Citation
Supportive adult relationships and positive youth development : middle school results from the holistic student assessment

Material Information

Title:
Supportive adult relationships and positive youth development : middle school results from the holistic student assessment
Creator:
Casados, Theresa Marie
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Doctorate ( Doctor of psychology)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
School of Education and Human Development
Degree Disciplines:
School psychology
Committee Chair:
Crepeau-Hobson, Franci
Committee Members:
Harris, Bryn
Stein, Rachel

Notes

Abstract:
There is ample evidence that youth who have supportive relationships with others experience more positive outcomes (Kesselring et al., 2016 ). Positive Youth Development (PYD) emphasizes the promotion of better outcomes for youth by building on their strengths and providing supports and opportunities to foster the achievement of goals and developmental tasks (USDHS, 2018). The Five Cs model is the most widely known and researched conceptualization of PYD (Bowers et al., 2010). This study examined the association between supportive adult relationships and PYD in a sample of urban middle schoolers. Data came from the January 2019 administration of the Holistic Student Assessment (HSA). This online survey was completed by 268 students at an urban charter middle school in the rocky mountain region of the United States. It was hypothesized that students who reported average/above average ratings on the Relationships with Adults scale would score average/above average on HSA scales corresponding to the 5 Cs of PYD. It was also hypothesized that differences would be observed based on demographics (race, gender, grade, English Language Learner status, and special education [SPED] status). Results of a MANOVA revealed a significant main effect for the Relationships with Adults scale and all HSA scales associated with the 5 Cs (Academic Motivation, Assertiveness, Empathy, Perseverance, Relationships with Peers, School Bonding and Trust). Participants who scored average/above average on the Relationships with Adults scale obtained higher scores on the variables associated with the 5Cs of PYD. A significant main effect for SPED status on the Assertiveness, Perseverance, and Trust scales was also obtained. Findings suggest cultivating supportive adult relationships may benefit students’ development in other areas. Additional supports for students who receive special education services is also suggested. Future studies may benefit from examining the effectiveness of such interventions in fostering PYD.

Record Information

Source Institution:
Auraria Library
Holding Location:
University of Colorado Denver
Rights Management:
Copyright Theresa M. Cadados. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
SUPPORTIVE ADULT RELATIONSHIPS AND POSITIVE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT: MIDDLE SCHOOL RESULTS FROM THE HOLISTIC STUDENT
ASSESSMENT
By
THERESA MARIE CASADOS B.A., University of Colorado, Boulder, 2001 M.A., University of Colorado, Boulder, 2003
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Psychology School Psychology Program
2019


This thesis for the Doctor of Psychology degree by Theresa Marie Casados Has been approved for the School Psychology Program By
Franci Crepeau-Hobson, Chair Bryn Harris
Rachel Stein
Date: May 18, 2019
11


Casados, Theresa M (Psy.D, School Psychology)
Supportive Adult Relationships and Positive Youth Development Among Urban Middle School Students
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Franci Crepeau-Hobson
ABSTRACT
There is ample evidence that youth who have supportive relationships with others experience more positive outcomes (Kesselring et al., 2016 ). Positive Youth Development (PYD) emphasizes the promotion of better outcomes for youth by building on their strengths and providing supports and opportunities to foster the achievement of goals and developmental tasks (USDHS, 2018). The Five Cs model is the most widely known and researched conceptualization of PYD (Bowers et al., 2010). This study examined the association between supportive adult relationships and PYD in a sample of urban middle schoolers. Data came from the January 2019 administration of the Holistic Student Assessment (HSA). This online survey was completed by 268 students at an urban charter middle school in the rocky mountain region of the United States. It was hypothesized that students who reported average/above average ratings on the Relationships with Adults scale would score average/above average on HSA scales corresponding to the 5 Cs of PYD. It was also hypothesized that differences would be observed based on demographics (race, gender, grade, English Language Learner status, and special education [SPED] status). Results of a MANOVA revealed a significant main effect for the Relationships with Adults scale and all HSA scales associated with the 5 Cs (Academic Motivation, Assertiveness, Empathy, Perseverance, Relationships with Peers, School Bonding and Trust). Participants who scored average/above average on the Relationships with Adults scale obtained higher scores on the variables associated with the 5Cs of PYD. A significant main


effect for SPED status on the Assertiveness, Perseverance, and Trust scales was also obtained. Findings suggest cultivating supportive adult relationships may benefit students’ development in other areas. Additional supports for students who receive special education services is also suggested. Future studies may benefit from examining the effectiveness of such interventions in fostering PYD.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Franci Crepeau-Hobson
IV


