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J Adolesc. 2000 Apr;23(2):113-27.

Leisure activities and adolescent antisocial behavior: the role of structure and social context.


The goal of this study was to understand better how the structure and social context of adolescent leisure activities relates to antisocial behavior. A representative sample of 703 14-year-olds and their parents were assessed concerning adolescent involvement in community-based leisure activities, peer and adult social relations, and antisocial behavior. Results showed that participation in highly structured leisure activities was linked to low levels of antisocial behavior, while participation in activities with low structure (i.e. a youth recreation center) was associated with high levels of antisocial behavior. Overall the results were similar for boys and girls; however, the combination of involvement in a low structured activity and the absence of any highly structured participation appeared especially problematic for boys' antisocial behavior. Participants of low structured activities were also characterized by deviant peer relations, poor parent-child relations, and they received low support from their activity leader compared to adolescents engaged in more structured community activities. Findings are discussed in terms of their implication for prevention research.

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