It sometimes seems as though legal restrictions and medication are society's preferred way of keeping children out of trouble. However, a new study by researchers at Ohio State University points to a more positive solution - youth clubs. The study surveyed nearly 300 children aged between 9 and 16 in Utah. Three-quarters of the children were members of a local branch of Boys and Girls Clubs of America; the rest weren't. The more children participated in the club the higher their self-esteem. Participation in the clubs also improved the youngsters' social skills and made them feel more part of their community. Children who experienced these benefits were less likely to drink, smoke cannabis or tobacco, do badly at school and get involved in gangs.
You can find out more about this research at