DEDICATION
I dedicate this capstone project to my family and friends. With special gratitude to my beautiful and loving mother, Mary Ann Casados whose encouragement and support have made this endeavor possible. In remembrance of my grandfather, Albert T. Garcia who always encouraged me to get my “sheep skin” and whose love for reading I inherited. To my Cousin Leo “Porky” Casados, one of the first people who I discussed getting my doctorate with and who expressed his confidence in me. I am truly thankful for my grandmother, Marie R. Garcia, Ricardo Casados, Katie Jo Casados and Brenda Casados. To my amazing family, I love each of you dearly.
I dedicate this project to my friends who have supported me throughout the process. I appreciate the countless words of affirmation and prayers from Toni Graham and Tanisha Mannings. I also remember Cleopatra Estrada, who was one of the first Chicanas to graduate from the University of Colorado, Boulder. A friend and mentor throughout my undergraduate studies, she encouraged me to obtain an advanced degree. Her legacy lives on.
I also dedicate this project with gratitude and love to Patrick Pacheco. I will always appreciate the constant support you provided over the last two years. Thank you for being there for me, encouraging me through the hard times and for making me laugh when I cried. You mean the world to me.
v


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to acknowledge and thank Dr. Franci Crepeau-Hobson who was incredibly generous with her time and assistance to help me complete this project.
I would also like to acknowledge and thank the executive director and principal at the participating school for allowing me to use school data for my research. A special thank you to the school transformation facilitator for providing any assistance requested.
vi


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION...................................................1
Problem and Significance...................................1
Research Questions and Hypothesis..........................3
II. LITERATURE REIVEW..............................................4
The Positive Youth Development Model.......................4
Competence.................................................4
Confidence.................................................6
Connection.................................................8
Character.................................................10
Caring....................................................11
Promoting Positive Youth Development......................14
III. METHODS........................................................15
Participants..............................................15
Measure...................................................15
Procedure.................................................18
Analysis..................................................18
IV. RESULTS........................................................20
MANOVA..........................................................20
V. DISCUSSION AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS...............................23
Discussion................................................23
Limitations...............................................30
Conclusions and Implications..............................32
REFERENCES..................................................................34
vii


CHAPTERI
INTRODUCTION Problem and Significance
The examination of youth development and well-being has shifted over the last decade, from a deficit model to a focus on the promotion of protective factors and the prevention of problems (Catalano, Berglund, Ryan, Lonczak, & Hawkins, 2004). One such approach is Positive Youth Development (PYD), which emphasizes the promotion of better outcomes for youth by building on their strengths and providing supports and opportunities that foster the achievement of goals and developmental tasks (U.S. Department of Human Services, 2018). The Five Cs model, the most widely known and researched conceptualization of PYD, focuses on Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, and Caring (Bowers et al., 2010). This model has been useful in examining the bases of healthy development among youth (Lerner et al.,
2005).
Research has provided ample evidence that youth who have a variety of protective factors experience more positive outcomes. Such protective factors include supportive, positive relationships with peers and adults (Kesselring, De Winter, Van Yperen, & Lecluijze, 2016). The possession of protective factors is particularly important for at-risk youth as the stakes are especially high. These stakes include high school completion, post-secondary education, employment opportunities, mental health and physical well-being. Students who receive special education services due to a learning or emotional disability are among the most at-risk. A study by Ahrens, DuBois, Lozano, & Richardson (2010) found youth with learning disabilities or those who had received special education services were significantly less likely to report having graduated high school and receiving any post-secondary education. They reported faring worse
1


in the areas of depression and general health; they had higher body mass indices, and higher rates of risky behaviors when compared with the general population. They were also significantly less likely to report having had a mentor.
A mentor is a person who takes an active role in the life of another to help them develop in at least one area. The mentor is often older and has more experience than the mentee, and functions as a source of guidance and support for the healthy development of the mentee (Black, Grenard, Sussman, & Rohrback, 2010). Mentoring can be implemented as part of a formal program, can occur naturally, or as a combination of a natural relationship with some formal support. Mentors to youth can be peers and/or adults, non-familial individuals or family members.
Mentorship is often implemented as an intervention for at-risk youth because it has been associated with positive academic, vocational, social-emotional, mental and physical health outcomes (Munson, Brown, Spencer, Edguer, & Tracy, 2014). These benefits are likely related to the development of strong, influential bonds in long-standing relationships (DuBois & Silverthom, 2005). While previous research has primarily focused on formal mentorship, few studies have examined natural mentorship and positive youth-adult relationships in general, despite evidence that such informal mentoring relationships are much more common (Rhodes & DuBois, 2008). This study aims to fill this gap in the literature by investigating the association between supportive relationships with non-parental adults and positive development and outcomes for youth, especially for at-risk youth such as those who receive special education services. This study will include a focus on youth who face additional challenges such as those with disabilities.
2


