Immediate Influence

Access to healthy food, physical activities and entertainment

Parent construct: Peer influences

When early adolescent youth have positive, healthy activities and entertainment their prosocial skills and tendencies grow. Research on youth behavior tells us that involvement in structured, positive activities reduces youth negative behavior such as crime including substance use,1 misbehavior at school,2 school dropout,3 and delinquent activity.4 This research also shows us that participation in positive extracurricular activities leads to better grades,2 test scores,5 and school attendance.3 Positive extracurricular opportunities include physical activities like sports teams, non-competitive organized physical activity, and other activities such as religious groups, music classes and lessons, and/or supervised after school clubs and programs.6

Related Interventions




Psychology, 84, 553-562.

  1. Cooley, V. E., Henriksen, L. W., Van Nelson, C., & Thompson Jr., J. C. (1995). A study to determine the effect of extracurricular participation on student alcohol and drug use in secondary schools. Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education, 40(2), 71-87.  

  2. Marsh, H. (1992). Extracurricular activities: Beneficial extension of the traditional curriculum or subversion of academic goals? Journal of Educational  

  3. Mahoney, J. & Cairns, R. (1997). Do extracurricular activities protect against early school dropout? Developmental Psychology, 33, 241-253.  

  4. Landers, D., & Landers, D. (1978). Socialization via interscholastic athletics: Its effects on delinquency. Sociology of Education, 51, 299-303.  

  5. Gerber, S. (1996). Extracurricular activities and academic achievement. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 30, 42-50.  

  6. Duncan, S.C., Duncan, T.E., Strycker, L.A., & Chaumeton, N.R. (2002). Relations Between Youth Antisocial and Prosocial Activities. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 25:5, 425-438.