BELONGING to a youth club helps children’s self-esteem and keeps them out of trouble a new report claims.
Children who join a youth club acquire a stronger sense of identity and so they are less vulnerable to negative influences and bad behaviour, according to the Ohio State University study.
Professor Dawn Anderson-Butcher said: ”The more kids participate in these clubs, the more self-esteem they have.”
The survey looked at 297 children aged 9-16 in a Utah city, including some who belonged to a youth club and other children who lived in the same community but did not.
The report’s authors found that the more the young people participated in their clubs the stronger their self-belief appeared. These children were also less likely to engage in drug use, truancy and hang around in gangs.
The study underlines the importance of providing community programmes for children and young people, particularly in larger towns and cities where other more anti-social diversions are easily available.
Added Professor Anderson-Butcher: “We’re finding that daily attendance isn’t as important as whether the kids feel attached to the organisation and have a good relationship with a staff member. Those two things predict the best outcomes and the least amount of vulnerability.”
“As kids’ self-concept improves, it reduces their vulnerability to negative influences, which in turn decreases their likelihood of using drugs and alcohol, joining gangs, or failing in school.”