Research Questions and Hypotheses
This study seeks to understand the ways in which supportive relationships with adults are beneficial, with the following primary research question: What factors linked to Positive Youth Development are positively associated with supportive adult relationships? Furthermore, do such associations vary based on demographics? Those in the field of education have little to no control over the relationships students have with their parents; however, they do have the potential to greatly impact the students they serve in a positive manner through the cultivation of supportive relationships. It was hypothesized that the presence of average/above average scores on the Relationships with Adults scale would correspond with average/above average scores on other scales of the Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) associated with the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development.
3


CHAPTER II
LITERATURE REVIEW The Positive Youth Development Model
Research has indicated positive relationships with nonparental adults can be a protective factor for at risk youth (Hurd & Zimmerman, 2010) because they promote healthy development. In the discussion of such relationships, a relational development systems model is appropriate due to the definition of adolescent development in terms of reciprocally “influential, bidirectional person <—> context relationships” (Bowers et al., 2014, p. 897). The Five Cs model of Positive Youth Development (PYD) is defined by developmental assets including Caring, Character, Competence, Confidence, and Connection (Bowers et al., 2014; Lerner et al., 2005). According to Bowers et al., (2014) research implies that relationships with caring, dedicated adults during adolescence within the context of family, schools, and other activities, is the most predictive factor for increased PYD and fewer risky behaviors. The literature examined here will focus on non-parental adults including formal and naturally occurring mentors, who are often long-standing important figures in youths’ everyday lives such as extended family members, family friends, teachers, counselors, coaches, and spiritual leaders (DuBois & Silverthom, 2005; Hurd & Zimmerman, 2014; Sanchez, Esparza & Colon, 2008; Schwartz et al., 2013). The literature review will also focus on how these relationships with adults may impact the Five Cs and related positive outcomes.
Competence
Competence is defined as the “positive view of one’s action in domain-specific areas including the social and academic domains” (Bowers et al., 2014, p. 903). Several studies have examined the association between academic and vocational outcomes and supportive, non-
4


parental adult relationships. For example, Eby and colleagues found significant positive relationships between mentoring and attitudes toward school and academic achievement (Eby, Allen, Evans, Ng, & Dubois, 2008). Similar findings were obtained by DuBois, Holloway, Valentine, & Cooper (2002).
Mentoring relationships can also have a positive impact on Competence for at-risk youth, including those with disabilities. The Ahrens et al. (2010) longitudinal study included a national sample of 52 middle schools and 80 high schools, representative of U.S. schools by ethnicity, region, school size and type, and urbanicity. If the student was identified as having a specific learning disability or receiving special education services within the last year by a parent, they were included in the Youth with Learning Disabilities (YLD) category. Youth were considered mentored if they responded positively to having an adult who made an important positive difference in their lives at any time (for at least two years) since the age of 12, other than parents or step-parents. This study found YLD who were mentored were significantly more likely to report being high school graduates when compared with YLD who were not mentored. Exploratory analyses revealed that participation in post-secondary education was significantly associated with being mentored. This and other studies suggest youth with mentors have the motivation to pursue educational and vocational goals (Ahrens et al., 2010; DuBois & Silverthom, 2005; Schwartz et al., 2013).
It should be noted, 19% of YLD who were mentored reported that their mentors were teachers or guidance counselors (Ahrens et al., 2010). The association with high school graduation and mentorship was only apparent when the mentor was in a school-based profession. Similarly, other studies, such as that by Sanchez et al. (2008) found the education level of
5


mentors contributed to academic outcomes and higher education levels of mentors was predictive of higher grade-point averages, greater educational aspirations and expectations in mentees. Confidence
Confidence is defined as “an internal sense of overall positive self-worth, identity, and feelings about one’s physical appearance” (Bowers et al., 2014, p. 903). Self-esteem is commonly measured in studies of mentorship and positive relationships. In fact, youth who had natural mentoring relationships were more likely than those without them to have increased selfesteem (DuBois & Silverthom, 2005). Mentors and positive relationships with non-parental adults in general, have also been found to have a positive influence on identity development, self-concept including the belief in one’s self (abilities and strengths), and self-acceptance (Black., Grenard, Sussman, & Rohrbach, 2010; Hurd & Zimmerman, 2014; Reis & Diaz, 1999; Schwartz et al., 2013).
Hurd and Zimmerman (2014) conducted an analysis of natural mentoring relationships among 396 young adults. Participants were primarily African American females with a GPA of 3.0 or below who had previously participated in a longitudinal study of high school incompletion. Over half of the study participants reported having a natural mentor who became important in their lives between the age of 14 and 16 (61%), while 16% reported having a mentor who became important between the ages of 17 and 19. Findings suggested long-standing mentoring relationships, with high-average levels of closeness and face-to-face contact on average once a month, and mentoring relationships with high levels of closeness and frequent contact, defined as two to five times per week, contributed to psychological well-being. Participants in both groups reported perceptions of social support from friends and other important people in their lives and increased life satisfaction which may contribute to
6


