nomics, and history into his sports program by having the participants do a series of intellectual activities directly related to the sport. The basic point, however, is that participating in an activity does not mean that adolescents are acquiring the habits of and dispositions for the activity in the future. Programs need to be explicitly designed to teach these habits as well as other critical life skills.
In Bronfenbrenner’s and various other models, adolescent development is facilitated when there is meaningful communication and synergy among the different settings of adolescents’ lives and among the adults who oversee these settings. Optimal conditions for development exist when there is cohesion and information flow between systems—for example, when parents know what is going on at school and with peers and when principals, community leaders, and parents are in touch and have a shared perception of community standards for behavior. This communication facilitates acquiring social capital, and it increases the likelihood of adequate structure in the setting. It also adds to the fund of developmental resources that adolescents can draw on. Communication and integration also facilitate the processes of management described by the family management perspective (Furstenburg et al., 1999). When it is lacking, when different parts of adolescents’ worlds are out of touch and on different wavelengths, there is increased likelihood that developmental opportunities will be missed, that adolescents will be confused about adult expectations, and that deviant behavior and values will take root.
Research substantiates the importance of this integration between the settings and institutions in adolescents’ lives. This is evident, first, in the links between home and school. When young adolescents receive reassurance, assistance, and support from their parents, they are more likely to believe that their in-school effort will pay off (Eccles et al., 1992; Feagans and Bartsch, 1993; Marjoribanks, 1979). Parent involvement and interest in children’s school activities are related to better school motivation and performance as well as more successful school transitions (Baker and Stevenson, 1986; Comer, 1980, 1988; Eccles and Harold, 1996; Epstein and Dauber, 1991; Henderson and Berla, 1994; Booth and Dunn, 1996; Jackson and Davis, 2000; Romo and Falbo, 1996; Stevenson and Baker, 1987). We also see it in the links between family and community. Rural adolescents whose parents were actively