Fostering positive growth experiences in high school after -school programs

Anne-Marie E Hoxie, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to investigate high school students' positive growth experiences as they occur in after-school activities and to explore how such experiences are fostered by families, school, and after-school programs. Past research has been undertaken to determine the relationship between families and schools with positive growth experiences. This study took a multi-contextual perspective of adolescents' environments and investigated the relationship between those contexts and the experience of interest, intrinsic motivation, and initiative as they occur for teenagers in after-school programs. The relationship between the family and school contexts with frequency and duration of after-school program involvement was also explored. Participants were recruited form three urban high school after-school programs. The level of support and challenge in their families, schools, and after-school programs were assessed through self-report. A cluster analysis technique was utilized to group participants based on their ratings of each of the contexts. A majority of the participants rated all three contexts high in support and challenge. However, a significant number of youth rated their after-school program positively, and their family and school negatively. A third group rated all three contexts low in support and challenge. Results showed that there was no difference in the frequency of the participants' attendance in their after-school program based on the levels of support and challenge in their families and schools. However, youth who rated their family and school high in support and challenge reported having attended their after-school program for a longer duration of time than the two groups who rated the contexts low in support and challenge. Overall, the results demonstrated that the group who rated all three contexts negatively reported the lowest levels of all three positive growth experiences. The cluster of participants who rated their family and school low in support and challenge but their after-school program high reported higher levels of intrinsic motivation and initiative than the group who rated all three contexts low. This finding indicates that high school after-school programs may serve as an arena of comfort for youth and may help to facilitate positive growth when other contexts are not fulfilling their developmental needs.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Hoxie, Anne-Marie E, "Fostering positive growth experiences in high school after -school programs" (2007). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3301439.