Can Organized Youth Activities Protect Against Internalizing Problems Among Adolescents Living in Violent Homes?


  • This research was supported by grant R01HD057945 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Margo Gardner, National Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, Columbia University, Thorndike Hall, Box 39, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. E-mail:


Using longitudinal data from a subsample of Hispanic, African American, and White youth enrolled in the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (= 1,419), we examined the effects of both parental involvement in domestic violence and youth participation in organized out-of-school-time activities on internalizing symptoms during adolescence. We also examined the extent to which participation in organized activities protected youth against the internalizing consequences of domestic violence. We found that intensive participation in either afterschool programs or extracurricular activities was inversely associated with youth internalizing problems. Moreover, we found that intensive participation in afterschool programs weakened the association between parents' domestic violence and youths' internalizing problems.