Measuring Two Constructs of Afterschool Activity Participation: Breadth and Intensity

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Palma, Jose R.
Van Boekel, Martin
Hufnagle, Ashley S.

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Texas Education Review


The benefits of afterschool activity participation for youth development are well-documented. An interesting question dominating this field is whether there is a threshold at which point participating in too many activities (breadth) and spending too much time in those activities (intensity) is negatively associated with desirable outcomes. Using 9th grade student data (N=115,731) from three administrations of a state-wide school survey, we explore whether students’ breadth and intensity of afterschool participation is associated with GPA and perceived family and community support. Findings corroborate prior research in demonstrating the association between breadth and intensity. Importantly, we extend the discussion, with three important observations. First, a linear model is insufficient for modeling these complex associations with outcomes. Second, there is a threshold at which too much participation has a negative impact in these outcomes. Third, variations in activities, time windows and indices have small or no influence in the association with outcomes.



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