4-H Study of Positive Youth Development August 2008 University of Missouri 4-H Center for Youth Development
What is the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development? • The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development is a landmark investigation committed to studying adolescent development over a number of years. • It aims to help parents, educators, and researchers better understand the factors that lead to positive growth and decreased risk during adolescence. • The study also examines the impact of “out of school” time activities such as 4-H.
What is the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development? • Funded by National 4-H Council and lead by researchers at Tufts University, this longitudinal study began with fifth graders. By the end of 2007, data has been collected from 4,793 adolescents in 34 states in five Waves. • We will continue surveying these youth through high school and into college. Although funded by 4-H, the participants are diverse adolescents who may or may not be 4-H members.
Some History • Study began in 2001 when National 4-H Council wanted to support a study of Positive Youth Development and the role of 4-H. • 4-H Council wanted scientific neutrality and sophisticated research methodologies. • Dr. Richard Lerner, Tufts University, and the Institute for Applied Research on Youth Development was selected to plan and lead the study. • After a pilot year of measurement development, the study launched with a national sample of 5th graders.
The Study’s Timeline • Pilot: 2001-2002 • Wave 1: 2002-2003 (5th grade) • Wave 2: 2003-2004 (6th grade) • Wave 3: 2004-2005 (7th grade) • Wave 4: 2005-2006 (8th grade) • Wave 5: 2006-2007 (9th grade) • Wave 6: 2007-2008 (10th grade) • Wave 7: 2008-2009 (11th grade) • Wave 8: 2009-2010 (12th grade) • We have added younger youth at all Waves and plan to follow them up for at least 3 years. Funding is secure through Wave 8.
Missouri Wave 5 and national Waves 1-4 Reports now available on-line: http://mo4h.missouri.edu/resources/evaluation/pydstudy.htm
Missouri 4-H joined the 4-H Study in 2007 or Wave 5. • Between March and August of 2007, 338 adolescents from Missouri were surveyed. • The students were from 21 sites in Missouri. 4-H Youth Development • Specialists from the University of Missouri and Lincoln University recruited students in grades 5 to 11 to participate. • Parents could complete an optional survey
Missouri Sample – Wave 5 Not all students provided this information. One group of adjudicated adolescents was also omitted from the sample.
Missouri Sample – Wave 5 • Not all students provided this information. • One group of adjudicated adolescents was also omitted from the sample.
The Student and Parent Questionnaires • More than 300 questions • Demographic questions • About the children, their household, the time they have lived in their neighborhood, etc. • Future Goals and Expectations • Activity Participation • School clubs, sports, lessons, after-school programs • Relationships with parents, friends, other adults • Involvement in positive behaviors • Involvement in risk behaviors • Parents: household information, occupation and education, parenting goals, neighborhood information
The Five Cs • Competence • Confidence • Character • Caring • Connection Contribution Key Hypotheses of the 4-H Study Hypothesis: PYD is constituted by “Five Cs.” When these factors are present in young people, they result in “Contribution,” or service.
What have we learned so far from the National 4-H Study about growth and development?
PYD can be defined and measured by the "Five Cs.” • PYD is correlated to Contribution. • PYD constructs: • Competence • Confidence • Character • Caring • Connection Contribution .62***
Longitudinal data and developmental trajectories are helping us understand… • There is NOT a single pathway for PYD. • Patterns of PYD may change over time.
Findings: • Youth may show increases or decreases in both positive development and risk. • It is not that youth either engage in positive behavior or negative. They can engage in both behaviors. • Therefore, youth need both positive development promotion and risk/problem prevention.
Findings: The strengths of young people - their internal developmental assets - can be measured by three (3) characteristics – SOC: • Selection of goals • Optimization (developing strategies and means for reaching one’s goals) • Compensation (in the face of failure or blocked goals)
Findings: • High SOC scores among 5th, 6th, and 7th graders were associated with higher levels of contribution to the community and lower levels of risk and problem behaviors. • High SOC in 5th gradepredicted higher levels of PYD and lower rates of depression, delinquency, and risk behaviorsin grades 6 and 7.
What have we learned so far from the National Study about 4-H participantsand4-H Youth Development Programs?
The study has compared 4-H participants to other youth who are similar on many other factors. • Two groups were created: 4-H and other OST Youth. All youth participated at least twice a month in 4-H or another OST (Out of School Time) program. • Matched on: • Gender • Race/ethnicity • Rural/urban/suburban • Number of parents in home • Family per capita income • Mother’s education • Region of the country
Findings: Among Wave 4 participants, • 4-H participants scored significantly higher on measures of PYD, Contribution, SOC and the mentoring index. • 4-H participants were significantly more likely to say they planned to attend college.
Wave 4 (Grade 8) Matched Group Comparison of Means by Activity Participation Types: 4-H Programs vs. Other OST Activities * Statistically Significant Difference, p < .05
Wave 4 (Grade 8) Matched Group Comparison of Means for Educational Outcomes: 4-H Programs vs. Other OST Activities
Waves 1-4PYD Trajectories 4-H youth are 1.5 times more likely than comparison youth to be in the highest PYD trajectories. [Youth participating in 2 or more waves are included]
Waves 1-4Contribution Trajectories 4-H youth are 3.5 times more likely than comparison youth to be in the highest contribution trajectory. [Youth participating in 2 or more waves are included]
Waves 1-4Risk Behavior Trajectories 4-H youth were 1.3 times more likely than comparison youth to be in the lowest risk behavior trajectory. [Youth participating in 2 or more waves are included]
What have we learned about Missouri youth in Wave 5? • They are very similar to the national sample from Waves 1-4.
We sorted Missouri students into three groups based on their level of 4-H participation. NON 4-H - Never participated in a 4-H club SOME 4-H - Participated in a 4-H club less than once a month ACTIVE 4-H- Participated in a 4-H club two or more times per month
Active Missouri 4-H’ers report a larger number of positive adult mentors.
Active Missouri 4-H’ers report fewer risk behaviors and more leadership experiences.
What else have we learned about Missouri youth? • In addition to the 4-H Study questionnaire, Missouri youth at 16 sites completed a supplemental survey. 214 youth participated, which included 126 4-H participants and 88 non-4-H participants.
There were significant differences between 4-H’ers and non-4-He’rs on items such as: Science will be useful in my future. (p<.006)
Do you spend you out-of-school time learning about or working with science or technology? (p<.020)
In Conclusion: The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development is important so that we can… • Evaluate our 4-H programs to determine how effective we are in fostering the “5 C’s” and the “6th C – Contribution.” • Use what we learn to improve, strengthen and enhance our 4-H programs.
The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development is also important so that we can… • Share the information with other youth development programs so that they can strengthen, improve, and enhance programs. • Share the results parents, schools, and communities in order to promote PYD.
LEARN MORE AT: http://mo4h.missouri.edu/resources/evaluation/pydstudy.htm