Patterns of Adverse Childhood Experiences and the Protective Effect of Out-of-School Time: A Latent Class Analysis

Xiafei Wang, Ryan D. Heath, Corinne Blake

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) essentially compromise positive adolescent development while some individuals still demonstrate resilience (Ioannidis et al., 2020). Organized activities during out-of-school time (OST) support adolescent development, but little research examines whether OST can compensate for risks posed by different combinations of ACEs. This study examines the association between patterns of ACEs, adolescent behavioral health, and OST. Data was from the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study that recruited parent-child dyads from childbirth to ages 3, 5, 9, and 15 years. We conducted latent class analysis (LCA) using 10 childhood adversities from age three, including child maltreatment, household dysfunction, poverty, and neighborhood disorder. Adolescent behavioral health was measured at ages 9 and 15 using the Child Behavior Checklist and a social skills scale. Participation in five OST activities was assessed at age 9 (sports, performance, clubs, academic activities, and religious activities). Our sample (N=3438) was 52.5% male, 47.5% Black, 28.2% Latinx, 16.6% White, and 7.7% of other or mixed racial-ethnic identities. LCA suggested a six-class solution (entropy = .693), featuring varied patterns of ACES: • low overall ACEs (38.8%) • parent divorce (32.1%) • poverty (11.4%) • parent conflict (4.0%) • high abuse (7.4%) • high overall ACEs (6.3%). The high ACES class generally had the least positive outcomes. Other classes varied; for example, the parent conflict class had the highest social skills but higher internalizing symptoms than the high ACES group. When examining OST, significant associations were identified for several higher risk classes. For example, sports were associated with lower internalizing symptoms for the poverty class (B=-.09). Performance activities were associated with lower internalizing symptoms (B=-.077) for the abuse class. The study topic highlights the significance of considering unique traumatic histories and resilience factors for understanding adolescent development. Sports and performance activities can be promoted to foster positive development for trauma-affected adolescents. Future research should explore the underlying mechanisms of OST fostering positive adolescent development, e.g., identifying the key mediators. Factors that moderate the positive functions of OST, such as types, lengths, and durations of OST and the demographics of OST participants, are also worth being investigated.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Mar 2022
EventSociety for Research on Adolescence 2022 Biennial Meeting: Redifining Possibilities & Amplifying Marginalized Voices - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Mar 3 2022Mar 5 2022


ConferenceSociety for Research on Adolescence 2022 Biennial Meeting
Abbreviated titleSRA 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans
Internet address


  • Adolescence
  • adverse childhood experiences
  • Out-of-school time
  • extracurricular activities
  • mental health


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