Family and Environment Research > Volume 57(2); 2019 > Article
청소년 체험활동 만족도가 사회적 위축에 미치는 영향: 자아존중감과 공동체의식의 매개효과

Introduction

Adolescence is a period of rapid physical and socioemotional changes defined by the term ‘storm and stress’ (Hall, 1904). Korean adolescents scored one of the lowest levels of ‘life satisfaction’ (bottom third in OECD countries) as measured by the ‘Better Life’ index from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (OECD, 2017). High rates of adolescent suicide and emotional problems in South Korea are due to high academic burdens and excessive competition from university entrance examinations (Digital News Team, 2014, Nov 13). Adolescents’ psychological maladaptive behaviors manifest problematic behaviors that include externalizing problems such as misdemeanors or aggression, caused by under-controlled behavior, and internalizing problems such as depression, anxiety and social withdrawal, caused by over-controlled behavior (Mash & Barkely, 2003). The importance of internalizing problems has not been investigated compared to the amount of study on externalizing problems (Seo, 2008). However, there is a need for research on internalizing problems in Korea, because 11% of adolescents suffer from internalizing problems such as social withdrawal and depression (externalizing symptoms, 4%)(Seoul National University Hospital, 2018).
People who have been isolated from society often show a tendency towards social withdrawal that involves avoiding direct contact with other people. Social withdrawal is a typical internalizing problem, along with anxiety and depression; however, there are few studies that focus on social withdrawal compared with those that focus on depression and anxiety (Jwa & Oh, 2011). According to a series of studies on social withdrawal (Rubin & Burgess, 2001; Rubin, Chen, & Hymel, 1993; Shin, 2007), it is reported that social withdrawal is strongly correlated with psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem; in addition, chronic social withdrawal is reportedly correlated with critical social problems, such as social isolation, criminal behavior, and suicide (Coplan et al., 2013; Oh et al., 2008; Rubin, Coplan, & Bowker, 2009; Schwartz, Snidman, & Kagan, 1999), as well as psychological disorders such as avoidant personality disorder, social phobia, autism spectrum disorder, and schizophrenia (Coplan et al., 2013). Changes in the social structure, caused by cell phones, the Internet, and the expansion of nuclear families, have also led to an alone culture in Korea with interruptions of direct communication among people. Accordingly, increased levels of social withdrawal have arisen as well and become a severe social problem; consequently, the importance of investigating social withdrawal in adolescents has come to the fore based on reports that social withdrawal among adolescents is increasing. Korean adolescents lack opportunities to engage in communication with families and peer groups due to excessive social pressure with regard to academic achievements, which may lead them to suffer social withdrawal (Yang, Kim, & Oh, 2006). It is therefore necessary to explore variables that can predict social withdrawal.
According to ecological systems theory of Bronfenbrenner (1989), the qualities of interaction between children and their environment may influence development. The social development of adolescents can be influenced by interaction with a multiple level of environments. Research on youth activities is increasing in regards to promoting experience with social interaction. According to Brown (2007), it is crucial for adolescents to engage in extracurricular activities so as to enter a healthy adulthood by gaining stability in terms of physical, psychological, and social development. Adolescents can experience the process of socialization through various activities in diverse groups and master the virtues that they must learn as members of society. They may also learn prosocial behaviors that are essential to grow into adulthood through various social relationships and communal living experiences beyond family relations (Hwang, Huh, & An, 2013). Moreover, precedent studies indicate that various types of extracurricular activities by adolescents can reduce internalizing problems, including social withdrawal (Bohnert, Kane & Gaber, 2008; Lee, Jung, & Lee, 2014; Lee, Lee, & Han, 2015).
Self-esteem is a mediating factor between extracurricular activities by adolescents and social withdrawal that is also related to a sense of community that is seen as another mediating factor. Studies on adolescent self-esteem and sense of community show that the two factors are significantly correlated (An & Park, 2017; Du, Bernardo, & Yeung, 2015; Kwon, 2014). Self-esteem was reported to influence a sense of community in most studies dealing with the relation between self-esteem and a sense of community (Hong, 2015; Jung, Kim, & Kim, 2016; Kim & Ahn, 2012; Yang & Kim, 2015). A higher self-esteem in adolescents results in a higher sense of community. This relationship implies that the development of self-esteem, i.e., a positive perception of oneself, contributes to a sense of community that has positive perceptions of relationships with others or a group and a commitment based attitude to a community.
We can assume mediating paths among satisfaction with adolescent extracurricular activities, self-esteem, a sense of community, and social withdrawal. Paths among the factors exist in part; however, most research has focused on the quantitative aspects of adolescent extracurricular activities with few studies investigating the role of self-esteem, sense of community between adolescent extracurricular activities and social withdrawal. This study therefore examines the path by which satisfaction with adolescent extracurricular activities affects social withdrawal via self-esteem and a sense of community indirectly.