psychological well-being over time. Both groups appeared to have equal benefit as participants reported that they experienced more supportive relationships and life satisfaction than those without mentors and those with mentor relationships with low levels of relational closeness, shorter relationship length and infrequent contact.
Hurd and Zimmerman’s (2014) findings aligned with DuBois and Silverthorn’s (2005) often-cited study that utilized National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data and included both males and females of all race/ethnicity categories. This research was limited to respondents who gave valid responses to the mentoring item and had data for all covariates. Findings indicated youth with natural mentoring relationships were more likely to demonstrate positive mental health outcomes. In this study, the longevity of the mentoring relationship appeared to be an important factor leading to beneficial outcomes, as the average length of reported relationships was 9.1 years. Perhaps contributing to the length of the relationships, mentors were also important figures in the daily lives of youth such as family members (>40%) and teachers or guidance counselors (26%), coaches, and religious leaders. Such naturally occurring mentoring relationships can create the opportunity for stronger and more influential bonds to develop. Such bonds can contribute to greater life satisfaction, psychological well-being (i.e., heightened self-esteem), and physical well-being, including increased engagement in physical activity and reduced problem behaviors such as assault, gang affiliation and risk-taking (Black et al., 2010; DuBois & Silverthorn, 2005).
Ahrens et al., (2010) examined self-esteem within the domain of overall psychological well-being along with depression to determine whether self-esteem was affected by the presence of a naturally acquired mentor. Multiple logistic regressions examined the presence of a mentor as a predictor of individual outcomes and found a significant association between being
7


mentored and scoring above the median on the self-esteem scale for students, including those with learning disabilities. This is especially important given data suggesting self-esteem is associated with lower probability for negative outcomes, including mental health problems and behaviors that are health risks (Ahrens et al., 2010).
Connection
Connection is defined as a “positive bond with people and institutions that are reflected in healthy, bidirectional exchanges between the individual and peers, family, school and community in which both parties contribute to the relationship” (Bowers et al., 2014, p. 903). Connection will be discussed as it relates to school-belonging and relationships to peers.
A sense of school-belonging and educational engagement have been shown to increase when students have supportive adult relationships (Black et al., 2010). Sanchez, Esparza, and Colon (2008) conducted a study of natural mentorship including 140 Latina/o seniors (primarily children of immigrants from Mexico and Puerto Rico) at an urban public high school. The school had a 53% graduation rate and 46% of students’ mothers and 44% of fathers had less than a high school education. School records were collected for the assessment of academic performance (grade point average and absenteeism) and participants self-reported their educational aspirations and expectations, motivation, and sense of school-belonging.
Study findings indicated both familial mentors (e.g., siblings and extended family) and nonfamilial mentors (e.g., teachers and pastors) were related to fewer school absences and a greater sense of belonging than those without mentors, as well as higher educational expectations and significantly greater expectancies for success (Sanchez et al., 2008). The number of mentors (39% of students with mentors named at least two) was related to and predicted fewer absences
8


and increased educational expectations and sense of school-belonging, indicating more supportive adult relationships lead to a greater sense of belonging in the school community. Interestingly, while longer relationships were likely to occur through familial connections, they were significantly related to lower educational levels of mentors. Longer relationship duration with familial mentors predicted a lower sense of school-belonging and familial mentors were not related to higher educational expectations and expectancies for success. These findings suggest longer lasting relationships with familial mentors who have lower levels of educational attainment may not necessarily contribute to school connection.
Zimmerman, Bingenheimer, and Notaro (2002) conducted a study involving 770 adolescents from a large midwestern city, 52% of whom reported having a natural mentor. Participants had an 8th grade GPA of 3.0 or below and were ninth graders in 1994. Students were excluded from this study if they were diagnosed as being either “emotionally impaired “or “developmentally disabled”. School attitudes were assessed in three components: school attachment, school efficacy, and school importance. Adolescents with natural mentors reported more positive school attitudes than those without. Natural mentors appeared to be a protective factor, because these outcomes were present despite friends’ negative school attitudes.
Students who reported having a natural mentor were significantly more likely to report they liked school, believed success in school is important, and felt capable of succeeding in school (Zimmerman et al., 2002). Additionally, students with mentors reported significantly higher levels of school attachment and school efficacy. In this study, the two most common types of natural mentors included extended family members (37.7%) and professionals (10%) who may have already had a relationship with the student, such as coaches, counselors, teachers and ministers.
9


