Research Paper on Decreasing Depression and Suicide through Extracurricular Activities

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1667 Words
Date:  2022-03-11


Depression is a mental state generally expressed in the form of sadness, disappointments, low motivation, lack of interest, and negative thoughts. Extreme levels of depression may push victims to sort to other options of relief which in some cases might result in suicide. Kennelly and Connolly (2012) describe suicide as a tragic act by an individual that demonstrates the highest peak of mental health problems, defeat, and feeling of defeat, unworthiness, and lack of loveliness. Most victims of suicide have been observed to be adolescents and young adults especially college students (Mata et al., 2012). Therefore, there is a need to address this issue by developing a strategy that would reduce the exposure to risk factors for depression and suicide.

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Problem Statement

Depression and suicide are among the major causes of death in the US and in the rest of the world. The most worrying part is that the young especially students at the adolescence stage are the most vulnerable groups to depression and suicide. More adolescent deaths threaten the continuity of any society. A nation with youths whose lives are at stake has a compromised future. Therefore, there is a need to address the issue of depression and suicide among adolescents. There is a very high likelihood that participating in extracurricular activities will help to reduce cases of depression and suicide.

Literature Review

Several materials within the existing literature link extracurricular activities to low depression and reduced incidences of suicide thereby providing a good foundation for this research. McGeown (2016) conducted a study to investigate the link between the level of participation in extracurricular activities and involvement in other activities outside of school. The researcher asserts that the benefits gained by pupils participating in extracurricular activities can never be underestimated. He explains that pupils participating in extracurricular are likely to develop positive grades, improved social skills, and increased self-esteem thus reducing the chances of getting depressed. However, the researcher notes that these benefits cannot just be achieved by mere participation. Instead, the participants should focus on the nature of interactions between the students, coaches, and parents in order to achieve maximum benefits.

In similar research, Oskouei and Kahkeshan (2013) studied the extent of depression among paramedical students and the factors that contribute to depression. The researchers assert that university students are among individuals in a society that are highly vulnerable to depression. They consider this trend a great issue of concern because students are regarded as the start point of an intelligent society and the potential future of every nation. The study revealed a significant correlation between depression and extracurricular activities. The study attributed depression to financial problems, career dissatisfaction, and a poor living environment.

On the other hand, Mata et al (2012) investigated the underlying link between involvement in extracurricular activities and suicidality among adolescents through school belongingness. The researcher affirms that suicide is ranked third among the leading causes of US adolescent deaths. Mata et al, (2012) pinpoint that several adolescents spend a significant amount of time engaging in extracurricular activities and as a result derive numerous health benefits. One important health benefit highlighted in this study is the decrease in suicide risks. Precisely, the researchers postulate that a strong relationship exists between involvement in sports and low suicidality. Nonetheless, the study reveals that apart from sports, other extracurricular activities, for example, academic clubs may also lead to low suicide prevalence. Despite the numerous observable benefits of extracurricular activities on suicide involvement, the researchers assert that the relationship between the two aspects is yet to be explained. Another research by Moilanen, Markstrom, and Jones (2014) studied the link between substance use and extracurricular activities among Indian adolescents in the US. They describe extra-curricular activities as substance use as a preventive measure that enables adolescents to develop skill-building and strength-enhancing opportunities. They explain that these developments serve a protective thus helping individuals to stay away from social problems such as delinquency.

A study by Driessens, (2015) reveals that participation in extracurricular activities moderates the impacts of school and family on disruptive behavioral problems experienced during adolescence. The researcher upholds that behavioral problems among adolescents have been on an increasing trend, especially among British adolescents. According to this research, active participation in extracurricular activities results in a lower display of disruptive behaviors. Adolescents who took part in extracurricular activities reported strong emotional regulation. The researcher recommends extracurricular activities within a school setting as a way of initiating social interactions which is an indicator of mental well-being among adolescents. Waghachavare, Chavan, Dhumale, and Gore (2013) studied stress among college students. They describe stress as a change in body equilibrium that may often lead to poor decision-making. They propose academic problems as the main risk factors of stress among students. The study proposes a number of solutions to college stress and one of the suggested solutions are participation in regular extracurricular activities. The researchers explain that extracurricular activities can be successfully used as buster stress, a major cause of depression among other mental illnesses.


H1: Depression and suicidal attempts are common among adolescents and young adults.

