This study evaluated four sets of factors hypothesized to amplify adolescents' developmental and negative experience in organized youth activities. A representative sample of 1,822 eleventh grade students from 19 high schools completed the computer-administered Youth Experience Survey. Findings indicated that amount of time, motivation, holding a lead role, and the ratio of adults-to-youth were independently related to students' reports of developmental experience in an organized activity. These variables accounted for substantially more variance (23%) in reported developmental experiences than type of activity (3%); and they had only modest relationships with youths' negative experiences (2% of total variance). The findings suggest that developmental benefits of programs might be higher if youth were motivated by enjoyment and had lead roles more often. Further, they raise an important policy issue regarding how to make best use of staff to maximize developmental benefits.
- Organized youth activities
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology