How teens become engaged in youth development programs: The process of motivational change in a civic activism organization

Nickki J. Pearce, Reed W. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The question of how youth become engaged or motivated is vital to youth development programs, because engagement influences not only program retention but the likelihood of youth gaining the benefits that programs offer. This article reports on an in-depth study aimed at generating grounded theory about the change process through which youth who are initially disengaged become motivated by program activities. Youth in a civic activism program were interviewed over a 4-month period and qualitative analyses were used to derive a model of this change process. This process was found to proceed from the youth forming a personal connection to the program's mission to becoming intrinsically motivated by work on program activities. The analyses suggested that peers and the adult leader played important roles in supporting motivational change at each stage. The model developed from the investigation draws on existing theories of motivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Developmental Science
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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