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Examining the patterns of out-of-school time activities in relation to positive youth development for a population of 4th grade children Sweiss, Lina

Abstract

Situated within a positive youth development (PYD) perspective, the purpose of the present study was to examine the combination of structured programs and free-time activities in a population-level sample of fourth grade children in relation to the Five Cs of PYD (i.e., indicators of positive functioning that include confidence, competence, connections, character, and caring; Lerner, Lerner et al., 2005). Data for this research were drawn from a large, population-level study. In all, 2,741 grade 4 children (48% girls) from diverse socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds in a large urban school district in Western Canada participated. A person-centered approach was used to identify different profile groups of involvement in structured programs and free-time activities during out-of-school time (OST). Profile groups were created using a cluster analytic technique for 2,193 children’s responses to four structured programs (educational lessons, art/music lessons, individual sports, and team sports) and eight free-time activities (sports/exercise for fun, watching television, video/computer games, instant messaging, reading for fun, practicing a musical instrument, household chores, and arts and crafts). Cluster analysis revealed three distinct profile groups of children that included a low involvement profile group (watching television, video/computer games, reading for fun), a free-time involvement profile group (participation in all eight free-time activities), and a high involvement profile group (participation in all four structured programs and all eight free-time activities). Hierarchical multiple regression was used to control for gender, language, family composition, and SES. Regression results and effect sizes showed the largest differences between children in the low involvement profile group and children in the high involvement profile group. Regression results and effect sizes showed minimal differences between children in the free-time involvement profile group and children in the high involvement profile group. Regression analyses examining interactions with gender and SES by profile groups were not significant. This study informs research and practice by addressing the patterns of participation in structured programs and free-time activities during middle childhood—two types of settings that primarily have been treated separately in the literature on OST and PYD during middle childhood.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada

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