Assessing Positive Youth Development of the Youth Board of the Atlanta Youth Research Coalition Open Access

Tschokert, Merete (Spring 2018)

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Adolescence is a time of rapid change and leaves adolescents vulnerable for adverse health outcomes. Compared to their white peers, African-American adolescents are at higher risk for negative health outcomes. To address these disparities, young people should be included as equal partners in research to conduct youth relevant research and establish tailored interventions. The Atlanta Youth Research Coalition (AYRC) is a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) project with a Youth-Adult Partnership. It was established to enable African-American high school students from the Atlanta Metro area to conduct their own community assessment with support from an Adult Advisory Board consisting of professionals who work in the healthcare field or with adolescents. AYRC had 12 youth participants and 7 adult participants. The project used the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development (PYD) according to Lerner et al. as its framework. Promoting Character, Confidence, Caring, Competence, and Connection will result in the 6th C, Contribution, and a successful transition into adulthood. The goal of this work was to evaluate how participation in the project promoted the 5 Cs. Furthermore, the Adult-Youth Partnership component and change in young people’s perception of health-related research was evaluated. This work used a mixed methods approach and used validated scales and qualitative interviews to assess changes in young people’s development and perceptions. Results from the SHORT PYD Scale showed a non-significant increase in Confidence. Connection decreased significantly. Character, Competence, and Caring did not change significantly. Nevertheless, feedback during the qualitative interviews suggests that the young people thrived throughout the project, their 5 Cs were promoted, and even the 6th C, Contribution, was supported through the project. Trust in Researchers Scale scores increased significantly, but Medical Mistrust Index scores did not significantly change. The Youth-Adult Partnership scores were high and hence, suggest that the project could enable supportive adult relationships and included the Youth Board in decision making. This was supported by the qualitative interviews. In conclusion, AYRC demonstrated how African-American high school students from the Atlanta Metro area can be included as research partners in a CBPR project. Furthermore, young people benefited from participating in the project and expanding the project is encouraged to make it sustainable and positively impact more youth.

Table of Contents

1          Introduction     1

2          Literature review           3

2.1       Adolescent Health         3

2.2       Health Disparities among African-American Youth        6

2.3       Community-Based Participatory Research          7

2.4       Positive Youth Development     10

2.5       Positive Youth Development and the Atlanta Youth Research Coalition   15

2.6       Youth-Adult Partnership           16

3          Methods           18

3.1       Program Description     19

3.2       Participants      21

3.3       Procedure         22

3.4       Measures          23

3.4.1     Descriptive Variables    23

3.4.2     Positive Youth Development     24

3.4.3     Trust in Medical Researchers Scale        27

3.4.4     Medical Mistrust Index 28

3.4.5     Youth-Adult Partnership           29

3.4.6     Open Mid-Point Evaluation Questions   29

3.4.7     Semi-structured, qualitative Interviews   30

3.5       Analysis           31

4          Results 32

4.1       Description of the sample          32

4.2       Positive Youth Development     33

4.3       Trust in Researchers Scale         34

4.4       Medical Mistrust Index 35

4.5       Youth-Adult Partnership           36

4.6       Open-ended Mid-Point Evaluation Questions     36

4.7       Semi-structured, qualitative Interviews   38

5          Discussion        45

5.1       Findings           45

5.1.1     Youth Board Composition         46

5.1.2     Positive Youth Development     46

5.1.3     Trust in Researchers Scale         48

5.1.4     Medical Mistrust Index 48

5.1.5     Youth-Adult Partnership           49

5.1.6     Open-ended Mid-Point Evaluation Questions     50

5.1.7     Semi-structured, qualitative Interviews   52

5.2       Conclusions      54

5.3       Strengths and Limitations          55

5.4       Implications and Recommendations       57

6          References        60

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