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FULL TEXT AVAILABLE FROM http://rdcu.be/FvRy The aim of the current study was to evaluate the efficacy of the short-term school-based intervention program Try Volunteering in the development of the Five Cs (Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, and Caring) of positive youth development. The longitudinal quasi-experimental study design was used for the pilot evaluation of the intervention program. The study sample consisted of 615 adolescents assigned to intervention and control groups. The Latent Class Growth Analysis revealed that most program participants showed an increase in Competence, Connection, and Caring as well as maintained stable levels of Confidence and Character; whereas most non-participants showed a decrease in Competence, Confidence, and Character and maintained stable levels of Connection and Caring. The effect size estimation revealed large between-group program effects on Competence and Confidence and moderate effects on Character as well as moderate within-group time effects on all Five Cs. Thus, the intervention program Try Volunteering is an effective tool for fostering positive youth development.
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Promoting positive youth development through a school-based
intervention program Try Volunteering
Inga Truskauskaitė-Kunevičienė
1
&Eva Romera
2
&Rosario Ortega-Ruiz
2
&Rita Žukauskienė
1
#Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
Abstract
The aim of the current study was to evaluate the efficacy of the short-term school-based intervention program Try Volunteering in
the development of the Five Cs (Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, and Caring) of positive youth development.
The longitudinal quasi-experimentalstudy designwas used for the pilot evaluation of the intervention program. The study sample
consisted of 615 adolescents assigned to intervention and control groups. The Latent Class Growth Analysis revealed that most
program participants showed an increase in Competence, Connection, and Caring as well as maintained stable levels of
Confidence and Character; whereas most non-participants showed a decrease in Competence, Confidence, and Character and
maintained stable levels of Connection and Caring. The effect size estimation revealed large between-group program effects on
Competence and Confidence and moderate effects on Character as well as moderate within-group time effects on all Five Cs.
Thus, the intervention program Try Volunteering is an effective tool for fostering positive youth development.
Keywords School-based intervention .Adolescence .Positive youth development .Five Cs .Latent class growth analysis
Introduction
For many decades, the primary mission of school was to en-
sure quality education for children and adolescents. Taking
care of youthswell-being was typically seen as the task of
family and community. However, the mission of school has
expanded. Alongside education, the school-setting is seen as
an important developmental context that can and should con-
tribute to healthy and positive youth development (Greenberg
et al. 2003).
Positive Youth Development
The perspective of positive youth development (PYD) moved
beyond the deficit view in developmental psychology and sug-
gested that adolescence is a resourse to be developed rather the
problem to be solved (Bowers et al. 2010; Roth and Brooks-
Gunn 2003). It also encouraged a noticeable increase of research
and practices focusing on youths well-being and thriving
(Benson and Scales 2009). Different conceptualizations of
PYD exist in the literature. The most empirically supported
PYD framework to date is the Five Cs model (Heck and
Subramaniam 2009). It suggests that PYD comprises five psy-
chological, behavioral, and social characteristics of the individual
context relations, namely Competence, Confidence,
Connection, Character, and Caring (Lerner et al. 2005).
The perspective of PYD is based on the Relational
Developmental Systems approach (e.g. Overton 2013). In this
approach, one of the main characteristics of the developmental
process is plasticity which makes it possible for a person to
undergo a positive (or negative) change through the lifespan
(Lerner 2004). The model of positive youth development
(Lerner et al. 2005) suggests that the Five Cs of PYD will
emerge when the strengths of youth (e.g., intentional self-
regulation (Gestsdottir and Lerner 2008) or hopeful future
expectations (Schmid et al. 2011) are in line with the
*Inga Truskauskaitė-Kunevičienė
inga.truskauskaite@mruni.eu
Eva Romera
eva.romera@uco.es
Rosario Ortega-Ruiz
ed1orrur@uco.es
Rita Žukauskienė
rzukausk@mruni.eu
1
Mykolas Romeris University, Ateities str. 20,
08303 Vilnius, Lithuania
2
University of Cordoba, San Alberto Magno S/N,
14004 Cordoba, Spain
Current Psychology
https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-018-9790-1
ecological assets (e.g., social networks, institutions, access to
resources (Theokas et al. 2005) provided by different contexts
such as family, school, or community. Therefore, PYD could
be induced by targeting youths attitudes and skills and en-
couraging social interactions in meaningful and supporting
contexts.
Program Participation as a Context for Fostering
Positive Youth Development
Scales et al. 2000 revealed that youth program participation is
a key asset and context that leads to positive youth develop-
ment and thriving by providing access to caring adults, re-
sponsible peers, and skill-building activities. However, there
is still a lack of consensus on what particular developmental
changes should PYD programs induce and what qualities in
youth should they foster (Roth and Brooks-Gunn 2016).
There is also a discrepancy between the indicators of positive
youth development described in the literature and the usually
measured outcomes of PYD programs. A recent review (Tolan
et al. 2016) revealed that the most commonly measured indi-
cators of PYD programs efficacy are the change in community
contribution (or civic engagement) and the decrease of prob-
lem behavior. Although these constructs are indicators of
thriving which itself, as theory states, is induced by fostering
positive youth development the Five Cs of PYD are rarely
used to measure program outcomes even though at least two
reliable measures reflect PYD through the structure of the Five
Cs (see Arnold et al. 2012; Bowers et al. 2010).
We found a single quasi-experimental study (White 2009)
which used the Five Cs of PYD as the indicators of a pro-
grams efficacy. However, it failed to find any within-group
time effects or between-group effects, despite the practi-
tionersclaims that the evaluated programs are highly benefi-
cial. As White (2009) explains, they might not have found any
effects on the Five Cs due to the methodological reasons, such
as very small sample size in final analysis or possible diffusion
of treatment effects (Cook and Campbell 1979). Moreover, the
comprehensive longitudinal 4-H study, led by the leading de-
velopers of the PYD perspective, failed to find any direct
effects between program participation and the Five Cs of
PYD (Lerner and Lerner 2013). The existing available evi-
dence of fostering Five Cs in adolescence is limited to cross-
sectional (Arnold et al. 2007), descriptive (Arnold and Nott
2010a), or retrospective (pre-test and post-test data collected
after the completion of the program) (Arnold and Nott 2010b)
studies. It should be noted, however, that the PYD programs
successfully promoted PYD-related outcomes such as inten-
tional self-regulation (Mueller et al. 2011), positive identity
(Eichas et al. 2010), self-efficacy, resilience, spirituality
(Shek and Sun2010), community and family cohesion, school
prosocial support (Feinberg et al. 2010), and more.
The empirical evidence provided above support the view
outlined by Roth and Brooks-Gunn (2003). They noted that
capturing the change of developmental outcomes, such as the
Five Cs, may be difficult even after a good program, as ado-
lescents Bdo not grow up in programs^(p. 97) but rather in
families, schools, and communities, and a single program is
rarely capable of changing lives of young people entirely.
Durlak et al. (2010) reported that significant youth program
effects usually appear when evaluating Bself-perceptions,
bonding to school, positive social behaviors, school grades,
and achievement test scores^(p. 302), but not the desirable
developmental outcomes per se, including social, moral, cog-
nitive, and emotional dimensions (as suggested by Baker
2001). Therefore, a further investigation on whether and
how much the context of the PYD intervention could induce
the Five Cs of PYD is needed.
How the Five Cs of PYD Could be Influenced
by the Context of Interventions
There is substantial empirical evidence that healthy develop-
ment is rooted in multiple contexts, such as families, schools,
and communities (e.g., Youngblade et al. 2007). Preventive
interventions are among these contexts. However, youth pro-
grams are usually relatively short contextual influences and
may have a different impact on separate developmental out-
comes, such as the Five Cs of PYD (Lerner et al. 2005;Roth
and Brooks-Gunn 2003). Although the magnitude of possible
changes of the five elements has not been specifically ad-
dressed to date, one can find some evidence about these
changes in the literature about the studies of the constituting
elements of the Five Cs. Therefore, in following paragraphs,
some previous findings enabling to predict the magnitude of
expected change in Competence, Confidence, Connection,
Character, and Caring after delivering an intervention pro-
gram, will be discussed.
Competence refers to a positive view of ones actions in a
domain specific area, such as social (e.g., interpersonal skills),
emotional (e.g., stress management), academic (e.g., school
grades), cognitive (e.g., decision making), and vocational
(e.g., career choice) (Lerner et al. 2005; Roth and Brooks-
Gunn 2003). Masten and Coatsworth (1998) suggested that
competence is a result of the interaction between the person
and his/her environment and could be relatively easily influ-
enced by changes in the context. Catalano et al. (2004)pro-
vided empirical support for this idea. They reported that many
PYD interventions, varying in length, were successful in fos-
tering social, emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and moral
competencies. Therefore, an increase in Competence could
be highly anticipated after participating in a quality PYD
program.
Confidence refers to an internal sense of global self-
efficacy and self-esteem (Lerner et al. 2005; Roth and
Curr Psychol
Brooks-Gunn 2003). Pajares and Urdan (2006)reportedsig-
nificant evidence that mastery experiences may influence self-
efficacy. Thus, improved Competence may also result in im-
proved Confidence. However, Confidence also comprises
self-esteem which develops with early experiences (Robins
and Trzesniewski 2005), and remains quite stable through
the lifespan (Orth and Robins 2014). Nonetheless,
McLaughlin (2000) reported some supporting evidence that
community programs may boost perceived self-esteem.
Therefore, increased Confidence could also be expected as a
result of participation in the school-based PYD program.
Connection refers to bi-directional positive bonds with
people (e.g., peers, parents/guardians, or teachers) and institu-
tions in different contexts (Lerner et al. 2005; Roth and
Brooks-Gunn 2003). According to the identity theory, people
tend to undertake many different role identities while commu-
nicating with various individuals or groups (Hogg et al. 1995).
Therefore, to induce positive changes in different relation-
ships, a successful intervention should be capable of targeting
different social domains.On the other hand, relationships with
others in late adolescence are shaped by the representations of
self and others that depend highly on ones attachment style
(Kobak and Sceery 1988). The attachment style represents
relatively stable behavioral patterns of the relationships, and
people tend to use their early relationships as a template for
future ones (Campbell et al. 2005). However, the evidence
from the intervention science proves that mentoring relation-
ships can positively influence not only mentor-mentee rela-
tionships but also the relationships with teachers and parents/
guardians (Chan et al. 2013). Therefore, we could expect that
the PYD intervention could have a positive, if modest, influ-
ence on Connection.
Character refers to respect for cultural and societal norms,
morality, and resistance to negative influence (Lerner et al.
2005; Roth and Brooks-Gunn 2003). The development of
morality is shaped by the relationship towards the primary
attachment figure (Van IJzendoorn 1997). In late adolescence,
however, morality development is also influenced by peer
friends (Caravita et al. 2014). Besides, Kirschenbaum (1995)
argued that there are many ways to induce morality in school
settings and appropriate role models in the adolescentsenvi-
ronment may, above all, play a significant role in targeting
morality. Recent research show that the manifestations of pos-
itive morality, such as volunteering, may be influenced by the
example of peers and parents/guardians (Van Goethem et al.
2014). Therefore, within an empowering and encouraging
program atmosphere (Roth and Brooks-Gunn 2003), at least
some effect on Character could be expected.
Caring refers to empathy and sympathy for others (Lerner
et al. 2005; Roth and Brooks-Gunn 2003). Empathy reflects
emotional and cognitive reactions that often lead to acts which
benefit others (Killen and Smetana 2015). Intervention re-
search provides some evidence that increased emotional
competence in adolescence could induce empathy (Castillo
et al. 2013). However, the reported effect sizes are rather
small. Volbrecht et al. (2007) demonstrated that empathy de-
velopment depends both on genetic and early positive
experiences, such as positive affect during interactions with
parents/guardians. Van der Graaff et al. (2014)providedevi-
dence that empathy increases in adolescence as a result of
cognitive development. Therefore, the impact of interventions
on Caring may be limited.
To sum up, previous research provides evidence that the
Five Cs of PYD may be induced by changing the context of
development, for example, by delivering an intervention fo-
cused on promoting PYD. However, the magnitude of the
expected effects may vary across the five constructs. Some
characteristics of individual-context interaction are deeply
rooted in early childhood or even genetics, while others may
be easily influenced by the short-term experiences. Therefore,
it is meaningful to explore the change of Competence,
Confidence, Connection, Character, and Caring in interven-
tion settings separately, to investigate the impact of change in
a developmental context on youths positive development.
The School-Based Intervention Program Try
Volunteering
In this study, we evaluated the PYD program called Try
Volunteering which is unique in terms of addressing the
PYD program criteria described by Roth and Brooks-Gunn
(2003) in program development, implementation, and evalu-
ation (Roth and Brooks-Gunn 2016). Roth and Brooks-Gunn
(2016) suggested three defining characteristics of the quality
PYD programs: (1) program goals, targeted towards the Five
Cs of PYD; (2) empowering program atmosphere that encour-
ages positive relationships with adults and peers; (3) program
activities that provide opportunities for practicing new skills
and broadening horizons.
During the two months (8 sessions) long school-based in-
tervention program adolescents participated in activities that
were built specifically to foster the Five Cs of positive youth
development. In this way, the program goal criterion was
targeted. To ensure the appropriate program atmosphere,the
following steps were taken: volunteers with the positive atti-
tude towards adolescents were selected as program leaders;
the program leaders undertook training in order to ensure the
uniformity and the supportive climate of the program delivery;
the program leaders sought to build positive relationships with
and to encourage positive relationships between the partici-
pants; the program structure and activities were organized
with the purpose of empowering youth to take actions and
achieve their goals; the program leaders communicated the
positive behavior expectations to the participating youth; ev-
ery participant could receive individual positive attention and
recognition. After the program delivery, the participants could
Curr Psychol
choose to engage in community support-based volunteering
activities under the further supervision of the program leaders
in order to learn how to make important choices and take
responsibility.
The program activities criterion was met by taking the
following actions: the participants were provided with oppor-
tunities for acquiring new skills, nurturing their existing tal-
ents, and dealing with the real situations of their lives. After
the program, the participants learned various volunteering op-
portunities and were given a chance to meet real people from
different volunteer-based organizations. This was done to
broaden participantshorizons and to provide youth with op-
portunities for getting involved in new challenging activities.
The Present Study
The present study aimed to evaluate within-group time effects
and between-group effects of the intervention program Try
Volunteering on positive youth development at 4-months fol-
low-up.We used the Five Cs model of PYD framework
(Lerner et al. 2005) for both the development and the evalua-
tion of the program. The evidence-based Five Cs model has
rarely been used as a basis for the PYD intervention research
and practice, especially outside the United States of America.
This work contributes to the developmental and intervention
research by addressing this gap.
From the theoretical perspective, we consider the current
intervention as a developmental context that may induce
youths thriving. In this study, however, the focus lies not only
on the change in the Five Cs but also on its magnitude. There
is little empirical evidence of change in the Five Cs of PYD
over time, as a result of the PYD intervention. As far as we
know, the magnitude of change in the Five Cs has never been
addressed in previous studies before. Thus, our study contrib-
utes to the further exploration of the five constructs that con-
stitute PYD.
The new perspective has recently been added to the devel-
opmental system theory (Lerner 2004) on which the PYD
framework is based. Belsky (2013) suggested that people dif-
fer in plasticity; therefore, the susceptibility to environmental
influences (both positive and negative) is differential. The
PYD intervention is a developmental context (Roth &
Brooks-Gunn 2016) that influences youth in a (preferably)
positive way. However, according to Belskys(2013)view,
the intervention effects could be shaped by individual differ-
ences in plasticity. Therefore, in this study, alongside the tra-
ditional variable-oriented approach, we addressed the person-
oriented approach (Bergman et al. 2003), which is rare in
intervention studies. We believe that presenting both types
of analysis in a single study contributes to better understand-
ing of the program effects in general and the trajectories of the
Five Cs of positive youth development in particular.
Whereas program development and implementation met
the general criteria of PYD programs (Roth and Brooks-
Gunn 2003), we expected that the short-term school-based
intervention program Try Volunteering will foster
Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, and
Caring. Also, we expected to find the between-group as well
as within-group time effects on all the Five Cs.
Method
Design
The quasi-experimental study design was chosen for the pilot
evaluation of the newly developed PYD intervention program
efficacy. Three available measures (pre-test, post-test, and
follow-up; each four months apart) in the intervention and
control groups were used. Twenty-six ninth-to-tenth-grade
classrooms from two middle schools participated in the pres-
ent study. All adolescents from one school (13 classrooms)
were assigned to the intervention condition and all adolescents
from the other school (10 classrooms) to the control condition.
