Organized extracurricular activities of Canadian children and youth

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by Anne Guèvremont, Leanne Findlay and Dafna Kohen

Abstract

This article presents rates of participation in organized extracurricular activity by Canadian children and youth aged 6 to 17 years, and examines how these rates vary by socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics. The data are from Cycle 4 of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (2000/2001). The majority of children and youth (86%) participated in at least one extracurricular activity. Girls were more likely than boys to be involved in non-sport activities and in clubs or community groups. Young children who lived in urban areas and those who lived with two parents had relatively high rates of participation in extracurricular activities. Participation rose with family income for children aged 6 to 13, but not for 14- to 17-year-olds. Children of all ages in the Western provinces had high participation rates in each type of activity; rates tended to be low in Quebec.

Keywords

adolescents, child development, extracurricular activities, sports

Findings

Children's participation in organized extracurricular activities has been associated with positive short- and long-term outcomes, such as academic achievement and prosocial behaviours, and with reduced negative outcomes, such as dropping out of school and emotional and behavioural disorders. [Full text]

The data

The data are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), a comprehensive survey of Canadian children's development and factors that have an impact on their well-being. Cycle 4, which was conducted in the fall of 2000 and in the spring of 2001, was selected for this analysis because it is the most recent NLSCY cycle that provides nationally representative, cross-sectional data for a sample of children aged 6 to 17, including information on a variety of socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the family and children's participation in various activities. [Full text]

Authors

Anne Guèvremont (613-957-4564; anne.guevremont@hrsdc-rhdsc.gc.ca) conducted this research while with the Health Information and Research Division at Statistics Canada; Leanne Findlay (613-951-4648; Leanne.Findlay@statcan.gc.ca) and Dafna Kohen (613-951-3346; Dafna.Kohen@statcan.gc.ca) are with the Health Information and Research Division at Statistics Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0T6.