This study examined extracurricular participation for 3 years in a sample of 1,216 justice-involved young men (Mage = 15.29).
Extracurricular activities (ECAs) have been found to promote positive youth development and protect against misconduct and minor delinquency; however, little research has examined whether ECA participation predicts delinquency among at-risk young men or considered how delinquent behavior, in turn, impacts ECA participation. In the current study approximately half of the sample participated in ECA each year. A cross-lagged panel model was used to examine the bi-directional association between ECA participation and two types of delinquency, school misconduct, and criminal offending. The results suggest that ECA participation did not consistently predict subsequent delinquency. Rather, justice-involved young men who engaged in more delinquency were less likely to participate in ECAs. (publisher abstract modified)