A Longitudinal Study of Rural Youth Involvement in Outdoor Activities throughout Adolescence: Exploring Social Capital as a Factor in Community-Level Outcomes


This study examined youth participation in both organized and unstructured outdoor activities throughout adolescence, in a rural region in the northeastern United States. Survey data were collected at 7th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade from 186 respondents across the region and was analyzed explore the relationship between antecedent predictors, outdoor activity participation, and outcomes related to developmental and educational achievement. Higher outdoor activity involvement was linked with positive outcomes but was also associated with other known predictors of development success including parents’ educational level, marital status, and involvement in future planning. The concept of social capital helps to explain overall patterns in the data, to broaden understanding of social dimensions of outdoor activity involvement, and to suggest directions for future research on positive youth development through outdoor activity.



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Research in Outdoor Education


Sagamore Publishing

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