Examining the Impact of Extra-Curricular Activities on the Personal Development of 149 High School Seniors

By DeMoulin, Donald F. | Journal of Instructional Psychology, December 2002 | Go to article overview

Examining the Impact of Extra-Curricular Activities on the Personal Development of 149 High School Seniors


DeMoulin, Donald F., Journal of Instructional Psychology


The article sought to assess the Personal Development impact of four different kinds of extra-curricular activities on a group of 149 high school seniors. A t-statistic was computed for Personal Development Test scores between individuals in four different kinds of such activities and those not so involved. It included (1) Sports, (2) Music, (3) Leadership, and (4) Others. Leadership and Music type activities tended to produce the greatest change in Personal Development

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Personal Development

The Personal Development Test (PDT) is based solidly on the Global Assessment Functioning Scale developed by the America Psychiatric Committee and used in the two year long validation study in relation to health and effectiveness of adolescent youth. It is described in detail in the DSM-III-R (1987), and later retained in the DSM-IV (1994). Changing the "Global Functioning" concept to "Personal Development" is based largely on the work of Rogers (1945) and Maslow (1954) in Third Force Psychology (Cassel, 2002), and the work of Bandura (1997) because it relates more specifically to the growth and leadership development of youth. For an example of it's effectiveness, the PDT discerns well between typical individuals and both Delinquents and Prison Inmates.

Group Involved in Study

There were 149 High School Seniors tested near the end of the senior year of high school in Tennessee. They ranged in age from 14 to 25 years with a mean age of 18.75 and a standard deviation of 0.92 years. It included 87 females ranging in age from 14 to 25 years, with a mean age of 18.71 years, and a standard deviation of 1.09 years; and 62 males ranging in age from 18 to 20 years, with a mean age of 18.81 years, and a standard deviation of 0.62 years. A t-statistic was computed between the 87 females and 62 males with only two of the 8 part scores on the PDT showing a statistically significant difference: (1) LOC (Locus of Control & Decision Making)r = 0.002 favoring Females(Females=72.37, and Males=66.39); (2) SYM (Sympathy)r = 0.001 favoring females (Females=65.75, and Males=57.55). The Means and SDs for the PDT scores of this Senior Group simulated closely the Norm Group described for the PDT construction.

The correlations of PDT scores resemble closely those in the standardization manual for the PDT, with only the "Conformity" score being lower (0.469). The Confluence Score, which depicts the creditability of Test Taker as well as test results, is statistically significant with all PDT scores except for "Assertiveness" (ASS) which was (0.074).

Impact of Extra-Curricular Activities

The data contained in Table 2 below depicts the scores on The Personal Development Test for high school seniors who have been involved in organized Extra-Curricular Activities with other seniors not so involved. There was no statistically significant difference for the PERMAT portion of the PDT test. But there was a statistically significant difference for the SOCINT portion based on the Sign Test at the 01 level of confidence. There was no significant difference in CON score and the GPA (Horst, 1966; and Downie & Heath, 1959).

Impact of Leadership Experience

The data contained in Table 3 below displays the impact of High School Seniors' Experiences involving real Leadership Roles as an integral part of high school learning. Typically, such experiences include elected officers in organized groups as well as classes and other organizations, and typically considered as "extra-curricular" activities, as being somewhat similar to sports, band, debating clubs, etc. Since all three of the Total Scores, and every one of the Part Scores except for "Assertiveness" (ASS) favored the "Leadership" group, based on the Sign Test there is a statistically Significant relationship at the 0.01 level of confidence in favor of the Leadership Group. …

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