Adolescents' Participation in Service Activities and Its Impact on Academic, Behavioral, and Civic Outcomes

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Abstract

The National Household Education Survey, a nationally representative data set (N=4,306 high school students and one parent of each), was analyzed to describe characteristics of adolescents, the nature of their service activities, and academic, behavioral and civic outcomes associated with service (voluntary compared to school-required and by type of service). Participation in any service is associated with positive outcomes whether service is voluntary or required. Adolescents who worked directly with individuals in need had better academic adjustment; those who worked for organizations had better civic outcomes than adolescents who performed other types of service. Findings are discussed in terms of their significance for adolescent development, educational policy, and the use of large national data sets to examine service participation.

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