1. Participants

The data used in this study was the third wave data (2012) of ‘2010 Korean Children and Youth Panel Survey (KCYPS)’ conducted by the National Youth Policy Institute (NYPI). The survey participants in 2010 were 2,351 first year middle school students recruited using a stratified multi-stage cluster sampling from 12 regions (Seoul Metropolitan City and 11 metropolitan cities and provinces) in South Korea. The survey investigated adolescents’ experience with extracurricular activities that included 9 sections (health activities, scientific information activities, interchange activities, adventure and pioneering activities, culture and art activities, volunteer activities, work experience activities, environmental conservation activities, and self-improvement activities). However, the data used in this study is a sub-sample of the original data. Factor analysis was executed on nine sections of extracurricular activities, and only four sections of extracurricular activities, which were considered as social activities, are included in this study. Participants included in the study included 1,139 middle school adolescents who participated in at least one adolescent extracurricular activity such as interchange activities, adventure and pioneering activities, culture and art activities, and volunteer activities. Also, 1,212 adolescents who have never participated in the four sections of extracurricular activities were excluded from the analysis of this study. The portion of male (48.5%) and female (51.5%) participants were similar. As for parents’ educational backgrounds, more than half of fathers (53.4%) had college or higher educational background, and approximately half of mothers (49.7%) had high school education or less. The annual average family income was about 48 million KRW.

2. Measures

1) Satisfaction with adolescent extracurricular activities

Adolescents responded to questions developed by the Korean Youth Panel Survey (KYPS) and revised by the National Youth Policy Institute (NYPI) on their satisfaction with extracurricular activities. Respondents rated satisfaction with adolescent extracurricular activities that included interchange activities, adventure and pioneering activities, culture and art activities, and volunteer activities (Table 1), using four-point rating scales with points ranging from 1 (never satisfied) to 4 (very satisfied). Higher scores reflect higher levels of extracurricular activity satisfaction. The mean satisfaction score from the four types of activity was used in the analysis; in addition, the internal reliability of this scale was good (Cronbach’s alpha = .85).

2) Self-esteem

Self-esteem was defined as a positive or negative attitude about the self according to the definition by Rosenberg (1979). Adolescents reported on self-esteem using Rosenberg’s (1965) Self-Esteem Scale, which was translated by the Behavioral Science Research Center of Korea University. They were asked to respond to five positive items and five negative items on a four-point scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree (e.g., “On the whole, I am satisfied with myself.”, “I feel that I have a number of good qualities”, and “All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure.”). Negative items were reversescored with a higher score indicating higher self-esteem. Nine items were used in the analysis after the statement “I wish I could have more respect for myself.” was removed due to ambiguity that lowered the overall reliability of the internal reliability of the scale. The internal reliability (Cronbach’s alpha) of this scale was .87.

3) Sense of community

This study defined a sense of community as devoted attitudes and behavior to one’s community that surpasses egoism. A sense of community was measured using the Democratic Civic Consciousness Questionnaire developed by Kwon (2004), which was revised by the National Youth Policy Institute (NYPI). This questionnaire included four items (e.g., “I can help my friend in need actively.” and “I can volunteer at welfare institutions on national holidays instead of taking a rest.”). These items used a four-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree), and higher scores were indicative of a higher sense of community. The internal reliability (Cronbach’s alpha) of the scale was .80.

