Extended Impact of Trauma:
Equity of Extracurricular Engagement
Stephanie Miodus, M.A., M.Ed. & Audris Jimenez, M.A.
Support for children who have experienced trauma is needed and extracurricular activities could provide an avenue for this support. Access to organized activities is especially important as it is associated with prosocial behaviors and positive academic and occupational outcomes. However, there is a lack of research on whether children who have experienced trauma are participating in these activities. This study looks at the relationship of specific traumas (e.g., parental incarceration, exposure to violence, parental drug use, death of a parent) to participation in organized activities.
Support for children who have experienced trauma is needed and extracurricular activities could be an avenue for this support, BUT children with trauma experiences are less likely to participate in organized activities. Therefore, there is a gap in services for children with trauma experiences.
Children who have experienced the adversity of having a parent diagnosed with HIV/AIDS have benefited from extracurricular involvement, showing increased self-esteem and decreased depression and loneliness (Zhao et al., 2014).
Access to organized activities is important as it is associated with prosocial behaviors and positive academic and occupational outcomes (Eccles et al., 2003).
Youth participation in organized activities supports development through connections with positive peers, which acts as an mitigator of future violent behavior (Eisman et al., 2018).
There is a lack of research on whether children who have experienced trauma participate in these activities. This study aims to fill this gap in the literature.
2017-2018 National Survey of Children’s Health
36,604 participants (6-17 years old)
Extracurricular engagement is defined as participation in organized activities or lessons, after school or on the weekend, in the past 12 months.
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) were defined by 3 categories: experienced no ACEs, experienced 1 ACE, or experienced 2 or more ACEs.
Chi square analyses utilized for this analysis.
There was a significant relationship between trauma experiences and participation in organized activities (p < .001). Those who experienced trauma were more likely to lack participation in extracurriculars.
Findings suggest a gap in services for children who have experienced trauma.
Potential implications for practice include development of organized activities that focus specifically on accessibility to children who have experienced trauma by considering their specific needs. It is essential that these activities develop strategies to recruit students who have been exposed to trauma.
Policy implications could include an increase in funding for extracurricular activities and mentorship in areas where children are disproportionately affected by trauma. Funding can also be addressed through plans to develop and implement trauma-informed care and needs assessments in schools.
As this was a cross-sectional analysis, it is unknown when the traumas were experienced in relation to a child being involved in extracurriculars, so the current findings do not imply causality.
No information on why children are not engaged in extracurriculars.
Examine how to develop extracurricular programming that effectively enrolls and engages this population of children.
Examine how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted access to extracurriculars for children who have experienced ACEs.
Data obtained from:
Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI) (2020). 2017-2018 National Survey of Children's Health (2 Years Combined), (CSV) Indicator Data Set. Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health supported by Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). Retrieved [01/30/20] from childhealthdata.org
RESOURCES FOR ADVOCATES AND PRACTITIONERS
Advocating for Extracurricular Activities as a Critical Intervention for System-Involved Youth: https://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/BTB25-5A-00PPT.pdf
Youth Law Center - Closing the Extracurriculars Gap: https://ylc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/YLC-Extracurriculars-Report-2019.pdf
Eccles, J. S., Barber, B. L., Stone, M., & Hunt, J. (2003). Extracurricular activities and adolescent development. Journal of Social Issues, 59, 865-889. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.0022-4537.2003.00095.x
Eisman, A. B., Lee, D. B., Hsieh, H. F., Stoddard, S. A., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2018). More than just keeping busy: The protective effects of organized activity participation on violence and substance use among urban youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 47(10), 2231–2242. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-018-0868-8
Zhao, J., Chi, P., Li, X., Tam, C. C., & Zhao, G. (2014). Extracurricular interest as a resilience building block for children affected by parental HIV/AIDS. AIDS Care, 26(6), 758–762. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540121.2013.845290