H2: Extracurricular activities help in alleviating depression among adolescents and young adults which consequently results in decreased cases of suicide attempts.

Research Methodology

The study involved identifying the population that is the most prevalent causes of depression and suicide attempts as well as finding out how extracurricular activities play a vital role in decreasing depression and suicide cases. To achieve this, a qualitative research method was utilized. Online libraries were used to retrieve the required information related to how extracurricular activities can be pivotal in reducing incidences of suicide and depression. It is imperative to note that keywords such as "suicide prevention through extracurricular activities", "how extracurricular activities prevent depression", "depression cases across different age groups", and so on proved pivotal in obtaining relevant information about the research question. Notably, only credible online libraries were used. A custom search was done in which the year of publication was limited to between 2012 and 2018. It is prudent to note that a custom search was pivotal for it enabled retrieval of the most current information published within the last five years. The study focused on an online library search of scholarly articles from journals that contained relevant information. Other than scholarly articles, books were used as they were pivotal in providing more information about the research topic. The books used were most recent (published within the last five years). After library searches, findings were recorded and critically analyzed. Thereafter, discussions of the findings were carried out and relevant conclusions and recommendations were made.


Each research study had its own result as far as the relationship between reduced depression and suicide, and extracurricular activities are concerned. In their research, Mata et al. (2012) found out that adolescents who are actively involved in sporting activities are less likely to commit suicide or even think of it as compared to adolescents who are not active in sports (v = -19, p= 0.003). Another study conducted by Oskouei and Kahkeshan (2013) noted that most students become depressed in school due to various factors such as financial challenges, relationships, and so on. The study was based on a sample of 400 students. Oskouei and Kahkeshan (2013) noted that college students exhibited at least one degree of depression as shown in figure 1 below.

Depression degree Number (N) Percentage (%)
Normal 251 63.9
Slight 61 15.5
Mild 42 10.7
Moderate 29 7.4
Severe 8 2
Serious 2 0.5
Total 393 100

The researchers further revealed that people, particularly students, need to actively take part in extracurricular activities to lower depression scores. In a similar study, Driessens (2015) confirmed that participation in extracurricular activities is pivotal in decreasing adverse effects of mental disorders such as depression. It is, therefore, worthy to note that participation in extracurricular activities is important in reducing or averting depression and suicide cases among people.


Most people who are depressed and have suicide ideation are usually adolescents and young adults (between 15 and 24). Oskouei and Kahkeshan (2013) conducted research and adduced that 9.9 of students normally experience moderate to severe depression. The depression is due to various factors such as inadequate financial resources to cater to their need, unforeseen career uncertainties, and relationships among others. The researchers noted that a close correlation exists between extracurricular activities and depression (p>0.001). Participation in extracurricular activities was found to significantly reduce depression among students. Fares et al. (2016) affirmed this through their study in which they explained that music as an extracurricular activity has the ability to alleviate stress and fatigue as well as enhance well-being through pain reduction and distraction from unpleasant situations which consequently lead to a reduction of depression.

There are many reasons that facilitate the thought of committing suicide among people in society. Suicidal thought is detrimental because it can lead to loss of life and misery to the bereaved families. A research study conducted by Mata et al. (2012) found out that encouraging adolescent participation in sporting activities is paramount in facilitating togetherness among students. Accordingly, a sense of belonging among students indirectly lowers the rate of suicide attempts in school. The results further affirmed that extracurricular activities help in averting suicide irrespective of the age and grade of the students. The study revealed that 13% of the sampled students reported suicide ideation while 3.7% of the students confirmed to have actually attempted suicide. The researchers encouraged the students to actively take part in co-curricular activities such as soccer, marathon, drama, and so on. Participation in extracurricular activities helps in eliminating negative thoughts the youths or students may have, thereby helping in averting suicide cases. In his research, Zhang and Li (2013) related depression to suicidal attempts and ideation. The researcher asserted that depressed people usually fail to live to their full potential, leading to poor performance in school or work. The researchers noted that in most cases, depression is untreated or ignored, a condition that makes it increase in severity. A severe depression leads to suicide ideation which may lead to death.

From research studies, it is therefore evident that extracurricular activities are helpful in allevia...

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Research Paper on Decreasing Depression and Suicide through Extracurricular Activities. (2022, Mar 11). Retrieved from

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