4-H Study of Positive Youth Development
About the Study
The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development finished data collection and is
undertaking final analysis of the data.
In this study, we longitudinally assessed
across adolescence the key characteristics of positive youth development, that is
the "5 Cs" of positive development -- competence, confidence, character, connection,
and caring (or compassion).
The research also evaluates the impact on positive youth
development of key ecological assets -- found in families, schools, and community-based
programs, such as youth development (YD) programs. YD programs are marked by the "Big 3"
characteristics of positive and sustained adult-youth relations; life skills-building
activities for youth; and opportunities for youth participation in and leadership of
valued community activities). We have found that YD programs are key assets in the
promotion of PYD.
We have also found that the factors representing the "Five Cs" of
PYD lead to a 6th C -- Contribution. Both PYD and participation in YD programs
independently relate to contribution. In turn, longitudinally, PYD predicts both
community contributions and lessened likelihood of risk/problem behaviors. For example,
PYD in Grade 5 predicted higher youth contributions and lower risk behaviors and
depression at Grade 6. However, the pattern of PYD across time indicates that both
promotion of strengths and prevention of risks need to be undertaken when working
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