MA IDS Thesis Projects

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences


International Development and Service

Degree Name

International Development and Service, MA

First Supervisor

Angela O. Owusu-Ansah, Ph.D.


At-risk adolescents, comprised mainly of low-income African American and Hispanic/Latino students, tend to disengage and dropout of school because they lack a bond to school and society. Formal extracurricular activity in schools is one way to develop student involvement and attachment to school. The researcher sought to explore how participation of at-risk adolescent students in formal extracurricular sport activity impacted their academic perceptions, attitudes toward school, motivation, and satisfaction with life. The researcher also examined whether location, international versus local, made a difference in the impact of formal extracurricular activities on at-risk adolescent students. Seventy-four at-risk adolescent and primarily students of Hispanic descent (thirty-nine Hispanic participants, from and living in Cumbaya, Ecuador and thirty-five made up of Hispanics, African Americans, and Caucasians living in Gresham, Oregon) served as participants. These adolescents were chosen because low-income Hispanics form the fastest growing immigrant ethnic minority in schools and represent an extremely at-risk population. The analyses revealed that at-risk adolescents participating in formal extracurricular activity irrespective of location rated academic perceptions, attitudes toward school, motivation, and satisfaction with life positively. Combining extracurricular activities with other sports and duration of participation had a positive impact on motivation and attitude towards teachers and families, respectively. Overall life satisfaction in participants who spent a minimum of two years in sports was greater than that of those who did not participate. Participants in Cumbaya had more positive attitudes toward academic self-perception, teachers and school, and were also more motivated and satisfied with school than participants in Gresham.