Zimmerman et al. (2002) acknowledged the limitation of excluding students who were the highest academically achieving. However, Reis and Diaz (1999) conducted a smaller study and found high levels of connection among nine female students who were identified as high-ability in an urban high school. The students met the following criteria: enrollment in an academic gifted program, or superior academic achievement as evidenced by high grades, teacher/counsel or nomination, or receipt of academic awards and honors. This study, conducted over two and a half years, found that school connection presented itself as groups of high-achieving peers who wanted academic success, remained together in honors classes as a community, and offered each other encouragement and support. The girls exhibited a strong belief in self and they attributed this to factors including supportive adults and peer support among others. It seems students who have positive adult support also find peers who hold them accountable for their academic success (Watson, Sealey-Ruiz, & Jackson, 2016). A “network” of peers was acknowledged by all participants in some way and was described by most of the participants as contributing to their academic success. All participants also indicated their academic success would not have been possible without supportive relationships with adults. The majority of teachers who were identified as supportive, cultivated students’ motivation, selfesteem, and overall well-being. These findings demonstrate not only the impact of a supportive adult relationship on Connection, but also on the domains of Competence and Confidence. Character
Character is defined as “respect for societal and cultural rules, possession of standards for correct behaviors, a sense of right and wrong, and integrity” (Bowers et al., 2014, p. 309). Wilson, Cordier, and Wilkes-Gillan (2014) conducted a qualitative study of four boys in Australia who were described as “rude and disruptive’ by their teachers. They participated in
10


Men’s Sheds, a program that provided intergenerational mentoring through hands-on community service projects. The boys had positive views of their interactions with the mentors, and also experienced personal satisfaction from participating in community service. Furthermore, their transition advisor recognized a difference in the boys’ behavior in school and in the mentoring program. They were later described as cooperative, polite, and mature and their transition advisor hypothesized the difference he observed was due to the relationships they formed with mentors, as well as the community service work. It appears these relationships supported the boys’ connection to school and their character development.
Positive outcomes in character development are not isolated to smaller studies; Black et al., (2010) examined a large convenience sample of 3,320 students from 65 high schools across eight states who were part of a larger trial of Project Towards No Drug Abuse (TND). The average age of participants was 14.8 years old and participants were equally male and female from various ethnic backgrounds. Findings suggested an inverse relationship between natural mentoring relationship scores and substance abuse and violence (demonstrative of character) through an indirect effect on school attachment. Both the Wilson et al. (2014) and Black et al. (2010) studies found a relationship between mentorship and Connection as measured by school attachment and Character.
Caring
Caring is defined by Bowers et al., (2014) as “the degree to which participants feel sorry for the distress of others” (p. 903). There is limited research examining how supportive adult relationships may impact the domain of Caring. Therefore, this construct will be discussed in terms of the characteristics of the influential adult, rather than student outcomes. However, it will
11


be inferred that students learn this characteristic from adults in the context of supportive relationships.
When examining the concept of caring in non-familial, supportive adult relationships, consideration of the definitions of the helping person in various studies can be insightful (Munson et al., 2015). The definition used by Ahrens et al., (2010) was the presence of an adult who made an important positive difference, excluding parents or step-parents. Zimmerman, Bingenheimer, and Notaro’s (2002) definition was an adult over 25, other than a family member or person who raised the youth, who provided support and guidance, was consulted about decisions and inspired the youth. For the Bowers et al., (2014) study the definition was a non-parental adult with whom the youth felt able to talk to when they were having problems. Similarly, previous research has described formal and informal mentors as adults who were available to talk about personal and intellectual matters and provide social-emotional support and guidance (Ahrens et al., 2010; Bowers et al., 2014; Zimmerman et al., 2002) such as the motivation to pursue educational and vocational goals (Deutsch et al., 2017; Reis & Diaz, 1999; Vaclavik et al., 2017; Watson et al., 2016) and instrumental support/practical assistance (e.g., finding a job, support at court, managing mental health symptoms, etc.) (Munson et al., 2015). Such characteristics are consistent with the concept of Caring in PYD.
One recent study explored the characteristics of adults that facilitated relationships in community-based mentoring programs focused on connected learning (Vaclavik, Sanchez, Buehler, Gray & Rodriguez, 2017). Twenty-six youth from five Chicago community-based, out-of-school time programs participated in this qualitative study. These community-based programs centered on connected learning which is composed of academics, peer relationships, and youth interests. Male and female youth who participated in a community-based program for at least a
12


few months were included in the study and participants ranged from high school freshman to college sophomores. Without being asked directly about benefits, via focus groups, youth reported outcomes categorized into the following groups: social capital, a sense of empowerment and control of their futures, and a sense of acceptance and validation. They described adult support consisting of connection, emotional support, guidance, motivation, skill-based support, role modeling, and cultivating youth voice. They described adults who went above and beyond and demonstrated caring.
A study by Schwartz, Rhodes, Spencer, and Grossman (2013) examined the benefits of a caring adult with a vulnerable population of youth (N=l,173) between the ages of 16 and 18. These youth had dropped out or were expelled from high school and were participating in an intensive residential program, the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. Consistent with other research, this study found the most enduring relationships were those with mentors who were chosen by the youth, were already involved in their daily lives (e.g., family friends, extended family members, godparents, school and extracurricular staff, and religious leaders) DuBois, & Silverthorn, 2005; Spencer, Gowdy, Drew, & Rhodes, 2019) and were of the same racial background (Hurd, & Zimmerman, 2014; Sanchez, Esparza, & Colon, 2008). The longest lasting relationships (in contact at 38 months) were also those that demonstrated the most academic, behavioral, and vocational outcomes when compared to those in contact with mentors at 21 months and the control group. Participants described mentors as supporting their success in the ChalleNGe program and “positive development” in their lives (Schwartz et al., 2013). Mentors encouraged perseverance in program completion and provided assistance for youth to maintain positive changes as a result of their program participation.
13