The assignment was conducted at the school level and not at
the classroom level (Roth and Brooks-Gunn (2016)acknowl-
edged the latter as an available option) in order to avoid the
diffusion of treatment effect described by Cook and Campbell
(1979). The schools were selected for the study based on their
similarity of the structure (both being gymnasiums with ninth
to twelfth graders) and the neighborhood (both located in the
areas with similar neighborhood characteristics, e.g., non-
central location, middle-class apartment housing, etc.).
Participants
The sample used in the current study consisted of 615 partic-
ipants: 351 from the intervention school (44.2% girls, aged
from 13 to 16 (M
age
=15.26;SD
age
= .69) at pre-test) and 264
from the control school (40 .9% girls, aged from 14 to 17
(M
age
= 15.24; SD
age
= .65) at pre-test). Most of the partici-
pants (92.6%) were Lithuanians. The subjects in the interven-
tion and control groups did not differ in terms of age (t=.30,
p= .63) and gender (χ
2
=.650, p=.25).
It should be noted that participants were included in the
study regardless of the number of the program sessions that
they attended as we assumed that all adolescents from the
intervention school could be influenced by the treatment in
one way or another because of the possible diffusion of the
treatment effect (Cook and Campbell 1979). Seventeen per-
cent of the intervention sample attended the full program; 25%
missed one meeting; 35% missed more than one meeting but
attended no fewer than half of the program sessions; 23%
attended less than half of the program sessions, but were pres-
ent at least in one session.
Curr Psychol
Procedures
The study was conducted from May 2014 to May 2015 and
consisted of the following stages: program development; se-
lection, training, and supervision of the program leaders; in-
tervention delivery (classroom and school activities); and as-
sessments (pre-test in September 2014, post-test in January
2015, and follow-up in May 2015).
Intervention The short-term school-based PYD program was
developed by the research team of the longitudinal project
BMechanisms of promoting positive youth development in
the context of socio-economical transformations
(POSIDEV)^. Program activities (8 classroom sessions,
45 min each) were delivered once a week during the regular
school hours. Each session was focused on fostering from one
to three Cs of PYD (see Table 1).
Before starting the program, the introductory meeting was
organized to present the intervention program for the school
community. During this meeting, the participants of the pro-
gram, teachers, and school administration had an opportunity
to meet the program developers, program leaders, and repre-
sentatives from volunteer-based organizations.
Participants from 13 classrooms in the intervention school
were divided into 26 smaller groups of 15 or fewer to ensure
the quality of the program delivery. Awide range of individual
and group activities (e.g., group discussions, role-plays, and
personal reflections) were organized during the program ses-
sions. At the end of every session, program leaders provided
some insights of how the strengths of youth could be further
encouraged by taking part in the volunteering activities.
The intervention program was delivered by 28 program
leaders (university students volunteers). Before the interven-
tion, program leaders participated in a two-day training led by
program developers. All program leaders signed volunteering
contracts by which they committed to deliver a full program (8
sessions). When a leader could not deliver a session on the
appointed day, the respective session was rescheduled in col-
laboration with the intervention school and took place before
the due time of the following session. Group supervisions of
the program leaders were organized once a week, right after
the delivery of the session.
After the program delivery, a volunteering fair was orga-
nized during which participants had an opportunity to meet
staff members of the volunteer-based organizations such as
animal shelters, Caritas-run services, child care centers, etc.
Participants could choose whether and where to volunteer.
Assessment Assessment dates and conditions were discussed
with every school before each assessment. Parents/guardians
were informed about the study in writing and informed con-
sents were obtained. Before each assessment, adolescents
were informed of the study purpose and that their participation
was voluntary. Questionnaires were administered by
POSIDEV researcher team in classrooms during regular
school hours. Students who were absent on the day of data
collection were contacted by the school personnel during the
following one or two weeks and asked to fill out the
questionnaire.
Measures
Positive youth development was measured with the Positive
Youth Development Inventory (PYDI) (Arnold et al. 2012).
This questionnaire was chosen because it was developed in-
tentionally as an outcome measure for youth development
programs and because it observes the Five Cs model of
PYD by measuring Competence (14 items; e.g., BI am a cre-
ative person^), Confidence (9 items; e.g., BI feel good about
my scholastic ability^); Connection (8 items; e.g., BIhavea
wide circle of friends^), Character (9 items; e.g., BIt is impor-
tant that others can count on me^), and Caring (8 items; e.g.,
BWhen there is a need, I offer assistance whenever I can^).
Each item was rated on a four-point scale: 1 for Strongly
disagree, 2 for Disagree, 3 for Agree, and 4 for Strongly agree.
The Lithuanian version of the questionnaire was developed by
the researchers from the POSIDEV project team. In the cur-
rent study, Cronbachs alphas ranged across the three mea-
surement points from .74 to .78 for Competence,from.75to
.80 for Confidence, from .66 to.77 for Connection,from.68to
Table 1 The list of the Try
Volunteering program sessions
with the corresponding Five Cs
Session Topic PYD goals
1Icanbe open to the new experiences. Confidence, Character, Connection
2Icanlearn about my strengths Character, Confidence
3Icancherish my connections with others Connection, Confidence
4Icanunderstand my own and other peoples feelings Caring, Competence
5Icansurvive difficult situations Competence, Character, Caring, Connection
6Icansee life as a meaningful experience Confidence, Connection, Competence
7Icanshare what I have with others Caring, Competence, Connection
8Icanbecome a volunteer Caring, Character
Curr Psychol
.79 for Character, and from .81 to .86 for Caring. The results
of the Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) confirmed a good
factor structure of the PYDI (χ
2
/df =2.07;RMSEA = .06 [.04;
.08]; CFI/TLI = .95/.92). The test for measurement invariance
between schools revealed that measures were equivalent at
configural (χ
2
/df = 2.56; RMSEA = .07 [.06; .08]; CFI/
TLI = .93/.91), metric (χ
2
/df =2.39; RMSEA = .06 [.05; .08];
CFI/TLI = .93/.91), and scalar (χ
2
/df = 2.34; RMSEA =.06
[.05; .08]; CFI/TLI = .93/.91) levels.
Data Analysis
To test PYD program efficacy, the latent growth curve model-
ing approach (Muthén and Curran 1997) was adopted. At the
first stage of data analysis, we tested whether a linear growth
occurs in the intervention and the control groups for all the
Five Cs (Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character,
and Caring) of positive youth development. In the current
study, the intercept was centered at the first time-point (i.e.
pre-test); thus all intercept factor loadings were fixed at 1,
and the first slope factor loading at 0. As all three measure-
ment time-points were distributed equally, the next two slope
factor loadings were fixed at 1 and 2 respectively.
An alternative subgroup perspective (Lanza and Rhoades
2013) was also used for the evaluation of the intervention
efficacy. Therefore, in order to apply the person-oriented ap-
proach to the data in the control and the intervention settings,
the latent class growth analysis (Muthén and Muthén 2000)
was conducted simultaneously in the intervention and the con-
trol groups for all the Five Cs.
As the Five Cs were measured with a complex scale
(PYDI; Arnold et al. 2012), we calculated the factor scores
prior to analysis, and, following the recommendations by
Yang et al. (2009), used them for the subsequent latent growth
modeling. As the participants of the intervention and the con-
trol groups were nested into classes, to ensure the correctness
of the effect sizes calculation (Kelley and Preacher 2012), the
analysis was performed by applying the complex data ap-
proach. Based on this approach, the standard errors are com-
puted taking into account complex sampling features
(Asparouhov and Muthen 2006).
All growth and latent class analyses were conducted in
Mplus 7.31 (Muthén and Muthén 19982012). As data were
missing mostly due to attrition, it was considered as Missing at
Random (Graham et al. 2003). Therefore, no data imputation
was applied. Full information maximum likelihood (FIML)
estimator was used in all analysis as a method for taking into
account the missing data (Enders 2010).
Effect sizes are seen as an informative and comparable way
to give a quantitative reflection of the phenome-
non change magnitude (Kelley and Preacher 2012).
