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J Drug Educ. 2000;30(2):229-45.

Outcomes associated with service involvement among disengaged youth.

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  • Cleveland State University, Ohio, USA.


This pilot study examined outcomes of a school-based effort to promote bonding to the conventional mainstream by integrating socially disengaged youth with conventional peers in a service activity. A sample of forty-two ninth-graders in four schools achieved significant improvements in attendance, achievement, ratings of social-academic competence and conventionality, and in positive peer associations, which protect against risk for problems such as dropout, delinquency, and substance abuse. Comparisons of improvements in school performance with changes in performance exhibited by a group of similar peers indicate that effects were probably not due to the effects of maturation over the ninth-grade year. Findings lend tentative support to the notion that social bonding is enhanced through opportunities for service, and justify efforts to develop and study methods for incorporating service components in school programs. Recommendations for further experimental study addressing design limitations of this pilot study are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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