"Latino and White adolescents’ reasons behind organized activity participation: The connections with cultural orientations, psychological engagement, and activity experiences"
She researches how families, friendships, and social position factors (such as ethnicity and culture) shape adolescents’ organized after-school activities and motivation. Simpkins is currently working on research focused on the positive outcomes of youth’s participation in activities as well as the predictors and correlates of high school students’ STEM motivational beliefs. She is co-PI on grants from the John Templeton Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation that study how organized after-school activities support positive development from childhood through young adulthood. Simpkins directs the Center for After School and Summer Excellence (CASE) and Project REACH and co-directs the After School Activities Project.
Puente’s research focuses on academic motivation and achievement, acculturation and biculturalism, underrepresented students, mindset, parent-child relationships, and socio-emotional development. She is currently part of the Family Support of Math and Science and Templeton Character Development projects, studying family and developmental processes and its relation to academic motivation. Puente is specializing in Human Development in Context. Simpkins and Distinguished Professor Jacquelynne Eccles are co-advisors.
This cross-sectional study examined why Latinx adolescents participated in organized activities in comparison to White adolescents. This study, utilizing phone interviews for surveying, included 236 participants (53% female) of Latinx (64%) and White (36%) descent from four Southwest middle schools to answer these overarching questions: (1) What are the dimensions of adolescents’ reasons for participating in activities and how do these reasons differ across White and Latinx adolescents? (2) How are cultural orientations (i.e., enculturation and acculturation) associated with dimensions of reasons behind activity participation, and how are dimensions of reasons linked to engagement and activity experiences among Latinx adolescents? Results showed that Latinx adolescents endorsed more family/achievement-oriented reasons than White adolescents. Among Latinx adolescents, high acculturation was associated with high endorsement of individual-oriented reasons. High enculturation was associated with both high endorsement of family/achievement-oriented and individual-oriented reasons. In addition, individual-oriented reasons, family-oriented reasons, and social-oriented reasons all predicted positive engagement and peer support in the activity. Yet, only individual-oriented reasons predicted positive leader support.