types of extracurricular activities in which they participate over time. Processes of selection and socialization that include the use of social aggression appear to regulate changes in activity membership. When both the individual and his/her social network participate in extracurricular activities the risk of early school dropout is diminished significantly. This activity-associated reduction in dropout is pronounced for youth previously identified as highly aggressive by school personnel.

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Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology   ISSN 1927-0526 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0534 (Online)

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