Followting the recommendation by Durlak (2009), in our
study, the effect sizes with confidence intervals (Thompson
2002) were calculated independently of the statistical signifi-
cance of the change in both the intervention and the control
groups. The correct effect size calculation in the growth-
modeling analysis was applied (Feingold 2009). Therefore,
the difference between the estimated means of the intervention
and the control groups at the final time-point (follow-up) di-
vided by the pooled baseline (pre-test) standard deviation was
calculated to obtain between-group effects. Within-group ef-
fects were computed by subtracting the estimated means at
pre-test from the estimated means at follow-up and dividing
the difference by the standard deviation at pre-test (Lipsey and
Wilson 2001). The bias-corrected estimates of the effect size
(d
unb
; see Fritz et al. (2012) for exact formula) are provided.
Results
Mean Differences at the Baseline
The t-tests were used to compare the mean factor scores of the
Five Cs in the intervention and the control groups at the pre-
test (see Table 2). The data revealed no significant differences
for either of the Five Cs; thus, the two groups were found
suitable for the quasi-experimental comparison. As the
person-oriented approach was applied to the data, and the
participants were classified depending on the growth pattern,
we also compared the baseline mean factor scores of the Five
Cs for the most numerous classes (the ones that included big-
gest number of participants, compared to other classes) of the
intervention and the control samples (see Table 3). The results
indicated no significant baseline mean differences in the most
numerous classes. Therefore, we used the most numerous
classes for the intervention-control comparison in order to
calculate the intervention effects.
Mean Change Trajectories and Effects
Latent growth modeling analysis was conducted simulta-
neously in the intervention and the control groups to investi-
gate the shape of growth trajectories. As the data included
three measures, the linear growth trajectories were tested for
all the Five Cs of PYD. The Model Fit Indices of the growth
trajectories (see Table 4) confirmed the linear shape of growth
for all the Five Cs in both groups. None of the slopes were
found significant; consequently, all growth trajectories were
considered stable (see Fig. 1). Therefore, the results based on
the growth of mean factor scores indicate that there was no
change observed in the intervention and the control group
over the selected period. However, all variances of intercept
in both groups and some variances of slope in the intervention
group were found significant, indicating possible within-
group change differences. Therefore, the results revealed that
Curr Psychol
latent class subgroup analysis was meaningful in both the
intervention and the control groups.
Effect sizes were calculated in order to test for the between-
group and within-group time effects on the mean change.
Most effect sizes appeared to be below .1 (see Table 4), indi-
cating very small between-group and within-group mean ef-
fects of the intervention. A more noticeable between-group
mean effect was found for Competence and Confidence.
However, the effect sizes were still below.2, indicating a small
mean change.
Latent Classes of the Change Trajectories
and the Subgroup Effects
The latent class growth analysis was conducted for all the Five
Cs of positive youth development in intervention and control
groups. The class solution was chosen based on the Akaike
Coefficient (AIC), the sample-size adjusted Bayesian coeffi-
cient (BIC), and Entropy. The latent class analysis revealed
that the best fitting class solutions could be characterized in
terms of having the most numerous classes which in the
intervention group comprises between 78 and 97% of the total
sample, and in the control group between 84 and 97% of the
total sample. As the most numerous classes cover a signifi-
cantly large proportion of the total sample, they were used for
the subgroup efficacy analysis of the intervention.
Competence The two-classes solution appeared to be most
appropriate in both the intervention and the control groups
for Competence (see Table 5). Competence increased signifi-
cantly in the most numerous class (97%) of the intervention
group and decreased significantly in the most numerous class
(90%) of the control group with large between-group effect
size. Thus, the results indicated that intervention is effective in
fostering Competence. Competence growth trajectories for the
most numerous classes and the rest of the samples are shown
in Fig. 2.
Confidence The subgroup analysis revealed that the two-
classes solution was the most fitting in both the intervention
and the control groups for Confidence (see Table 5).
Confidenceincreased significantly in the most numerous class
Table 3 Mean differences of the
factor scores for the Five Cs of
PYD at the baseline in the most
numerous classes
The Five Cs Intervention group Control group Difference
Mean SD Mean SD F p(F) t p(t)
Competence
N
i
=339;N
c
=237
.009 .17 .019 .18 .12 .73 .64 .52
Confidence
N
i
=324;N
c
=216
.005 .23 .053 .22 .50 .48 2.40 .06
Connection
N
i
=339;N
c
=256
.027 .38 .043 .36 .04 .84 2.26 .05
Character
N
i
=275;N
c
=227
.081 .27 .013 .30 3.62 .05 2.67 .06
Caring
N
i
=333;N
c
=264
.029 .33 .015 .33 .77 .38 1.60 .11
Note. iintervention group,ccontrol group, SD standard deviation, Fthe coefficient of Levenes test for equality of
variances, tthe coefficient of the t-test for equality of means
Table 2 Total sample mean
differences of the factor scores for
the Five Cs of PYD at the baseline
The Five Cs Intervention group Control group Difference
N=351 N=264
Mean SD Mean SD F p(F) t p(t)
Competence .003 .18 .003 .20 .93 .34 .41 .68
Confidence .002 .23 .003 .25 .98 .32 .25 .80
Connection .009 .38 .013 .41 1.01 .32 .67 .50
Character .013 .30 .024 .31 .64 .43 1.46 .15
Caring .010 .33 .015 .33 .22 .64 .907 .37
Note.SD standard deviation, Fthe coefficient of Levenes test for equality of variances, tthe coefficient of the
t-test for equality of means
Curr Psychol
(97%) of the intervention group and decreased significantly in
the most numerous class (84%) of the control group with large
between-group effect size. Thus, the results indicated that
intervention is effective in fostering Confidence. Confidence
growth trajectories for the most numerous classes and the rest
of the samples are shown in Fig. 3.
-0.1
-0.05
0
0.05
0.1
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
COMPETENCE
Inervention/stable Control/stable
-0.1
-0.05
0
0.05
0.1
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
CONFIDENCE
Inervention/stable Control/stable
-0.1
-0.05
0
0.05
0.1
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
CONNECTION
Inervention/stable Control/stable
-0.1
-0.05
0
0.05
0.1
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
CHARACTER
Inervention/stable Control/stable
-0.1
-0.05
0
0.05
0.1
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
CARING
Inervention/stable Control/stable
Fig. 1 The growth trajectories of the factor scores estimated means for the
Five Cs of PYD in the intervention (n= 351) and the control groups (n=
264). Note. Total intervention and control group samples were used for
the estimation of trajectories. Pre-test, post-test, and follow-up measures
were 4 months apart each. The indication of stability is based on p statis-
tics of the mean growth
Table 4 Fit indices, estimates, and the effect sizes of the growth trajectories in the total sample
Model Fit Indices Growth factors Effect sizes
χ
2
p(χ
2
) CFI TLI RMSEA [90% CI] MIVIMSVSd
unb
[90% CI]
Competence .10 [.06; .26]
a
Intervention .024 .876 1.000 1.013 .000 [.000; .072] .003 .029*** .005 .006*** .06 [.06; .21]
b
Control .052 .869 1.000 1.022 .000 [.000; .100] .003 .022*** .006 .000 .08 [.25; .09]
b
Confidence .14 [.02; .30]
a
Intervention .418 .517 1.000 1.010 .000 [.000; .121] .001 .047*** .006 .007** .05 [.09; .20]
b
Control .098 .754 1.000 1.054 .000 [.000; .112] .001 .036*** .008 .001 .08 [.25; .09]
b
Connection .07 [.09; .23]
a
Intervention .062 .803 1.000 1.009 .000 [.000; .089] .007 .096*** .008 .001 .05 [.10; .20]
b
Control .185 .667 1.000 1.028 .000 [.000; .124] .004 .074*** .008 .012 .05 [.23; .11]
b
Character .07 [.09; .23]
a
Intervention .253 .615 1.000 1.004 .000 [.000; .112] .012 .072*** .009 .012** .07 [.08; .21]
b
Control .405 .524 1.000 1.013 .000 [.000; .139] .016 .065*** .014 .008 .11 [.28; .06]
b
Caring .04 [.11; .20]
a
Intervention .100 .751 1.000 1.011 .000 [.000; .097] .010 .080*** .007 .008 .05 [.10; .20]
b
Control .010 .921 1.000 1.025 .000 [.000; .059] .008 .065*** .008 .006 .06 [.23; .11]
b
Note. Intervention group (n= 272), Control group (n=266)
χ
2
Chi-Square, CFI Comparative Fit Index, TLI Tucker Lewis Index, RMSEA Root Mean Square Error of Approximation, Mmean, Vvariance, I
intercept, Sslope, CI confidence interval
*** p< .001; ** p<.01
a
between-group
b
within-group
Curr Psychol
Connection The results indicated that the two-classes solution
was the most fitting in both the intervention and the control
groups for Connection (see Table 5). Connection increased
significantly in the most numerous class (97%) of the inter-
vention group with moderate within-group effect size. No
change was observed in the most numerous class (97%) of
the control group. However, the between-group effect size
was found very small. Therefore, only the within-group time
intervention effect on Connection was identified from these
results. Connection growth trajectories for the most numerous
classes and the rest of the samples are shown in Fig. 4.
