There are many benefits for teens and youths who participate in team activities. Organized activities and team organizations teach youths how to interact with one another in a cooperative way and foster harmony, unity, and other valuable skills. In addition, teens who are involved in team activities guided by a competent adult tend to have higher rates of school achievement and interpersonal relationships than those who do not participate in team activities. But some researchers have found that team participation actually increases alcohol misuse and antisocial tendencies. Because of the immense value that can be gained by actively participating in team activities, identifying the factors that increase the risk for negative behaviors is essential.
Anne-Sophie Denault of the Department of Psychoeducation at the Universite de Sherbrooke in Canada recently led a study that looked at how peer associations influenced negative behaviors among teens involved in team activities. Denault interviewed 185 eighth and ninth grade teenagers and asked them about their peer relations, the gender of their teammates, and the type of mentorship and supervision that was provided in their particular activity. After evaluating all of the data, Denault discovered that peer behavior directly influenced the level of substance misuse and antisocial tendencies of the teens. In particular, the participants with the most deviant peer relations had the highest levels of negative behavior.
Denault did find that deviancy was linked uniquely to each behavior. Specifically, deviancy among teens of the same age was linked to antisocial behavior but not among participants who were part of a team with older teens. Also, the peer deviancy only increased substance misuse in certain activities, such as sports. This suggests that team sports, which usually involve teens of relatively the same age, could be fertile ground for negative patterns resulting from deviant behaviors among peers. Denault said, “Overall, these findings draw attention to the possibility of negative peer group dynamics in organized activities.” These results underscore the importance of attentive supervision and constructive mentoring to ensure that the benefits of team activities can be maximized and the negative influences minimized.
Denault, A.-S., Poulin, F. (2012). Peer group deviancy in organized activities and youths’ problem behaviours. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 44.2, 83-92.
© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.