4) Social withdrawal

Social withdrawal is defined as a tendency to shrink from social situations. Adolescents reported on social withdrawal using a five-item measure. The measurement is a revised version of ‘Development of behavior problem scale for children and adolescence’ (Kim & Kim, 1998) by the National Youth Policy Institute (NYPI) (e.g., “I am shy.”, “It’s difficult to express my opinion clearly.”, and “I don’t like to stand out.”). A four-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree) was used. Higher scores reflect a perception of higher social withdrawal. The internal reliability (Cronbach’s alpha) of the scale was .89.

5) Control variable

As control variables, household income, maternal educational level, and paternal educational level were included, because precedent studies (Cho, Lee, & Ko, 2014; Seo, 2007) reported that the parents’socioeconomic status had influence on the leisure activities of adolescents.

3. Procedure

Data analyses were conducted by using SPSS 21.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) and AMOS 21.0 (SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL, USA) programs. First, descriptive statistics and correlations were used to analyze the data with SPSS 21.0. Second, a path analysis model examined how a sense of self-esteem and a sense of community mediated the relationship between satisfaction with adolescent extracurricular activities and social withdrawal. The model was tested using Amos version 21.0 (Arbuckle, 2012). Lastly, a bootstrapping method was used to confirm mediation effects.

1. Correlations among all variables

Table 2 presents the correlations between the variables. All variables except for social withdrawal were significantly correlated with each other. First, satisfaction with adolescent extracurricular activities was positively correlated with a sense of self-esteem (r =.12, p ＜.01), a sense of community (r =.21, p ＜.01), but not correlated with social withdrawal. Also, a sense of self-esteem was positively related to a sense of community (r =.24, p ＜.01), and negatively correlated with social withdrawal (r =-.41, p ＜.01). Lastly, a sense of community was negatively associated with social withdrawal (r =-.18, p ＜.01).

2. Mediation Processes

The goodness of model fit was tested to examine how we ll the model fits the data. Fit indices such as χ2, GFI, NFI, TLI, CFI, and RMSEA examined the goodness of model fit. According to cutoff criteria for fit indices (Hong, 2000), the model fit was considered acceptable with NFI>.90, TLI>.90, CFI>.90 and RMSEA<.05. The goodness-of-fit showed an adequate fit χ2 (1, N =1,139)=2.528, NFI=.994, TLI=.977, CFI=.996, RMSEA (90% CI)=.034(.000, .088) except for the figure of χ2. It is a good model fit when χ2 is not significant statistically, and the figure of χ2/df is between 2 and 5 (Marsh & Hocevar, 1988), the figure of χ2 is easily influenced by sample size; therefore, it is necessary to consider other goodness-of-fit indices collectively (Kim, 2010). Table 3 displays the goodness-of-fit indices.

