Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Shows How Youth Programs Foster Responsibility in Teens

09.02.2009
Youth programs that include boring or difficult tasks are more likely to develop responsibility in teenagers than those that are all fun and games, according to a study of youth programs and responsibility by a Wake Forest University psychologist. The study appears in the January/February issue of the journal Child Development.

Programs for adolescents need to be engaging, but situations that ask young people to make sacrifices and do difficult things for the good of the group are most likely to foster responsibility, said Dustin Wood, assistant professor of psychology at Wake Forest and lead author of the study.

“Some programs for young people probably focus so much on entertaining members that they shy away from the activities that are most likely to help members become more responsible,” Wood said. “Our research is a reminder that getting youth to do hard work for a purpose is a key to moving them toward becoming responsible adults.”

Reed Larson and Jane Brown at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, co-authored the study.

Wood and his colleagues surveyed 107 high school students in 11 extracurricular programs. The programs included 4-H and FFA chapters, a high school production of “Les Miserables,” a community-based youth activist group, a school-based media arts training program and a variety of other school and community groups.

Wood wanted to find out what characterizes programs that foster responsibility and determine the role that demands and expectations play in the process.

The teens were interviewed about their experiences in the program and asked how they had changed from participating in the program. The researchers also gathered information from interviews with adult leaders of the programs as well as from site observations.

About a quarter of the students reported becoming more responsible. These youth consistently mentioned performing tasks within their programs as a key to developing responsibility, Wood said.

For one student, that meant caring for a pig for an agricultural project. For another, it meant giving up time with friends to spend long hours in rehearsals. For others, it meant fulfilling the expectations of leadership positions in their group.

Volunteering for specific tasks was also an important element in the development of responsibility. When teens willingly took on tasks, they were more likely to persevere and to later indicate that they had become more responsible.

Program leaders also influenced the development of responsibility, Wood says. Youth reported becoming more responsible when leaders had high expectations for them. “Leaders who encouraged youth to take ownership over demanding tasks and roles provided conditions for youth to demonstrate that they could be depended on in meaningful situations,” he said.

In the study, Wood identified three programs with substantially higher numbers of youth reporting increases in responsibility.

“These programs had leaders who stressed youth accountability,” Wood said. “They refused to let youth off the hook if they failed to accomplish tasks they had agreed to complete. In contrast, in programs where youth did not gain responsibility, leaders sometimes finished uncompleted tasks themselves.”

Some of the findings would probably surprise a number of psychologists or youth program leaders, Wood said. “They would be surprised by the implication that a more ‘hard-nosed’ leadership style might be better suited to promoting certain developmental outcomes.”

Cheryl Walker | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.wfu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Keen Sense for Molecules

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

“Laser Technology Live” at the AKL’18 International Laser Technology Congress in Aachen

23.02.2018 | Trade Fair News

Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen

23.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>