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Impact of Frequency of Extracurricular Activity Participation on Aggression and Victimization Levels Alysha N. Ramirez, Noel A. Card and Diana M. Meter


Results • Higher frequency of participation in sports significantly predicted higher levels of relational aggression and lower levels of relational victimization

•Aggression is behavior enacted with the intention of harming others (Parke & Slaby, 1983). Victimization occurs when individuals are targeted by these aggressive acts (Perry, Kusel & Perry, 1988)

• Participation in sports did not predict higher or lower levels of overt aggression and victimization

• Aggression and victimization have two distinct forms: overt, which involves an act which can be openly identified (i.e. hitting, kicking, verbal abuse) and relational, which include covert forms with roles not necessarily identifiable (i.e. rumor spreading, gossiping) (Card et al., 2008) • Both forms has been associated with maladjustment (Card et al., 2009)

• Higher frequency of participation in performance activities did not significantly predict levels of aggression or victimization

•99% of public schools offer some array of extracurricular activities (US Embassy, 2009) and different extracurricular activities are related to different outcomes

• Higher frequency of participation in social activities significantly predicted a lower level of overt and relational aggression

• Religious activities and volunteer work promote prosocial behavior and decrease risky behavior (Barber, Stone & Eccles, 1999) • Performance arts can yield higher levels of well being and constructive ways of dealing with strong emotions (Sloboda & O’Neill, 2001) but can also yield higher levels of being bullied (Howe & Sloboda, 1992) • Sports can promote risky behavior (Barber, Stone & Eccles, 1999), heighten communication skills (Collot D’escury & Dudink, 2010), and provide protective factors from bullying (Harter, 2001)

•CURRENT STUDY: There is little to no empirical research on how frequency of different extracurricular activities can impact levels of overt and relational aggression and victimization. Due to the amount of time youth could be spending in extracurricular activities and based on previous findings of other developmental behaviors being effected by these activities, it is important to determine whether frequency of involvement in certain extracurricular activities predicts levels of different forms of aggression and victimization.


Conclusions and Implications • Sports only predicted increased levels of relational aggression and victimization • Athletics may help youth develop communication skills which could be aiding in the enactment of relational aggression • Students involved in sports may be perceived as more popular – involvement in social status competition could lead to higher levels of relational victimization and aggression • Contrary to previous research, performance art participation frequency did not predict higher or lower levels of aggression and victimization Model Fit χ2

(135, n=510) = 470.62 RMSEA = .068(.062‐.075) CFI = .89 TLI/NNFI = .86 

•Data was collected in 2012 as part of a larger study on peer relationships in adolescence. All surveys were confidential and administered in the same manner. Instructions for each survey were given verbally and visually prior to them beginning. Students were given an allotted time for each survey.

Analytic Plan

•Participants were a group of 528 middle school students from the Southwest United States • 229 Females • 11 – 16 years old; mean age = 14 • 47% Caucasian • 24.8% Hispanic • 7.1% African American

•Frequencies of the following extracurricular activities were measured on a five point scale of “never” to “every day” and grouped together based on previous research (Eccles & Barber, 1999)

•Frequencies of aggression and victimization were measured using a self-report questionnaire (Card & Hodges, 2006)

• Social: Church, Volunteering, Clubs, Student Government • Performing Arts: Band, Drama • Sports

•Data was analyzed using structural equation modeling (--- denotes non sig path)

• A potential reason for this is the low overall rates of aggression and victimization within this sample

• Social activities did predict lower aggression levels • Prosocial skills are developed in these activities potentially combat against aggression • Conclusion: Frequency of extracurricular activities does impact levels of both forms of aggression and victimization but could be dependent on the activity being participated in by the individual • Implications: When designing the structure of an activity, characteristics being taught need to be taken into account

Acknowledgements The project described was supported by a grant (R21HD061345) from NICHD and by the National Science Foundation Grant No. (DGE-1143953). The authors acknowledge funding from the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families. A PDF version of this academic poster is available at:


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