Character The subgroup analysis revealed that in the case of
Character the three-classes solution was the most fitting in the
intervention group, and the two-class solution in the control
group (see Table 5). No change of Character was observed in
the most numerous class (79%) of the intervention group.
However, Character decreased significantly in the most numer-
ous class (87%) of the control group with moderate between-
group effect size. The intervention was shown to have some
effect in protecting against the decrease of Character.
A significant increase of Character was also observed in a
subgroup (18%) of the intervention sample (see Fig. 5).
Table 5 Fit indices, estimates, and the effect sizes of the growth trajectories in the most numerous classes
Classes solution fit indices Growth factors for the most numerous class Effect sizes
nΔAIC ΔBIC ENT MIVIMSd
unb
[90% CI]
Competence .54 [.37; .71]
a
Intervention (N= 339) 2 23 21 .897 .009 .027*** .016** .20 [.05; .35]
b
Control (N= 237) 2 20 19 .823 .021 .020*** .019*** .27 [.45; .09]
b
Confidence .61 [.44; .79]
a
Intervention (N= 341) 2 13 12 .939 .009 .041*** .016*** .16 [.01; .31]
b
Control (N=216) 2 8 6 .691 .051 .024*** .019* .25 [.44; .06]
b
Connection .06 [.10; .22]
a
Intervention (N= 275) 2 16 14 .927 .025 .099*** .027*** .17 [.02; .32]
b
Control (N= 227) 2 10 8 .958 .032 .066*** .010 .08 [.25; .10]
b
Character .14 [.03; .32]
a
Intervention (N= 339) 3 14 13 .721 .078 .052*** .013 .11 [.05; .28]
b
Control (N=256) 2 2 1 .700 .012 .044*** .036* .34 [.53; .16]
b
Caring .09 [.07; .25]
a
Intervention (N=333) 2 11 9 .830 .031 .080*** .032*** .16 [.01; .31]
b
Control (N = 264) 1 –––.008 .059*** .007 .00 [.17; .17]
b
Note.nnumber of classes, ΔAIC the difference of Akaike coefficient in (n-1)-n classes, ΔBIC the difference of sample-size adjusted Bayesian coefficient
in (n-1)-n classes, Mmean, Vvariance, Iintercept, Sslope, CI confidence interval
*** p< .001; ** p<.01;*p<.05
a
between-group
b
within-group
-0.1
-0.05
0
0.05
0.1
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
COMPETENCE SUBGROUP
Intervention/increasing (97%)
Control/decreasing (90%)
-0.5
-0.25
0
0.25
0.5
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
Intervention/decreasing (3%)
Control/increasing (10%)
b
a
Fig. 2 The latent class growth trajectories of the factor scores estimated
means for Competence in the intervention (n= 351) and the control
groups (n=264): amost numerous classes; bthe rest of the samples.
Note. Percentages in the legend indicate the proportion of the sample in
a current class. Different scales are used in diagrams a. and b.; the
magnitudeofgrowthshouldbecomparedonlywithineachpart
Curr Psychol
However, a similar growth appeared to be characteristic for the
subgroup (13%) of the control sample. The two subgroup
growth trajectories in the intervention and the control samples
are also similar in terms of a higher intercept. Therefore, the
observed growth in the subgroup of the intervention sample
(18%) is unlikely due to the impact of the intervention program.
Caring The results indicated that the two-classes solution was
the most fitting in the intervention group for Caring (see
Tab le 5). In the control group, the single class solution was
most suitable. Caring increased significantly in the most nu-
merous class (95%) of the intervention group with moderate
within-group effect size. No change of Caring was observed in
the control group (100%). However, between-group effect
size was found small. Therefore, only the within-group time
intervention effect on Caring was indicated. Caring growth
trajectories for the most numerous class of the intervention
group and the rest of the samples are shown in Fig. 6.
Discussion
The aim of the current study was to evaluate the efficacy of the
school-based positive youth development intervention
program Try Volunteering on the Five Cs of positive youth
development (PYD) at the 4-months follow-up after program
delivery. Overall, we found between-group program effects on
competence, confidence and character and within-group ef-
fects on all the Five Cs.
The mean growth results obtained by applying growth
modeling on the whole intervention and control samples re-
vealed no changes in Competence, Confidence, Connection,
Character, and Caring in both groups. These results are in line
with the results of other studies that also used the Five Cs for
the evaluation of program outcomes (e.g., White 2009; Lerner
and Lerner 2013). However, when we applied the person-
oriented approach and conducted the subgroup analysis, some
intervention effects were found on all of the Five Cs.
The most numerous classes of the intervention and the
control groups were used for further evaluation of intervention
efficacy. Having applied the subgroup approach to the data,
we found that the most numerous classes in the intervention
and the control groups comprised high proportions of the total
samples. Thus, the intervention effects were calculated using
substantially large subgroups, excluding only a small number
of participants who in most cases represented opposite and/or
very steep and/or high/low intercept changing trajectories
compared to the most numerous groups which were similar
-0.1
-0.05
0
0.05
0.1
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
CONFIDENCE SUBGROUP
Intervention/stable (97%)
Control/decreasing (84%)
-0.4
-0.2
0
0.2
0.4
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
Intervention/high decreasing (3%)
Control/high increasing (16%)
ab
Fig. 3 The latent class growth trajectories of the factor scores estimated
means for Confidence in the intervention (n = 351) and the control groups
(n = 264): athe most numerous classes; bthe rest of the samples. Note.
Percentages in the legend indicate the proportion of the sample in a
current class. Different scales are used in diagrams a. and b.; the
magnitudeofgrowthshouldbecomparedonlywithineachpart
-0.1
-0.05
0
0.05
0.1
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
CONNECTION SUBGROUP
Intervention/increasing (97%)
Control/stable (97%)
-1.2
-0.6
0
0.6
1.2
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
Intervention/high decreasing (3%)
Control/low stable (3%)
ab
Fig. 4 The latent class growth trajectories of the factor scores estimated
means for Connection in the intervention (n = 351) and the control groups
(n = 264): athe most numerous classes; bthe rest of the samples. Note.
Percentages in the legend indicate the proportion of the sample in a
current class. Different scales are used in diagrams a. and b.; the
magnitudeofgrowthshouldbecomparedonlywithineachpart
Curr Psychol
to mean growth trajectories in terms of intercepts located
around middle scores and relatively flat growth.
Was the Intervention Capable of Fostering the Five Cs
of PYD and at what Magnitude?
The results of the current study revealed that the short-term
school-based PYD intervention program Try Volunteering is
effective in fostering Competence at the within-group and
between-group levels. The overall intervention effect on
Confidence was relatively large. These results confirm previ-
ous findings summarized by Catalano et al. (2004) and sug-
gest that the relatively short intervention program, based on
the PYD framework, could have a significant positive impact
on social-emotional, cognitive, academic, and vocational
competencies.
Our study indicates that the current PYD program is
successful in fostering Confidence with positive within-
group and between-group effects. The overall program
effect on Confidence was relatively large. The results
supported the findings from Pajares and Urdan (2006)
and McLaughlin (2000), indicating that participation in
the PYD intervention may have a positive influence on
general self-efficacy and self-esteem. As self-esteem de-
velops throughout the lifespan (Robins and Trzesniewski
2005), the results of our study suggest that positive
contextual influences during the critical developmental
periods, such as adolescence (Dahl 2004), may boost
it. Adolescents may benefit from this boost in a longer
perspective, because, as found by Orth et al. (2012), an
increase of self-esteem may have the desirable long-term
effects on affectivity, depression, relationships and job
satisfaction as well as general health.
Not only program participants benefited from the program
participation in terms of increase in Competence and
Confidence, but also non-participants suffered from the de-
crease of it. It could be explained by the fact that as the aca-
demic year progresses, work-load and, in turn, the stress level
increases. Stress and burnout make general performance
poorer and induces negative self-evaluations (e.g., Schaufeli
et al. 1993). Therefore, the current program seems to work not
only as a promoting but also as a protective factor and may
-0.1
-0.05
0
0.05
0.1
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
CARING SUBGROUP
Intervention/increasing (95%)
Control/stable (100%)
-0.4
-0.2
0
0.2
0.4
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
Intervention/high decreasing (5%)
ab
Fig. 6 The latent class growth trajectories of the factor scores estimated
means for Caring in the intervention (n = 351) and the control groups
(n = 264): athe most numerous classes; bthe rest of the samples. Note.
Percentages in the legend indicate the proportion of the sample in current
class. Different scales are used in diagrams a. and b.; the magnitude of
growth should be compared only within each part
-0.1
-0.05
0
0.05
0.1
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
CHARACTER SUBGROUP
Intervention/stable (79%)
Control/decreasing (87%)
-0.5
-0.25
0
0.25
0.5
Pre-test Post-test Follow-up
Intervention/high increasing (18%)
Intervention/high decreasing (3%)
Control/high increasing (13%)
ab
Fig. 5 The latent class growth trajectories of the factor scores estimated
means for Character in the intervention (n= 351) and the control groups
(n = 264): athe most numerous classes; bthe rest of the samples. Note.
Percentages in the legend indicate the proportion of the sample in current
class. Different scales are used in diagrams a. and b.; the magnitude of
growth should be compared only within each part
Curr Psychol
reduce possible effects of school-related stress. However, this
idea should be further explored in future research.
We found the within-group time effect of the Try
Volunteering program on the Connection. The Connection
tended to stay stable throughout the academic year in the con-
trol condition and increased significantly in the intervention
group. However, the between-group effect in non-significant
and within-group time effect is relatively small. The interven-
tion program addressed mainly the relationships with peers and
program leaders when the Connection factor also includes the
relationships with parents/guardians and teachers. Therefore,
our results support the idea that in order to foster improved
relationships in broader contexts, the intervention program
should cover more social domains (Catalano et al. 2004).
These results are in line with identity theory, indicating the
possible differences in role identities in different relationships
that, most probably, could be changed only by direct influence.
Also, the significant, but relatively small program effect on
Connection support the idea that relationships development
takes time (Roth and Brooks-Gunn 2003). On the one hand,
the delivered intervention was relatively short (8 meetings), on
the other hand, the change of relationships may take a while,
and further assessments would be reasonable in order to test if
the long-term effect on Connection appears with time.
The results of present study revealed that the current PYD
intervention program is effective in maintaining Character and
works as a protective factor against the decrease of it. We found
that Character decreased during the academic year in the con-
trol group and remained stable in the intervention group.
However, the program effect on Character was relatively small.
The noticeable decrease in morality and integrity in the control
group could be explained by the negative peer and contextual
influence (Caravita et al. 2014). We believe, exactly changing
the context helped to maintain the Character in the intervention
group. The program participants had an opportunity to develop
social-emotional competencies, to improve relationships with
peers as well as to foster empathy. All thes influences affect
treatment of others, which shapes the morality in general
(Killen and Smetana 2015). We also believe that program
leaders may have become older peer models for the program
participants. Therefore, our findings support the idea of
Kirschenbaum (1995) and expand the findings of Van
Goethem et al. (2014), suggesting that older peers could influ-
ence the morality of adolescents in a positive way. In addition,
the relatively small effect sizes of the within-group and
between-group effects on Character support the idea that in
adolescence morality development in general, and moral atti-
tudes, in particular, depend not only on personal relationships
with others but also on implicit theories that are difficult to
change (Van IJzendoorn 1997). We also found an interesting
Character increase tendency in the higher intercept classes both
in intervention and control groups. These results suggest that
the morality and integrity of already highly moral adolescents
tend to increase even more during the academic year, regardless
the contextual changes. However, due to the small numbers of
participants in these subgroups, further investigation of the
findings is needed for more appropriate interpretation.
In our study, we found the within-group time effect of the
PYD program Try Volunteering on Caring. The effect size for
this increase was relatively small. Our results confirmed the
findings by Castillo et al. (2013), suggesting that the increase
in empathy with emotional skill training could be achieved,
however, the magnitude of this change is rather modest. The
small within-group effect size and no change at all in the
control group also support the previous findings by
Vo l b r e c h t e t a l . ( 2007) and Van der Graaff et al. (2014), sug-
gesting that the development of empathy depends more on
brain development and early experiences than on the contex-
tual changes.
Strengths and Limitations
Our study should be considered in light of its strengths and
limitations. Among the strengths are applying the theoretical
PYD approach in the phase of program development, delivery,
and evaluation; the quasi-experimental study design with more
than two measures in testing the efficacy of the current pro-
gram; and use of advanced statistical analysis. The subgroup
effects evaluation, addressing the person-oriented approach,
and the effect sizes calculated for growth and subgroup trajec-
tories, ensuring the correct estimation of program effects.
Among the limitations is using self-report measures for the
evaluation of positive youth development. We believe, addi-
tional parents/guardians and/or teachers reports could be very
much informative for a better understanding of program re-
sults. The other limitation is testing relatively short-term pro-
gram effects, as the last evaluation took place only in four
months after program delivery. Thus, further assessments are
needed in order to test, whether the current program is effec-
tive in a long-term perspective. It is possible that additional
effects would appear, as the development is time-sensitive and
positive influences could stimulate the emergence of positive
developmental cascades (Lewin-Bizan et al. 2010). It should
also be tested, whether fostering the Five Cs of PYD leads to a
decrease of negative outcomes as well as an increase of con-
tribution to self, family, and community, as suggested in the
relational developmental system model of the individual
context relations (Lerner et al. 2005). In addition, the media-
tion modeling should be applied in order to extend our find-
ings from stating that change did happen to the investigation
of the change mechanisms. Finally, we have to note that the
current program was implemented in a single community (one
school). Thus, in future research, it is necessary to focus on the
extent to which this program might be extended to different
real-world conditions. Further actions should lead to adopting
strategies that enable schools to implement the intervention
Curr Psychol
without a substantial involvement of researchers. Therefore,
for now, we can only indicate that the programs efficacy
results are promising; however, the program effectiveness
evaluation is necessary in order to confirm that program re-
peatedly works and in different settings (Eisner 2009). For the
future research, we also suggest using the Mixed Method
Design (Palinkas et al., 2015) approach that, we believe,
would enrich the quantitative results with insights deriving
from qualitative data.
Conclusion
The results of the current study indicate that changing the
context in the way of implementing the PYD-framework-
based intervention program is meaningful and makes the dif-
ference when seeking to foster healthy and positive adoles-
centsdevelopment. We believe, integrating evidence-based
positive youth development programs, such as the current
PYD program, into a schoolscurriculum could be a helpful
and logical step to take for schools seeking to accomplish their
extended mission of contributing to youths thriving and well-
being.
Funding This research was funded by the European Social Fund under
the Global Grant measure, grant number VP13.1-ŠMM-07-K-02-008.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest The authors declare that they have no conflict of
interest.
Ethical Approval All procedures performed in studies involving human
participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institu-
tional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki
declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed Consent Informed consent was obtained from all individual
participants included in the study.
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... 38 Although the 5Cs model of PYD had been extensively discussed in the literature, this model was rarely adopted as objectives and measured outcomes of the existing PYD intervention programs. 39 The most commonly measured outcomes of PYD programs included the changes in community contribution and reduction in problem behaviors. 26 The majority of programs focused on single or few indicators of 5Cs, such as promoting competences in different domains, facilitating bonding and developing confidence. ...
... Only the Try Volunteering program was defined as a quality PYD intervention. 39 Catalano's 15 PYD constructs Catalano and his colleagues proposed an operational definition of PYD based on literature review and consultation with leading researchers, planning colleagues and evaluation staff of PYD programs. 43 This definition introduces 15 developmental constructs as indicators of PYD, including bonding, resilience, social competence, emotional competence, cognitive competence, behavioral competence, moral competence, self-determination, spirituality, selfefficacy, clear and positive identity, belief in the future, recognition for positive behavior, opportunities for prosocial involvement and fostering prosocial norms. ...
