Effects of participation in extracurricular activities on psychological development for university students

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Higgins, Lesley
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University of Guelph

The purpose of this study was to determine how participation in extracurricular activities affects psychological development in a sample of university students. Longitudinal data from the Student Lifestyle and Development Survey were analyzed. The sample consisted of 351 university students from the University of Guelph. The participants completed questionnaires measuring variables such as hours spent in extracurricular activities, identity development, academic self-concept, and self acceptance in their first, second, and third years of university. Regression analysis was used to determine the effects that participation in sports, clubs, and volunteer work has on psychological development. Gender differences were also analyzed. Participation in sports was related to higher moratorium scores for males, but lower self-acceptance for females. Participation in clubs seemed to facilitate identity development for both males and females and was related to increased academic self-concept for females. Volunteerism during the first year of university predicted less advanced identity development for both genders and lower self-acceptance for males. However, volunteerism during second and third years was related to more advanced identity development as well as higher academic self-concept for females.

participation, extracurricular activities, psychological development, university students, identity development, academic self-concept, volunteerism