Former systems youth (FSY), including those who have been in foster care are among the most vulnerable to negative outcomes. Munson et al., (2015) conducted a study with a sample of 59 youth with mental health challenges between the ages of 18 and 25 who had a history of foster care. Seventy-six percent of these participants identified a key helper/supportive adult relationship. Important characteristics of supportive relationships included availability and consistency. Regular contact with mentors appeared to contribute to trust, which is rare among this population. In interviews, the youth described feeling accepted, cared for, connected, and loved and reported they experienced empathy from their key helpers. There was also a sense of reciprocity for many of the young adults who felt the relationships allowed them to contribute to and share with their key helpers (Munson et al., 2015). These results indicate key helpers demonstrated Caring.
Promoting Positive Youth Development
Resiliency is composed of quality relationships with primary caregivers and noncaregivers alike, skills including problem-solving, and access to opportunities and resources within the community (DuBois & Silverthorn, 2005). Other factors, such as the 5 Cs strengthen the resilience of at-risk youth. DuBois and Silverthorn (2005) advocate for combining mentorship with other interventions that address risk and develop protective factors for youth. Previous research has begun to establish evidence that mentoring and supportive relationships with adults is associated with decreased risk and better outcomes in youth. The present study is intended to expand upon our knowledge base related to such relationships and Positive Youth Development.
14


CHAPTER III
METHODS
Participants
The study sample consisted of 268 sixth through eighth grade students who attended a charter middle school in a large, urban school district in the rocky mountain region of the United States. The sample was roughly equivalent by gender (51% male). The three grade levels were also similarly comparable (36% in 7th grade, 34% in 8th grade, and 30% in 6th grade. The students were from the following race/ethnicity groups: Hispanic (87.3%), African American/Black (6.7%), White/Caucasian (3.4%), and Asian (1.5%). Approximately 1% of the participants identified as American Indian/Alaska Native, Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian, or Multi-racial. English Language Learner (ELL) status was as follows, ELL=50%, non-ELL=40% and Re-designated=10%. Re-designated status was defined as a student who no longer qualified for ELL services, but still required monitoring. Due to low numbers, Re-designated status students were not included in the analyses. Exited students who no longer qualified for ELL services or monitoring were included in the non-ELL category. Fifteen percent of students in the sample received Special Education (SPED) services.
Measure
The Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) was created by the Partnerships in Education and Resilience (PEAR) Institute (Malti, Zuffiano, & Noam, 2017). This self-report assessment tool is based on the Clover Model developed by Gil G. Noam. The Clover Model identifies four domains of adolescent development including Active Engagement, Assertiveness, Belonging, and Reflection and is intended to focus on student strengths and resiliencies, while also identifying challenges (Allen, Thomas, Triggs & Noam, 2017). The most recent version of the
15


HSA (V.6.1) consists of 61 items (Allen et al., 2017). The HSA is used to provide individual, classroom, program, school and district-level data regarding three constructs: Resiliencies, Relationships, and Learning and School Engagement (Malti et al., 2017). Information regarding the measurement of each construct is below. For the purposes of this study, only those scales that clearly align with one of the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development were included in the analyses. The seven Resiliencies are defined as follows:
Action Orientation - engagement in activities that are hands-on and physical Emotional Control - anger-management and self-regulation when in distress Assertiveness - confidence in one’s self; acting and speaking up for personal beliefs Trust - perception of others as supportive and worthy of trust Empathy - acknowledgement of the emotions and experiences of others Reflection - awareness of self, reaction to societal issues and inner thought processes Optimism - excitement and feelings of hope about one’s life The Relationships construct is composed of:
Relationships with Peers - connections with friends and peers that are positive and supportive Relationships with Adults - positive connections and attitudes toward interactions with adults The five components of Learning and School Engagement are defined as follows:
Learning Interest - eagerness to obtain new knowledge
Critical Thinking - examination of ideas and information, autonomous thought Perseverance - determination in problem solving and work amid obstacles Academic Motivation - encouragement to do well in school School Bonding - a sense of belonging and positive connections in school Sample items for each of the resiliency areas are provided in Table 1.
Table 1. Holistic student assessment sample items
16


