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Do extracurricular activities protect against early school dropout?
Abstract and Figures
This study examined the relation between involvement in school-based extracurricular activities and early school dropout. Longitudinal assessments were completed for 392 adolescents (206 girls, 186 boys) who were initially interviewed during 7th grade and followed up annually to 12th grade. A person-oriented cluster analysis based on Interpersonal Competence Scale ratings from teachers in middle schools (i.e., 7th-8th grades) identified configurations of boys and girls who differed in social-academic competence. Early school dropout was defined as failure to complete the 11th grade. Findings indicate that the school dropout rate among at-risk students was markedly lower for students who had earlier participated in extracurricular activities compared with those who did not participate (p < .001). However, extracurricular involvement was only modestly related to early school dropout among students who had been judged to be competent or highly competent during middle school.
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