Less Socially Engaged? Participation in Extracurricular and Friendship Activities among Racial/Ethnic Minority and Immigrant Adolescents
Background/Context Prior research has linked social engagement, such as peer interaction and participation in school activities, to a host of positive outcomes for youth and adolescents. However, little research considers patterns of social engagement among racial/ ethnic minority and immigrant adolescents, despite prior research suggesting distinct racial/ethnic and generational differences in social interactions among young people. Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study This paper examines patterns of social engagement in friendships and extracurricular activities among racial/ethnic minorities and immigrant adolescents. We analyze five measures of social engagement: having any friends, socializing with friends, participating in school sports, participating in school clubs, and participating in activities outside of school. Population/Participants/Subjects This study utilizes the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002), a nationally representative sample of high school sophomores. Research Design: Our research design includes statistical analysis of secondary data. Findings/Results: Overall, results show that racial/ethnic minority adolescents, as well as first- and second-generation adolescents, are less engaged in friendships than their third-generation White counterparts. In contrast, there is no clear pattern of advantage or disadvantage in extracurricular activity participation. Conclusions/Recommendations These findings suggest that a disproportionate number of racial/ethnic minority and immigrant adolescents are less engaged in friendships than their peers, and that schools and adults play an important role in facilitating social interactions that may not occur within informal friendship networks.
Cherng, Hua-Yu Sebastian, Kristin Turney, and Grace Kao. 2014. “Less Socially Engaged? Participation in Extracurricular and Friendship Activities among Racial/Ethnic Minority and Immigrant Adolescents.” Teachers College Record 116:1–28.