Variations in Activity Involvement: How Breadth, Commitment, and Depth Predict Adjustment
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Human Development and Family Studies
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The present study examined the independent and shared contributions of three dimensions of organized activity involvement (breadth, commitment, and depth) in relation to four adjustment outcomes (academic competence, social competence, internalizing problems, and externalizing problems). Interactions between activity involvement and concurrent adjustment indices were also tested as predictors of subsequent outcomes. Participants were drawn from The Child Development Project (N = 585). The present sample included 431 adolescents who provided data when they were in seventh grade. Ninety-two percent and 87% of the sample responded to follow-up questionnaires in eighth and ninth grades, respectively. Adolescents self-reported activity involvement (seventh grade) and internalizing problems (seventh and ninth grade); parents reported on externalizing problems (seventh and eighth grade); teachers reported on social competence (seventh and eighth grade); school records were obtained to measure academic competence (seventh and eighth grade). Multivariate regression results testing the independent contributions of dimensions of activity involvement revealed that commitment was negatively associated with internalizing problems cross-sectionally, and depth predicted greater academic competence longitudinally. A latent factor of activity involvement indicated by breadth, depth, and commitment fit the data well. Structural equation models showed that the activity involvement latent variable was associated with social competence (β = 0.17) and internalizing problems (β = -0.15) in cross-sectional analyses. Longitudinally, activity involvement predicted lower internalizing problems (β = -0.11). An interaction between activity involvement and concurrent externalizing problems revealed that higher levels of activity involvement in seventh grade predicted lower levels of externalizing problems in eighth grade at lower levels of externalizing problems in seventh grade. On the other hand, higher activity involvement in seventh grade predicted higher levels of externalizing problems in eighth grade at higher levels of externalizing problems in seventh grade. Activity involvement may be a useful intervention target in efforts to reduce internalizing problems. It is less clear on how activity involvement may protect or amplify risk for externalizing problems.