Some research has shown that student participation in afterschool activities is linked to higher academic achievement, increased safety and civic participation, and reduced negative behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use (Fredricks and Eccles 2006; Zaff et al. 2003). As part of Monitoring the Future's national survey in 2009, high school seniors were asked about their participation in different afterschool activities, including school newspaper or yearbook, music or other performing arts, athletic teams, academic clubs (e.g. science, math, language), student council or government, and other school clubs or activities. A greater percentage of high school seniors reported participating in athletic teams (38 percent), other school clubs/activities (32 percent), and music/performing arts (24 percent) than in academic clubs (14 percent), student council/government (10 percent), and newspaper/yearbook (9 percent).
Participation in these afterschool activities varied by sex. In 2009, the most popular afterschool activity for female high school seniors was other school clubs/activities, and the most popular activity for male high school seniors was athletic teams. A greater percentage of females than males reported participating in newspaper/yearbook (11 vs. 6 percent), music/performing arts (30 vs. 18 percent), academic clubs (17 vs. 12 percent), student council/government (13 vs. 6 percent), and other school clubs/activities (40 vs. 24 percent). However, a greater percentage of males than females reported participating in athletic teams (46 vs. 31 percent).
Overall, no measurable differences were found in participation levels in these afterschool activities between 1990 and 2009. However, there was a decrease in male participation in student council/government (from 9 to 6 percent). In addition, a smaller percentage of male high school seniors participated in other school clubs/activities in 2009 (24 percent) than did in 1990 (28 percent).