Resiliency Area Sample Item
Action Orientation I like being active.
Emotional Control I react to things so quickly I get in trouble.
Assertiveness* I stand up for things that matter to me.
Trust* People will help someone who is in trouble.
Empathy* I like to help people with their problems.
Reflection I try to understand the world I live in.
Optimism I am happy with the choices I make in my life.
Relationships with Peers* I have friends who care about me.
Relationships with Adults** There are adults I look up to and admire.
Learning Interest I am curious about new ideas.
Critical Thinking I like to figure out how things work.
Perseverance* When I try to accomplish something, I achieve it.
Academic Motivation* I will get good grades on school exams.
School Bonding* I feel like people understand me at my school.
* dependent variable in the present study ** independent variable in the present study
The HSA was normed with a sample of over 5,900 children from the northeastern U.S. in grades 5-12. The HSA has demonstrated acceptable psychometric properties with Omega coefficients ranging from .76 to .91 and a robust factor structure (Malti et al., 2017).
The HSA is administered electronically to students three times a year at the school that provided data for the present study: once in the fall/beginning of the year, once in the winter/mid-year, and once in the spring/end of the year. Students provide their rating for each item using a four-point Likert scale (0 = not at all, 1 = sometimes, 2 = often, 3 = almost always). Scores are expressed as a standard deviation (SD) score (z-score) based on age and gender norms. Z-.scores one SD above average (> 1.0) are classified as strengths and scores one SD below the mean (< 1.0) are classified as challenges (Allen et al., 2017).
For the purposes of this study, only data from the mid-year administration were considered and included in the analyses to ensure that all students, including 6th graders and transfer students were familiar with the HSA. Additionally, it is possible that the mid-year assessment provides a more accurate snapshot of a student’s characteristics during the school
17


year, versus an assessment given early in the fall. The response rate for the 2018-19 mid-year administration was 86% (268 students).
Procedure
The HSA survey was administered electronically in January of 2019 as part of routine mid-year data collection. The survey was given during the advisory (1st) block to 7th and 8th graders and during a later morning block to 6th graders, to reduce missing data due to tardiness. Make up sessions for students who were absent during the initial administration were held during the advisory block the rest of the week. Teachers had the option to read the questions aloud to students; however, this was not a requirement of administration. Students were shown a slide with directions for accessing the HSA and could choose to complete it in English or Spanish. Students entered their name, date, HSA access code (provided to them), age, and birthdate. They were reminded there are no right or wrong answers and were encouraged to be honest. Students were also reminded that they must complete the survey for any of their answers to be saved.
Each teacher was instructed to administer the HSA in the same way. They explained what each answer choice means and were also provided with key definitions, in case questions arose.
Data can be viewed for each student individually and for the entire sample and can be filtered in various ways to view results by gender, grade, and ELL and SPED status. All data utilized in this study was provided by school-staff in aggregate form on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and did not contain any identifying information.
Analysis
A quantitative approach was utilized to answer the primary research question: Are Relationships with Adults scale scores significantly associated with other aspects of Positive Youth Development (5 Cs)l Three Resiliencies from the HSA (Assertiveness, Empathy and
18


Trust), Relationships (with peers), as well as three components of Learning and Social Engagement (Academic Motivation, Perseverance, and School Bonding) were utilized as indicators of the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development.
Prior to analyses, z-scores from the HSA were dummy coded to indicate the presence of below average (z-scores <-l) and average or above average scores (z-scores >-l) for each of the variables of interest (Relationships with Adults, Relationships with Peers, Assertiveness, Empathy, Trust, Academic Motivation, Perseverance, and School Bonding). A multivariate ANOVA (MANOVA) was conducted with Relationships with Adults (below average or average/above average), gender, grade, ELL status, and special education status as the independent variables. The HSA scales associated with the 5 Cs served as the dependent variables. Dependent variables included Relationships with Peers (Connection), Assertiveness (Confidence), Empathy (Caring), Trust (Connection), Academic Motivation (Competence), Perseverance (Character), and School Bonding (Connection).
19


CHAPTER IV
RESULTS
Descriptive statistics are presented in Table 2. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to examine differences in scores on the HSA scales and the score on the Relationship with Adults scale. Assumptions were checked and met.
Table 2.
Relationships with Adults Descriptives
Scale/Variables N Mean Std. Deviation
Assertiveness
Average and Above 189 -.25 .90
Below Average 79 -.83 .98
Total 268 -.42 .96
Empathy
Average and Above 189 .03 .92
Below Average 79 -.96 1.01
Total 268 -.26 1.05
Trust
Average and Above 189 .24 .87
Below Average 79 -.83 .84
Total 268 -.07 .99
Relationships with Peers
Average and Above 189 -.04 .98
Below Average 79 -1.12 1.10
Total 268 -.36 1.13
Academic Motivation
Average and Above 189 -.28 .99
Below Average 79 -1.22 1.13
Total 268 -.56 1.12
Perseverance
Average and Above 189 -.27 1.02
Below Average 78 -1.15 .91
Total 267 -.53 1.07
School Bonding
Average and Above 189 .24 .87
Below Average 79 -1.01 .84
Total 268 -.13 1.03
Statistically significant effects were obtained on each of the HSA scales included in the analyses (see Table 3). Consistently, students who scored average/above average on
20


