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Parental and community level correlates of participation in out-of-school activities among children living in low income neighborhoods☆

By Claudia Coulton and Molly Irwin


Participation in organized activities outside of school can prevent poor outcomes in at-risk children and youth. In low income neighborhoods, though, there may be barriers to involving children and youth in these activities. This study examined the degree to which parental community involvement and neighborhood safety and disadvantage affected participation in out-of-school activities. Using data from probability samples drawn in 128 low income census tracts in 10 cities that were part of Annie E. Casey Foundation's Making Connections Initiative, hierarchical generalized linear models (HGLM) were estimated. Results show that children whose parents were involved in community volunteering and action were more likely to participate in out-of-school activities. Neighborhood safety ratings also had a positive effect on participation. Cross-level interactions showed that unsafe conditions were less of a barrier if parents volunteered in the community and that participation among African Americans and Hispanics was less inhibited by unsafe conditions thanwas participation for Whites and other ethnic groups. The implications are that out-of-school programs will have better attendance if they are part of a context in which adults involve themselves in the community and that programs should include provisions for keeping children safe in neighborhoods where safety is perceived as problematic

Topics: interventions, Research
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2008.08.003
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