What adolescents do with their time after school can influence their development. Some research has shown that adolescent participation in after-school activities is linked to higher academic achievement, increased safety, and reduced negative behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use (Tierney, Baldwin Grossman, and Resch 1995; Zaff et al. 2003).
Interscholastic sports, in which students compete against teams from other schools, were the most popular activity for both male (50 percent) and female (45 percent) high school sophomores in 2002, followed by intramural sports (where students compete against teams in the same school) (46 percent for males and 39 percent for females). Male sophomores were more likely than their female counterparts to participate in both types of sports. Females were more likely than males to participate in all other after-school activities, including school music groups (band, orchestra, chorus or choir), school plays, student government, school publications (yearbook, newspaper, or literary magazine), honor society, and other types of clubs.
White and Black males were more likely to participate in interscholastic sports (52 and 51 percent, respectively) than were their Hispanic (44 percent) and Asian/Pacific Islander (39 percent) counterparts. White males were also more likely than American Indian/Alaska Native males (43 percent) to participate in these activities. White females were more likely to participate in interscholastic sports (51 percent) than were females of any other race/ethnicity, while Black females (40 percent) were more likely than Hispanic (32 percent) or Asian/Pacific Islander females (34 percent) to take part in these sports.
Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native sophomores were less likely to be a part of a school music group (band, orchestra, chorus or choir) than were White, Black, and Asian/Pacific Islander sophomores. Asian/Pacific Islander males and females participated in academic, service, and hobby clubs more often than their peers in any other racial/ethnic group. American Indian/Alaska Native females were more likely to participate in vocational clubs than were their Hispanic or Asian/Pacific Islander peers.