Discussion

This study investigated the indirect effect of satisfaction with adolescent extracurricular activities on social withdrawal through self-esteem and a sense of community in adolescent respondents. The current project used data from the third wave of in the 2010 Korean Children and Youth Panel Survey (KCYPS) that consisted of 1,139 adolescent participants who were in their first year of middle school in 2010.
The more adolescents perceived satisfaction with extracurricular activities, the greater their perceived self-esteem, which is linked to lower social withdrawal. Adolescents are likely to achieve greater self-esteem based on positive feelings of self-worth and competence if they feel a strong satisfaction towards extracurricular activities. Adolescents who have higher self-esteem also may reduce the tendency that they become sensitive to the negative reactions of others excessively (Gunnar & Quevedo, 2007), possibly lowering the potential to suffer social withdrawal. The findings provide a potential mechanism for developing a social withdrawal intervention mechanism.
Third, among the paths in our research model, satisfaction with adolescent extracurricular activities was associated with self-esteem that first affected a sense of community and then social withdrawal. In this process, adolescents’ self-esteem, one mediator variable, affected a sense of community, another mediator variable. This result is in line with studies that showed adolescents who perceived self-esteem positively had higher perceptions of a sense of community (Kwon, 2014; Moon & Moon, 2009; Park, 2009). This is also provided evidence that when adolescents considered themselves competent and valuable, they were able to create a close bond with members of a community that increased their sense of community because they feel a sense of belonging and a willingness to devote themselves to a community.
Self-esteem had a greater influence on social withdrawal than a sense of community in the relationship among satisfaction with adolescent extracurricular activities, self-esteem, a sense of community, and social withdrawal. This result indicates that it is essential for adolescents to improve self-esteem when intervening in social withdrawal and that the inner self is a more powerful factor in reducing social withdrawal. This result can contribute to areas of counseling and educational settings.
There are several limitations of this study as well as valid proposals for future work. First, the main variables selected for this study used a simplified questionnaire conducted by KCYPS; therefore, further studies can scrutinize the relationships among variables by in-depth measurements. Second, this study has limitations regarding the crosssectional design used to examine only students in the first year of middle school. Accordingly, further work in the form of longitudinal studies can examine relationships between earlier extracurricular activities and subsequent effect by such activities on social withdrawal. Lastly, this study has the potential problem of shared variance due to the use of a self-report survey by adolescents. Thus, future studies could use multiple assessments with more objective measurements.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest with respect to the authorship or publication of this paper.

Figure 1.
Relation between the satisfaction of adolescent extracurricular activity, self-esteem, sense of community, and social withdrawal.
Note: Household income, maternal educational background, and paternal educational background are included as control variables. S.A.E.A = Satisfaction with adolescent extracurricular activities.
***p<.001., **p<.01.
Table 1.
Section Examples
1. Interchange activities Adolescent international interchange activity, South and North Korean adolescent interchange activity, understanding multi-culture activity.
2. Adventure and pioneering activities Exploring/climbing activity, outdoor activity, marine activity, boot camp.
3. Culture and art activities Local culture, world culture, public culture, historical play activity, traditional culture activity.
4. Volunteer activities Volunteer assistance, teaching, campaign, relief activity.

Note. Table adapted from the ministry of gender equality and family of Republic of Korea (2012).

Table 2.
Correlations among Variables (N=1,139)
Variables 1 2 3 4
1 Satisfaction of adolescent extracurricular activity -
2 Self-esteem .12** -
3 Sense of community .21** .24** -
4 Social withdrawal -.04 -.41** -.18** -
M 3.23 2.86 2.89 2.23
SD .56 .46 .56 .73

** p <.01

Table 3.
Model Fit (N=1,139)
χ2 (df) χ2/df GFI NFI TLI CFI RMSEA (LO90~HI90)
33.790*** (12) 2.816 .992 .976 .972 .984 .040 (.024~.056)

*** p <.001.

Table 4.
Path Model Results
b β S.E C.R
S.A.E.A → self-esteem .095*** 0.116 0.024 3.938
S.A.E.A → sense of community .184*** 0.186 0.184 6.533
Self-esteem → sense of community .264*** 0.220 0.034 7.727
Self-esteem → social withdrawal -.623*** -0.390 0.044 -14.031
Sense of community → social withdrawal -.117** -0.088 0.037 -3.126

Note: Household income, maternal educational background, and paternal educational background are included as control variables. S.A.E.A = Satisfaction with adolescent extracurricular activities.

*** p <.001.

** p <.01.

Table 5.
Direct, Indirect, and Total Effects of Relationship between the Variables
Direct effect Indirect effect Total effect SMC
S.A.E.A → social withdrawal .000 -.063*** -.063*** .173
Self-esteem → social withdrawal -.388*** -.018** -.407***
Sense of community → social withdrawal -.083** - -.083**
S.A.E.A → sense of community .186*** .025*** .211*** .092
Self-esteem → sense of community .220*** - .220***
S.A.E.A → self-esteem .116*** - .116*** .013

Note: S.A.E.A = Satisfaction with adolescent extracurricular activities. SMC: Squared multiple correlation.

*** p <.001.

** p <.01.

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