Article
Full-text available
This review outlines the current perspectives on positive youth development (PYD). Besides presenting the diverse theoretical roots contributing to PYD approaches, this review also introduces several PYD perspectives, including Benson's 40 developmental assets, Lerner's 5Cs and 6Cs conceptions, Catalano's 15 PYD constructs, social-emotional learning (SEL) and the "being" perspective (character and spirituality). A comparison of the different PYD models in terms of theoretical orientation, the role of community, spirituality, character/morality, thriving, "being" versus "doing" and origin is also presented. The review suggests three future research directions, including the development of spirituality and character approaches to PYD, differentiating the role of "being" versus "doing" in PYD and construction of PYD models as well as conducting related research in non-Western contexts.
... On a positive side, there is evidence that PYDinformed programs successfully promote PYD related outcomes (see Eichas, Montgomery, Meca, Garcia, & Garcia, 2021;Ginner Hau, Ferrer-Wreder, & Westling Allodi, 2021;Kozina, 2021;Ferrer-Wreder et al., 2021;Larsen & Holsen, 2021 in this volume) in addition to intentional self-regulation (Mueller et al., 2011), positive identity (Eichas, Ferrer-Wreder, & Olsson, 2019), self-efficacy, resilience, and spirituality (Shek & Sun, 2010). Thus, it remains unclear whether PYD interventions actually contribute to the development of psychological, behavioral, and social characteristics of person-context relations as described in the 5Cs model (Shek, Dou, Zhu, & Chai, 2019;Truskauskaitė-Kunevičienė, Romera, Ortega-Ruiz, & Žukauskienė, 2020). ...
... To encourage positive relationships with adults, we selected program leaders who had positive attitudes towards youth. The training of program leaders brought special attention to the recognition of adolescents as a resource, recognizing that everyone matters and has strengths and potential (for more details see Truskauskaitė-Kunevičienė et al., 2020). ...
Chapter
This chapter explores the different pathways of the 5Cs model of Positive Youth Development (PYD) represented by competence, confidence, character, connection, and caring among adolescents in Lithuania. We present a longitudinal four-wave study with a community sample (N = 458, M age = 15.14, SD = .48 at T1, 52% females) and a quasi-experimental four-time point intervention study using the Try Volunteering program (N = 605, M age = 15.26, SD = .67 at pre-test, 43% females) in a school setting. In the first study with a community sample, high, medium, low developmental trajectories of PYD were distinguished and the change of the 5Cs over time was explored. In the second study, investigation of the 5Cs focused intervention revealed that the intervention program Try Volunteering shifted the developmental trajectories of all 5Cs towards positive development. The findings have relevant implications for PYD interventions to promote thriving in adolescence and practical evidence-based tools for fostering positive youth development in Lithuania.
... The model assumes that all 5Cs of competence (academic, social, vocational skills), confidence (sense of mastery, positive identity, and self-worth), character (integrity, moral commitment, and personal values), connection (healthy relation to community, friends, family, and school) and caring (empathy and sympathy) have the potential to optimize developmental growth and well-being. The 5Cs model has been applied and adopted in a wide range of crosssectional and longitudinal study designs primarily in the United States (Bowers et al., 2010;Dvorsky et al., 2019;Geldhof et al., 2014;Shek, Dou, Zhu, & Chai, 2019) with emerging global focus (Abdul Kadir et al. this volume; Dimitrova et al. this volume; Fernandes et al. this volume; Manrique-Millones, Pineda Marin, Millones-Rivalles, & Dimitrova, et al., this volume) and across various countries in Europe (Årdal, Holsen, Diseth, & Larsen, 2018;Conway, Heary, & Hogan, 2015;Dimitrova et al., this volume;Kozina, Wiium, Gonzalez, & Dimitrova, 2019;Truskauskaitė-Kunevičienė, Romera, Ortega-Ruiz, & Žukauskienė, 2020), Africa (Kabir & Wiium, this volume;Wiium, Ferrer-Wreder, Chen, & Dimitrova, 2019) and Asia (Chen, Wiium, & Dimitrova, 2018;Li, He, & Chen, this volume). Yet, much research is still needed in Southern areas of Europe such as Spain, a largely neglected context in PYD work (Paricio, Herrera, Rodrigo, & Viguer, 2020). ...
Chapter
This chapter addresses relevant calls for more PYD based research among emerging adults in Southern Europe and related psychological adjustment mechanisms during this life stage. In so doing, the chapter applies the 5Cs model of PYD (connection, competence, confidence, character and caring) to examine meaningful relations with subjective happiness and the mediating role of gratitude and optimism among emerging adults in Spain. The chapter presents an empirical example of a cross-sectional study with 768 emerging adults from Andalusia, Southern Spain who completed measures on the 5Cs, subjective happiness, gratitude and optimism. The main findings indicate that gratitude and optimism were partial mediators of the relation between the 5Cs of PYD and subjective happiness. When young people experience high levels of the 5Cs, they show more happiness through a positive effect on gratitude and optimism. The chapter suggests that subjective happiness of emerging adults in Spain may be a function of the joint influence of both the 5Cs of PYD and character strengths, such as gratitude and optimism.
... PYD has been associated with reduced intensity of maladaptive mental health outcomes (e.g., depression and anxiety) and risk-taking behaviours (e.g., aggression and delinquency; Benson et al., 2011;Geldhof, Bowers, Boyd et al., 2014;Holsen et al., 2017;Zhu & Shek, 2020). PYD has also been linked to higher levels of adaptive outcomes, such as life satisfaction (Holsen et al., 2017;Shek & Chai, 2020;Zhu & Shek, 2020) and volunteerism (Truskauskaitė-Kunevičienė et al., 2020), as well as helping and leadership (Geldhof, Bowers, Mueller et al., 2014). Further, there is evidence supporting the relations between PYD and favourable school-related consequences such as academic achievement (Benson et al., 2011;Scales et al., 2006), academic satisfaction (Shek & Chai, 2020), and school empowerment (Holsen et al., 2017). ...
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There is a recognition about the mental health, educational, and career-related benefits of positive youth development (PYD) in children and youth. This brief review provides an overview of the current application of PYD in school settings. We begin by summarising the common conceptualisations of PYD along with similar and distinct features in such models. Then, we discuss the current status of PYD research and highlight the academic and psychological payoffs of PYD-oriented programs in schools. Importantly, this review elaborates future directions and practical implications for PYD researchers and practitioners in school contexts.
... Initially the model comprised 4Cs of competence (literacy, employment skills, ability to contribute), connection (caring human relationships, mentoring, tutoring, counseling), character (values of responsibility, honesty, equity) and confidence (self-esteem and hope) (Pittman, Irby, & Ferber, 2000) supplemented by the 5C of caring (empathy and sympathy) (Lerner, 1995) and the 6C of contribution signifying the need for young people to engage with their communities and the society (Pittman et al., 2000). The 5Cs/6Cs model has been validated using SEM and longitudinal designs on large national samples of young people primarily in the United States (Dvorsky et al., 2019;Geldhof et al., 2014;Shek, Dou, Zhu, & Chai, 2019) with emerging research in Europe (Årdal, Holsen, Diseth, & Larsen, 2018;Conway, Heary, & Hogan, 2015;Dimitrova et al., this volume;Dimitrova, Sam, & Ferrer-Wreder, 2021;Erentaitė & Raižienė, 2015;Holsen, Geldhof, Larsen, & Aardal, 2017;Kaniušonytė & Truskauskaitė-Kunevičienė, this volume;Kozina, Wiium, Gonzalez, & Dimitrova, 2019;Truskauskaitė-Kunevičienė, Romera, Ortega-Ruiz, & Žukauskienė, 2020), Africa (Kabir & Wiium, this volume;Wiium, Ferrer-Wreder, Chen, & Dimitrova, 2019), Asia (Chai et al., 2020;Li, He, & Chen, this volume;Ye, Wen, Wang, & Lin, 2020), Latin America (Dominguez, Wiium, Jackman, & Ferrer-Wreder, this volume; Manrique-Millones, Pineda Marin, Millones-Rivalles, & Dimitrova, this volume), New Zealand (Fernandes, Fetvadjev, Wiium, & Dimitrova, this volume) and the Caribbean (Hull, Ferguson, Fagan, & Brown, this volume;Hull, Powell, Fagan, Hobbs, & Williams, 2020). ...
