The relationship between participation in extracurricular activities and depression among ninth-grade females

Rhonda Parkinson Clark


This study examines the relationship between participation in extracurricular activities and depression among ninth grade females. One hundred ninth grade females were surveyed. The breakdown of that sample included 50 students from an urban school and 50 students from a rural school, divided equally between participants and nonparticipants. The 100 participants completed the Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scale-2 (RADS-2). The RADS-2 consists of four subscales that were used to determine significance. The Dysphoric Mood (DM) subscale evaluates symptoms of dysphoric mood and related symptomatology including sadness, crying behavior, loneliness, and self-pity. The Anhedonia/Negative Affect (NA) subscale evaluates depression symptoms associated with anhedonia and negative effect. High scores represent limited or lack of interest in pleasurable activities. The Negative Self-Evaluation (NSE) subscale evaluates negative feelings about oneself. The Somatic Complaints (SC) subscale evaluates somatic and vegetative complaints, along with several items that assess general feelings of malaise, boredom, life is unfair, and irritability. The hypothesis was tested through the application of the General Linear Model (GLM) Multivariate in the SPSS statistical analysis program. The results of the MANOVA revealed no interaction, but significant main effects were indicated. The first significant main effect was urbanicity. Univariate follow-up showed that the assumption was not accepted for DM, NE, NSE, but was upheld for SC. The second significant main effect was extracurricular participation. Univariate follow-up showed that the assumption was upheld for all four. Based on the findings of this study, the conclusion was drawn that providing ninth grade girls with opportunities to participate in interesting and outward oriented activities, such as extracurricular activities associated with school, can lead to improved mental health and a more stable psychological profile for teenage girls. A second conclusion drawn from the findings of this study is that the potential improvements in mental health and psychological profile for teenage girls stemming from active participation in outward oriented activities are not dependent upon the urbanicity character of a community. Rather, opportunities to develop such benefits are feasible for most communities.