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Empowerment Research with Children & Adolescents Methodologies for a new era summer school School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork 24.

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Presentation on theme: "Empowerment Research with Children & Adolescents Methodologies for a new era summer school School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork 24."— Presentation transcript:

1 Empowerment Research with Children & Adolescents Methodologies for a new era summer school School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork 24 June 2011 Matt Morton Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, University of Oxford

2 Aims Conceptualize youth emp’t (frameworks & defining features) Review theory & evidence on youth emp’t Review tools & approaches to measuring emp’t process Review tools & approaches to measuring emp’t outcomes/impacts

3 Growing interest l UNCRC (Art. 12) l UK Youth Matters l African Union, Afr. Youth Charter l World Bank (World Dev’t Rep., ‘07) l Jordan, Nat’l Youth Strategy

4 CONCEPTUALIZING EMPOWERMENT

5 Defining youth emp’t "Empowerment is the expansion of assets and capabilities of young people to participate in, negotiate with, influence, control, and hold accountable institutions that affect their lives.” - used by World Bank & UNICEF

6 Model 1: Lofquist’s ‘Spectrum of Attitudes’ RecipientsObjectsResources Done to…Done for…Done with…

7 Exercise on Social Work Practice Social workers… Treated as… Objects Treated as …Recipient s Treated as… Resources/Par tners Examples Feelings/respo nses

8 Youth emp’t in context

9 Model 2: Hart’s Ladder of Children’s Participation

10 Model 3: Wong et al’s Typology of Youth & Empowerment (TYPE) Pyramid Vessel - Lack of youth voice & participation - Adults have total control Symbolic - Youth have voice - Adults have most control Pluralistic - Youth have voice and active participant role - Youth and adults share control Autonomous -Youth have voice and active participant role - Youth have total control Independent - Youth have voice and active participant role - Adults give youth most control Shared control Empowerment Adult control Youth control

11 Considerations for studying youth emp’t Emp’t is defined by process, not content Models increasingly emphasize role of adults in facilitating emp’t process Multiple degrees of participation at multiple levels of analysis l Evaluations of youth emp’t programs emphasize setting-level processes

12 Youth emp’t in cross-cultural context Beyond ‘WEIRD’ (Western, educated, industrialized, rich & democratic) societies (Henrich et al 2006) Context collectivist/individualist, hierarchical/horizontal? Roles and conceptions of youth in the cultural context? (empowered via ‘natural’ society roles) Males & females have dif’t opportunity structures? Practical impediments to youth participation (e.g., transportation, working, safety, etc.)

13 THEORY & EVIDENCE ON YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

14 Passive interventions don’t work Drug education- only (e.g., DARE) “Scared straight” Short-term/one- off interventions w/o follow-up

15 Theory Empowerment theory (Zimmerman 2000) Strengths perspective theory to social work practice (Healy, 2005) Social learning/cognitive theory (Bandura 1986) Self-determination and choice theory (Glasser 1999) Role theory (Biddle 1986)

16 Supportive evidence for youth emp’t theory Top factors related to out-of-school program participation with teens (Deschenes et al 2010) l Many leadership opportunities & Relevance of program agenda Higher program empowerment related to higher youth outcomes (Smith & Akiva 2008) Qualitative research indicating benefits for youth, programs, and communities from emp’t (Foster- Fishman et al 2005) Note: these studies do not demonstrate causality

17 Neurobiological perspectives Risk-reward seeking Ernst et al., 2006

18 Effects of youth empowerment programs (YEPs) on self-efficacy & self-esteem of adolescents (10-19) SYSTEMATIC REVIEW

19 Search results From search : 8,789 citations Included : 3 studies (including Jordan RCT) Excluded school-based : 3 studies Main reasons for exclusion : l Intvn: Lacked regular youth participation in decision- making l Study: Not experimental/quasi-experimental controlled design

20 With School-based Excluded Studies (k=6) PRIMARY SECONDARY

21 Findings Very few studies; more needed Largely null results on developmental assets More favorable results from (excluded) school- based YEP studies, but evidence v limited Research concentrated in USA

22 MEASURING PROCESS IN YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

23 Implementation considerations Staff preparation l Level and quality of training? l Clarity & understanding of Th of Chg across staff? l Org culture of emp’t (including for staff)? Youth emp’t l Involvement in decision-making (What extent? All or some youth?) l Safe and flexible setting? l Opportunities for mastery experiences? l Feelings of engagement & meaningfulness? l Support & preparation?

