Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 39, Issue 11, pp 1368–1386 | Cite as

Participating in Sport and Music Activities in Adolescence: The Role of Activity Participation and Motivational Beliefs During Elementary School

  • Sandra D. Simpkins
  • Andrea E. Vest
  • Jennifer N. Becnel
Empirical Research


This investigation examined the precursors of adolescents’ participation in sport and music activities in the United States by testing a developmental model across 7 years. Data were drawn from youth questionnaires in the Childhood and Beyond Study (92% European American; N = 594). Findings suggest that patterns of participation across a 3-year period in elementary school predict adolescents’ participation through their motivational beliefs. Specifically, children who participated in an activity, children who participated consistently across multiple years, and children who were highly active had higher adolescent motivational beliefs 4 years later than their peers. These motivational beliefs, in turn, positively predicted adolescents’ participation 1 year later. Cross-domain analyses suggest that children typically maintain their orientation toward sports and music (e.g., high music-low sport orientation, not oriented toward either domain) as they age. These findings highlight the consistency in children’s leisure pursuits and interests from childhood through adolescence.


Out-of-school activities Activity participation Self-concept Interest Motivation 



This research was supported by Grant HD17553 from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development to Jacquelynne Eccles, Allan Wigfield, Phyllis Blumenfeld, and Rena Harold, Grant 0089972 from the National Science Foundation to Jacquelynne Eccles and Pamela Davis-Kean, and grants from the MacArthur Network on Successful Pathways through Middle Childhood to Eccles. We would like to thank the principals, teachers, students, and parents of the cooperating school districts for their participation in this project. We would also like to thank the following people for their work on the project: Amy Arbreton, Phyllis Blumenfeld, Carol Freedman-Doan, Rena Harold, Janis Jacobs, Toby Jayaratne, Mina Vida, Allan Wigfield, and Kwang Suk Yoon.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra D. Simpkins
    • 1
  • Andrea E. Vest
    • 1
  • Jennifer N. Becnel
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social and Family DynamicsArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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