Abstract: Extracurricular Activities and Bullying and Peer Victimization in Early and Middle Adolescence (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

450P Extracurricular Activities and Bullying and Peer Victimization in Early and Middle Adolescence

Saturday, January 15, 2022
Marquis BR Salon 6, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Jun Sung Hong, PhD, Associate Professor, Wayne State University, MI
EunJee Song, Doctoral Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Kevin Tan, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Anthony Peguero, PhD, Professor, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Yejin Sohn, MSW, Survivor Advocate, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Dorothy Espelage, PhD, Professor, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Background and Purpose: A significant number of anti-bullying programs has been developed and implemented in schools, which mostly consisted of whole-school approach, teacher training, and classroom rules on bullying. Less explored is whether organized activities, or extracurricular activities, such as in-school and out-of-school sports, clubs, and community service activities, might play a role in decreasing adolescent bullying and peer victimization. Extracurricular activities provide adolescents with contexts for developing their abilities, strengths, and friendships. They are sustainable because activities are integrated into schools and do not require the large amount of time, resources, and personnel that anti-bullying programs require. This exploratory study investigates whether various types of sports and non-sports related extracurricular activities might be correlated with bullying perpetration and peer victimization

Methods: Data for the present study are the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), a nationally representative survey. The total sample for the study is 50,212, and the sample size for the study is 35,718 children (aged 6-12 years) and adolescents (aged 13-17 years) whose mothers had completed all the requested data on the focal child’s age, sex, and race/ethnicity. Variables are bullying perpetration, peer victimization, participation in sports team/lesson, participation in non-sport clubs/organizations, participation in organized activities/lessons, participation in community activities/volunteer, participation in regular employment, and the covariates (age, sex, race/ethnicity, family economic hardship, parental employment). Analyses include descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression in which analyses for the two groups were conducted: early adolescent group (ages 10–14 years) and middle adolescent group (ages 15–17 years).

Results: Among early adolescents, only sports showed negative associations with peer victimization. Those who participate in clubs/organizations, organized activities or lessons, and community services are less likely to perpetrate bullying, although those who are employed were more likely to bully others. For middle adolescents, those who participated in sports, clubs/organizations, organized activities or lessons, community services, or employment were less at risk of peer victimization. Concerning bullying perpetration, our findings suggest that participation in organized activities or lessons and community services were negatively associated with bullying perpetration.

Conclusions and Implications: At the community level, the situational and environmental context to which organizations are embedded are not similar across communities. In other words, urban communities have an increased likelihood that youth must navigate and avoid disorder, crime, violence, and/or potentially dangerous environments to participate in extracurricular activities compared to suburban communities. At the school level, the ability to offer a wide variety of extracurricular activities as well as the associated adult supervision to ensure the safety and well-being of students with such participation is not equitable across distinct types of contexts. At the individual youth level, there are disparities associated with the participation and treatment of youth in extracurricular activities. In total, providing opportunities for extracurricular activity participation for all youth is a fundamental pursuit towards educational equity; however, there are several hurdles and challenges to ensure the safety and well-being of all youth to engage in all extracurricular activity offerings in diverse situational contexts.