24 Example research tools Involvement & Interaction Rating Scale (Survey on Youth-Adult Partnerships) – Jones & Perkins (2005) Learner Empowerment Survey – Fymier et al 1996 Youth Program Quality Assessment (PQA) (quality settings, observer rating) – Blazevski & Smith 2007

25 Qualitative research needed… Better understanding of how concept “youth emp’t” is socially constructed in dif’t contexts (see Hart 2008) Deeper understanding of the context and conditions in which youth emp’t is supported or hindered l Investigating youth emp’t in terms of ‘diffusion of innovation’ Exploring ‘active ingredients’ and explaining outcomes l Hypothesis generating for quantitative studies

26 MEASURING IMPACTS IN YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

27

28 Example outcomes Psychological emp’t (Walker et al 2010) Youth assets (Oman et al 2010) Self-efficacy (specific & general) Social supports (peers, family, school, community) Prosocial (empathy, helping) Civic engagement (service, advocacy) Academic performance (grades, attendance) Antisocial behavior (e.g., conduct problems, delinquency, substance abuse)

29 INVOLVING YOUTH IN RESEARCH & EVALUATION

30 Approaches to youth participation in research Youth-led research projects Youth staff help design and implement research projects Youth representatives on stakeholders advisory boards for research projects Separate youth advisory boards for research projects

31 Jordan Youth Action Committee Out-of-school youth graduating from NFE Committed & trained staff 8-week training Small groups with adult (univ student) facilitators Youth determined own research questions & methodologies

32 Thank you!

33 References Bandura, A. (1986). Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Biddle, B. J. (1986). Recent Development in Role Theory. Annual Review of Sociology, 12, Deschenes, S. N., Arbreton, A., Little, P. M., Herrera, C., Baldwin Grossman, J., Weiss, H. B., et al. (2010). Engaging older youth: Program and city-level strategies to support sustained participation in out-of-school time. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project and Public/Private Ventures. Ernst, M., Pine, D. S., & Hardin, M. (2006). Triadic model of the neurobiology of motivated behavior in adolescence. Psychological Medicine, 36 (03), Foster-Fishman, P., Nowell, B., Deacon, Z., Nievar, M., & McCann, P. (2005). Using Methods That Matter: The Impact of Reflection, Dialogue, and Voice. American Journal of Community Psychology, 36 (3), Glasser, W. (1999). Choice Theory in the Classroom. New York, NY: Harper Collins. Hart, R. (2008). Stepping Back from ‘The Ladder’: Reflections on a Model of Participatory Work with Children. In A. Reid, B. Jensesn, J. Nikel & V. Simovska (Eds.), Participation and Learning. New York: Springer Netherlands.

34 References continued Healy, K. (2005). Social work theories in context: Creating frameworks for practice. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33 (2-3), Oman, R., Veseley, S., Tolman, E., Aspy, C., & Marshall, L. (2010). Reliability and validity of the youth asset survey: An update. American Journal of Health Promotion, 25 (1), e13-e24. Smith, C., & Akiva, T. (2008). Quality accountability: improving fidelity of broad developmentally focused interventions. In M. Shinn & H. Yoshikawa (Eds.), Toward Positive Youth Development: Transforming Schools and Community Programs. New York: Oxford University Press. Walker, J. S., Thorne, E. K., Powers, L. E., & Gaonkar, R. (2010). Development of a Scale to Measure the Empowerment of Youth Consumers of Mental Health Services. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 18 (1), Zimmerman, M. (2000). Empowerment theory: Psychological, organizational and community levels of analysis. In J. Rappaport & E. Seidman (Eds.), Handbook of community psychology. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.


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