Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Because the majority of teenage deaths are not due to illness, but instead attributed to risk behaviors, it is pertinent to determine under what circumstances adolescents are likely to injure themselves or others. One well-studied protective factor of adolescent externalizing behaviors is participation in organized activities. Unfortunately, the majority of research involving adolescents’ engagement in organized activities examines single dimensions of participation (intensity, duration, and breadth) at a time, within samples of middle-class, Caucasian youth. Few studies have examined how multiple dimensions of participation in organized activities, including how uninterrupted engagement in organized activities from school year to summer months, simultaneously protects against engagement in substance use and externalizing behavior for low-income, ethnically diverse adolescents.

This study utilizes self-report from a sample of 278 ethnic-minority adolescents and parents across late adolescence (m=16.88, sd=.44). The overall goals of this project are 1) to examine how different patterns of participation in organized activities uniquely and simultaneously predict substance use and externalizing behaviors, above and beyond impacts of impulsivity and parental monitoring, and 2) to test the measurement and structural invariance of these relations between a low-risk and high-risk subsample of youth who engage in externalizing behaviors. Results indicate few individual impacts of organized activity participation, with the exception of breadth of participation among a low-risk subsample. Additionally, parental monitoring and impulsivity remained significant predictors of externalizing and substance use

behaviors only within the high-risk subsample, while in the low-risk subsample only impulsivity remained a significant predictor. The findings of this study contribute to the knowledge

regarding when and under what circumstances adolescents engage in risk behaviors, as well as what factors are important to prevent them from occurring.

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Creative Commons License
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