Associations Between School-Based Extracurricular Activities and Access to Informal Mentoring for Low-Income Youth

Vincent Donofrio, Fordham University


Supportive relationships with caring, non-parental adults like teachers or extended family members (i.e., informal mentors) are critical in the development of adolescents and young adults, helping them to navigate their transition to adulthood while simultaneously providing them with educational and career opportunities. However, this critical source of social capital appears to be unequally distributed in the United States, with adolescents and young adults from lower-income families less likely to endorse access to at least one informal mentor than their higher-income peers. The proposed study therefore involved a series of logistic regression analyses designed to explore whether and how participation in school-sponsored extracurricular activities in high school may increase all youths’, specifically focusing on low-income students’, likelihood of connecting with informal mentors. Data were drawn from a longitudinal, nationally representative study of over 20,000 youth who were followed prospectively from early adolescence into adulthood. Results demonstrated that all youth, regardless of income, were more likely to have a mentor if they participated in an extracurricular activity, with youth above the poverty line seeing their odds increased significantly more than low-income youth. These findings point to the importance of promoting accessible extracurricular participation for all youth in order to connect them with influential adults that will help guide them through the transition to adulthood.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology|Educational psychology|Recreation|Educational sociology

Recommended Citation

Donofrio, Vincent, "Associations Between School-Based Extracurricular Activities and Access to Informal Mentoring for Low-Income Youth" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29258404.