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An Initial Investigation of Sexual Minority Youth Involvement in School-Based Extracurricular Activities


  • The authors thank Noel Card and Lynne Borden for comments provided on an earlier draft of this article. Support for the first author's time spent on the revisions of this article was provided by National Institute of Mental Health Training Grant (T32 MH018387). This research uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment to Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website ( No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.

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Sexual minority youth are at risk for negative school-based experiences and poor academic outcomes. Yet, little is known about their experiences in positive school-based contexts. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (1,214 sexual minority and 11,427 heterosexual participants), this study compared participation rates in, predictors of, and outcomes associated with three types of school-based extracurricular activities—sports, arts, and school clubs—by sexual orientation and gender. Findings revealed several significant sexual orientation and gender differences in participation rates in school-based sports, clubs, and arts activities. Furthermore, findings suggested that the outcomes associated with extracurricular activity involvement do not differ by sexual orientation and gender; however, predictors of participation in these domains varied across groups.

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