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Are Young People's Activities an Important Link between Class Origin and Educational Attainment?

Journal article
Authors Erica Nordlander
Published in European Sociological Review
Volume 32
Issue 2
Pages 238-250
ISSN 0266-7215
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Pages 238-250
Language en
Keywords school athletic participation, extracurricular activities, academic-achievement, social-class, sweden, association, perspective, performance, engagement, homework, Sociology
Subject categories Sociology


The present article suggests that if we wish to learn more about the relationship between class origin and educational outcomes, we need to consider the activities of the young people concerned. The article seeks to investigate whether, and to what degree, youth activities are important links between class origin and school grades. Using a unique combination of survey data from young people and their parents together with registry data, activities are investigated in terms of cultural activities, civic engagement, sports, television viewing, and homework. The empirical analysis is based on structural equation modelling and reveals that some youth activities mediate parts of the effect of class origin on school grades. Of the investigated activities, it is foremost cultural activities that are related to both class origin and school grades. When youth activities are investigated, the difference in school grades between young people of an unskilled blue-collar origin and upper-white-collar origin is reduced almost by one half. However, the analysis also reveals that class origin continues to have a significant bearing on school grades even when these activities have been taken into account.

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