A qualitative examination of critical feedback processes in project-based youth programs

Aisha N. Griffith, Haley E. Johnson, Reed W. Larson, Ellen K. Buttitta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When an adolescent receives critical feedback from adults on what they should change, they may feel discouraged; however, such feedback can be key to learning. This study explored how adolescents attending project-based youth programs experienced critical feedback from adult leaders and the strategies these leaders employed when providing feedback. Qualitative analyses of interviews with 49 youth and 24 leaders indicated that youth participants found critical feedback to be useful because leaders intentionally provided straightforward, clear, and balanced feedback in a manner that was empathetic and involved dialogue that privileged participants’ ownership of their work. Using extant literature, we discuss why the features identified may be especially important during the period of adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101892
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Adolescence
  • Feedback
  • Out-of-school time
  • Youth programs
  • Youth-adult relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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