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
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine