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 Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers

26.06.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

New research reveals impact of seismic surveys on zooplankton

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Correct connections are crucial

26.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>