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Am J Health Promot. 2015 Sep-Oct;30(1):e32-40. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.131021-QUAN-537. Epub 2014 Nov 5.

Associations Between Extracurricular Activity and Self-Regulation: A Longitudinal Study From 5 to 10 Years of Age.



Health promotion in youth is likely to benefit from enhancing academic achievement and physical activity. The present study examines how kindergarten childhood self-regulation skills and behaviors predict involvement in both structured and unstructured physical and nonphysical extracurricular activities in the fourth grade. As a second objective this study also investigated how kindergarten childhood participation in extracurricular activities predicts classroom engagement, reflective of self-regulation, by the fourth grade.


Secondary analyses were conducted using prospective-longitudinal data.


The Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development, Quebec, Canada.


Participants were randomly selected at birth from a stratified sample of 2694 born in Québec, Canada, between 1997 and 1998. Participants were included if they had complete data on teacher ratings of child self-regulation as measured by classroom engagement and parent ratings of sports participation (n = 935).


Teachers reported self-regulation skills in children through a measure of classroom engagement. Parents provided reports of child participation extracurricular activities.


Ordinary least-squares regressions were conducted.


A higher-frequency kindergarten involvement with structured physical activities was associated with fourth-grade classroom engagement (β = .061, 95% confidence interval [CI]: .017, .104). Better kindergarten classroom engagement predicted more frequent participation in fourth-grade structured physical activities (β = .799, 95% CI: .405, 1.192) and team sports (β = .408, 95% CI: .207, .608).


Results suggest mutual relations between physical activity and self-regulation from kindergarten to grade four. This suggests strong learning skills indicative of self-regulation and opportunities to participate in supervised physical activities or sports teams may help children develop healthy dispositions and behaviors in emerging adolescence.


Classroom Engagement; Extracurricular Activities; Physical Activity; Prevention Research. Manuscript format: research; research purpose: modeling/relationship testing; Self-Regulation; Sports Participation; descriptive; Study design: nonexperimental (longitudinal); Outcome measure: behavioral; Setting: national; Health focus: fitness/physical activity; intellectual health; Strategy: education; policy; Target population age: youth; Target population circumstances: geographic location; skill building/behavior change

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