After-School Programs and Children’s Mental Health: Organizational Social Context, Program Quality, and Children’s Social Behavior

Stacy L. Frazier*, Dana Rusch, Stefany Coxe, Tyler J. Stout, Sarah A. Helseth, Melanie A. Dirks, Eduardo E. Bustamante, Marc S. Atkins, Charles Glisson, Philip D. Green, Dulal Bhaumik, Runa Bhaumik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The current study examined associations among organizational social context, after-school program (ASP) quality, and children’s social behavior in a large urban park district. Method: Thirty-two park-based ASPs are included in the final sample, including 141 staff and 593 children. Staff reported on organizational culture (rigidity, proficiency, resistance) and climate (engagement, functionality, stress), and children’s social skills and problem behaviors. Children and their parents reported on program quality indicators (e.g., activities, routines, relationships). Parents also completed a children’s mental health screener. Results: A series of Hierarchical Linear Models revealed that proficiency and stress were the only organizational predictors of program quality; associations between stress and program quality were moderated by program enrollment and aggregated children’s mental health need. Higher child- and parent-perceived program quality related to fewer staff-reported problem behaviors, while overall higher enrollment and higher aggregated mental health need were associated with fewer staff-reported social skills. Conclusions: Data are informing ongoing efforts to improve organizational capacity of urban after-school programs to support children’s positive social and behavior trajectories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-228
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Volume50
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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