Research: Current Research

Project GPS - Building Goal Management Skills in Young People

About the Study

Project GPS is a joint collaboration between the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development (IARYD) of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University and the Thrive Foundation for Youth of Menlo Park, California. The aim of this project is to promote the positive development of youth across the U.S. by designing a set of materials pertinent to adolescents’ goal management skills, or what we term GPS (Goal Selection, Pursuit of Strategies, and Shifting Gears in the face of challenge). The materials are designed to be used by youth and mentors in youth-serving organizations. We are also evaluating the implementation of these materials and activities across a number of youth-serving organizations throughout the US.

Cutting-edge research conducted by scholars at the IARYD and utilizing data from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicates that adolescents who exhibit higher levels of goal-directed strategies and behaviors are more likely to be thriving and contributing to society. Project GPS applies the findings from our work, as well as from the work of researchers around the globe, to develop tools that will guide mentors to assist youth in the growth of these GPS skills.

Leveraging the strengths of youths and of mentors, Project GPS aims to improve goal-directed strategies and behaviors as well as positive development through the implementation of youth-focused multimedia activities and theoretically-based, scientifically rigorous instrumentation. Tools are currently being evaluated, with data collection set to culminate in January 2012.

Project GPS Newsletters:


Richard M. Lerner
Principal Investigator

Jacqueline V. Lerner
Scientific Director

Edmond P. Bowers
Director of Research, Research Assistant Professor

Heidi Johnson
Managing Director, IARYD

Graduate Research Assistants:
Christopher Napolitano
Miriam Arbeit
Paul Chase
Lisette DeSouza
Santiago Gasca
Kristina Schmid
Michelle Boyd
Megan Kiely

Undergraduate Research Assistant:
Samantha Glickman


Project GPS
Tufts University
26 Winthrop Street
Medford, MA 02155

Phone: (617) 627-4489
Fax: (617) 627-5596

Email: tuftsgps@gmail.com