Chapter
The present chapter advances PYD scholarship by introducing a newly developed 7Cs model of PYD among youth and emerging adults in three Asian LAMICs (Low-And Middle-income Countries) such as India (n = 218), Indonesia (n = 234), and Pakistan (n = 400). The 7Cs model expands on the 6C indicators of PYD (competence, confidence, character, caring, connection and contribution) to include creativity conceived as a novel and adaptive, problem-solving ability meaningful within social and cultural contexts. The chapter provides solid evidence for (a) the reliability and effectiveness of the 7Cs model in terms of measurement invariance (psychometrically reliable measurement across different populations), utility (appropriate use of measures), universality (applicability to various populations) and (b) structural relations between the 7Cs and the developmental assets models that jointly promote thriving of young people. In conclusion, the 7Cs model has the potential to move forward a PYD priority in research, policy and practice agenda. With this priority in mind, the chapter offers unique conceptual and methodological contributions to the PYD field with relevant applications in international, cross-cultural, developmental, community psychology, and applied developmental science.
... It then becomes pertinent to foster initiatives that bridge this gap (via both preventive and remedial mechanisms), in resource efficient as well as sustainable ways. The present study is rooted in the idea that while today's youth are faced with formidable concerns, schools have the potential to equip them with healthy coping skills, socio-emotional prowess, and set them on the path of long-term health (Tran et al., 2014). Further, research suggests the potential benefits of stress management training (e.g., Alborzkouh et al. 2015;Anand & Sharma, 2011;Nair & Meera, 2014;Rashedi et al., 2020) and gratitude journaling (e.g., Isik &Ergüner-Tekinalp, 2017; Shi & Zhu, 2008) for improved outcomes among students from varied backgrounds. ...
Article
Full-text available
Stress and allied difficulties are pervasive among school students in present times. This concern is further magnified in the Indian context with the large represention of young people in the population and limited resources to match. The present study aimed to evaluate the impact of a classroom based stress management training and gratitude journaling intervention (Flinchbaugh et al., 2012) among Indian adolescents. The intervention curriculum was adapted to suit the study context. A total of 238 students (57% males) from Grades 7–9 participated in this study. Participants were recruited from two schools, and their age ranged from 11 to 14 years. In each participating school, students were randomised at the classroom level into three intervention groups (Stress Management Training, Gratitude Journaling, combination of both), and one control group. Using a pre-test – post-test design, intervention impact on measures of well-being, life satisfaction, perceived stress, meaning, and engagement in the classroom was evaluated. Results suggested limited effectiveness of stress management training and gratitude journaling among participants in the present context. Plausible explanations for these findings are discussed. The study emphasizes the need for customised interventions to obtain optimal outcomes among diverse populations.
Article
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The advent of the 21st Century brought a new interest in promoting Positive Youth Development and a renewed emphasis on understanding transactional relations between parenting and adolescent development. The present study examined conventional parent-driven pathways, which describe the putative role of parents in the formation of positive characteristics in children, as well as the prospect of child-driven effects, which describe how parents respond to evidence of Positive Youth Development by potentially increasing support and reducing psychological control. We tested these pathways in a sample of 458 Lithuanian adolescents (52.2% girls; M = 15.14 years old at the outset) who completed surveys assaying perceptions of parent behaviors and self-reports of positive development (character, competence, connection, caring, and confidence) at annual intervals from ages 15–18. Across most lags, children’s perceptions of parenting changed in response to their own positive development with increased support and decreased psychological control. In contrast, there were no longitudinal associations from perceptions of parenting to subsequent Positive Youth Development. The results offer insight into parenting in the 21st Century, a time when youth are increasingly encouraged/required to acquire volunteer experiences designed to promote positive development. To the extent that these experiences are successful, one unexpected offshoot may be better relationships with parents.
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The county 4-H fair is a way for 4-H youth to showcase their project work and receive recognition for their efforts, but it can also provide important opportunities for positive youth development. The study reported here sought to determine motivation for participating in county fair and the impact of fair on development outcomes. Results revealed that "having fun" was the biggest participation motivator. There were few significant differences in motivation for fair participation that were found between youth who participated in the market animal projects and those who did not. Analysis revealed that fair participation contributes to youth development outcomes.
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Lengthy scales or testlets pose certain challenges for structural equation modeling (SEM) if all the items are included as indicators of a latent construct. Three general approaches (parceling, latent scoring, and shortening) to modeling lengthy scales in SEM were reviewed and evaluated. A hypothetical population model was simulated containing two exogenous constructs with 14 indicators each and an endogenous construct with four indicators. The simulation generated data sets with varying numbers of response options, two types of distributions, factor loadings ranging from low to high, and sample sizes ranging from small to moderate. The population model was varied to incorporate one of the following: (1) single parcels, (2) various parcels as indicators of two exogenous constructs, (3) latent scores as observed exogenous variables, and (4) four and six of individual items as indicators of two exogenous constructs. The dependent variables evaluated were biases in the covariance and partial covariance population parameters. Biases in these parameters were found to be minimal under the following conditions: (1) when parcels of indicators of five response options were used as indicators of two latent exogenous constructs; (2) when latent scores were used as observed variables at sample sizes above 100 and with indicators that were relatively less skewed in the case of dichotomous indicators; and (3) when four or six individual items with high or diverse factor loadings were used as indicators of two exogenous constructs. These findings provided guidelines for resolving the inconsistency of findings from applying various approaches to empirical data.
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Positive development models shift focus for intervention from avoiding problems, deficits, or psychopathology to promoting skills, assets, and psychological well-being as the critical interests in development and intervention. The field can be characterized as multiple parallel lines of empirical inquiry from four frameworks: Social Competence, Social and Emotional Learning, Positive Youth Development, and Positive Psychology. This review is meant to organize understanding of implications for intervention by comparing these four frameworks along several dimensions including (1) key conceptual frameworks and constructs, (2) populations of interest, (3) measurement practices, and (4) intervention design and content implications to point out areas of overlap and distinction. Furthermore, the authors provide suggestions for the advancement beyond isolated scientific inquiry and unclear overlap and distinction, toward a more integrated approach to study and intervention design that promotes positive development. 2016
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Advances in theories of adolescent development and positive youth development have greatly increased our understanding of how programs and practices with adolescents can impede or enhance their development. In this article the authors reflect on the progress in research on youth development programs in the last two decades, since possibly the first review of empirical evaluations by Roth, Brooks-Gunn, Murray, and Foster (1998). The authors use the terms Version 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 to refer to changes in youth development research and programs over time. They argue that advances in theory and descriptive accounts of youth development programs (Version 2.0) need to be coupled with progress in definitions of youth development programs, measurement of inputs and outputs that incorporate an understanding of programs as contexts for development, and stronger design and evaluation of programs (Version 3.0). The authors also advocate for an integration of prevention and promotion research, and for use of the term youth development rather than positive youth development.
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This article summarizes a much lengthier one that appeared in Prevention and Treatment. The earlier article grew out of a project initiated by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. The Positive Youth Development Evaluation project described why policy makers, practitioners, and prevention scientists advocated a shift in approach for how youth issues are addressed in this country. The Positive Youth Development Evaluation project sought to define how youth development programs have been defined in the literature and then to locate, through a structured search, strong evaluations of these programs and summarize the outcomes of these evaluations. In the current article, we explain why prevention has shifted from a single problem focus to a focus on factors that affect both positive and problem youth development, describe what is meant by positive youth development, and summarize what we know about the effectiveness of positive youth develop...
Chapter
Morality is a central aspect of social life and has been at the core of psychological theories for more than a century. The scientific study of morality poses enduring questions about how individual psychological needs for autonomy and attachment to groups and society can be met while also ensuring the integrity, dignity, and fair treatment of others. Drawing on philosophy, biology, anthropology, and sociology, developmental scientists have addressed these questions by studying the origins and acquisition of morality as well as the sources and nature of change. We provide a brief review of the theories that provided the foundation for research over the past half-century and then reflect on the controversies and misconceptions that still exist. We review current psychological research on the developmental roots of morality, morality and mental state knowledge, and moral judgments and reasoning. We also examine the various contexts, ranging from the family and peer groups to society, in which moral development occurs. The rich and growing literature on children’s moral judgments has demonstrated that children’s concepts of harm, resource allocation, fair and equal treatment of others, social inequities, and rights each develop from a very focused and narrow form in early childhood to their application to broader situational and cultural contexts. As they grow older, children become able to weigh and coordinate competing concerns in different contexts as they apply their moral judgments and emotions to social situations. We conclude with implications and directions for research. Throughout the chapter, we demonstrate how the study of morality has shed light on fundamental topics in developmental science, contributed novel methods, and discovered new knowledge about child development.