Idle Hands and Empty Pockets? Youth Involvement in Extracurricular Activities, Social Capital, and Economic Status

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Using data from the Survey of Adults and Youth, the authors examine the effect of economic status on youths' involvement in both school- and nonschool-related extracurricular activities. Specifically, they assess the association between four alternative measures of economic status-recipiency of food stamps, Aid to Families with Dependent Children/Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, family income, or financial worries-and youth participation in extracurricular activities. The authors use social capital to frame their analyses. Analyses reveal that youths' participation in both school- and nonschool extracurricular activities are constrained by family economic status net of time spent in paid work, watching television, and doing housework. Furthermore, the authors find that participation in extracurricular activities varies by age, sex, race, residence, and family structure. Last, race and sex interactions surface for school-related activities. Asian girls have higher participation rates than White girls and Asian boys. Implications of these results are discussed.



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