The Role of Neighborhood Ecological Assets and Activity Involvement in Youth Developmental Outcomes: Differential Impacts of Asset Poor and Asset Rich Neighborhoods

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Developmental system theories recognize that variables from multiple levels of organization within the bioecology of human development contribute to adolescent development, including individual factors, family factors and the neighborhood which includes extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities provide a context for youth development, and participation has been linked with positive developmental outcomes. This study uses data from a subsample of early adolescents in the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development to determine whether neighborhood assets moderate the effect of adolescent activity involvement on positive and negative developmental outcomes. The relationship between activity involvement and neighborhood assets was different for girls as compared to boys when assessing outcomes of positive youth development, risk behavior, and depression. Consistent with a developmental systems perspective, the findings affirm the need for researchers and practitioners to consider multiple contextual influences when seeking to understand or promote, respectively, positive youth development.



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