Relationships with Adults obtained average/above average scores on the variables associated with the 5Cs of Positive Youth Development (see Table 3).
Table 3.
Relationships with Adults and other scales MANOVA
Scale/V ariables Sum of Sauares Df Mean Sauare F D value
Assertiveness
Between Groups 18.23 1 18.23 21.25 .000
Within Groups 227.88 266 .86
Total 246.10 267
Empathy
Between Groups 54.62 1 54.62 61.20 .000
Within Groups 237.40 266 ,89
Total 292.02 267
Trust
Between Groups 64.38 1 64.38 87.29 .000
Within Groups 196.17 266 .74
Total 260.55 267
Relationships with Peers
Between Groups 65.24 1 65.24 62.92 .000
Within Groups 275.83 266 1.04
Total 341.07 267
Academic Motivation
Between Groups 48.55 1 48.55 45.38 .000
Within Groups 284.61 266 1.07
Total 333.16 267
Perseverance
Between Groups 42.50 1 42.50 43.17 .000
Within Groups 260.87 265 .98
Total 303.37 266
School Bonding
Between Groups 87.23 1 87.23
Within Groups 197.95 266 .74 117.2 .000
Total 285.18 267
21


Results also indicate a significant main effect for Special Education status on the following HSA scales: Assertiveness, F(1, 267) = 6.68,/)=.009; Trust, F(l, 267) = 6.57,/><011; and Perseverance, F(1, 267) = 5.13,/><025. Results indicate that students who receive special education services obtained significantly lower scores on each of these scales. In other words, students in special education were significantly more likely to rate themselves below average in each of these areas. No other significant main effects nor any significant interactions among the independent variables were observed.


CHAPTER V
DISCUSSION AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS
Research has provided ample evidence that youth who have a variety of protective factors
experience more positive outcomes. Such protective factors include supportive, positive relationships with peers and adults (Kesselring, De Winter, Van Yperen, & Lecluijze, 2016). Positive Youth Development (PYD) emphasizes the promotion of better outcomes for youth by building on their strengths and providing supports and opportunities that foster the achievement of goals and developmental tasks (U.S. Department of Human Services, 2018). The Five Cs model, the most widely known and researched conceptualization of PYD, focuses on Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, and Caring (Bowers et al., 2010). This model has been useful in examining the bases of healthy development among youth (Lerner et al.,
2005). The present study examined how supportive adult relationships are related to the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development as measured by the Holistic Student Assessment (HSA).
A MANOVA was conducted to examine students’ self-reported scores on Relationships with Adults and other HSA scales associated with the 5 Cs. These scales included Relationships with Peers (Connection), Assertiveness (Confidence), Empathy (Caring), Trust (Connection), Academic Motivation (Competence), Perseverance (Character), and School Bonding (Connection). Results indicated statistically significant results for each of the above HSA scales. Students who reported average/above average Relationships with Adults were more likely to also report average/above average Academic Motivation, Assertiveness, Empathy, Perseverance, Relationships with Peers, School Bonding, and Trust. These results indicate supportive
23


relationships with adults are indeed related to the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development (Caring, Character, Competence, Confidence and Connection).
The findings of the present study are generally consistent with results of previous research suggesting supportive relationships with non-parental adults may enhance PYD (Bowers et al., 2014) and the character development of youth (Black et al., 2014). While previous research examining how supportive adult relationships impact the domain of Caring is scant, the present study suggests that having such relationships corresponds to increased awareness of the emotions and experiences of others and a sense of satisfaction when helping others with their problems (Malti et al., 2017). This increase in empathy and sympathy for others may be related to the modeling of empathy occurring in supportive relationships, as adults provide support and guidance to youth in both academic and personal matters (Ahrens et al., 2010; Bowers et al., 2014; Zimmerman et al., 2002). Youth with average/above average Relationships with Adults as measured by the HSA survey indicated they have adults they look up to, they talk to adults if they have problems and feel adults are interested in what they have to say. This is consistent with findings from the study by Munson et al., (2015) in which young adults described feeling cared for in reciprocal relationships where their supportive adults offered empathy.
Character also appears to be associated with supportive adult relationships as students who reported average/above average Relationships with Adults on the HSA also indicated average/above average Perseverance, or the ability to be successful when attempting to achieve a goal. Perseverance corresponds with Character in the PYD model, as students demonstrate morals, integrity and respect for expectations and standards in cultural and societal contexts
24


(Bowers et al., 2010). The findings of the present study are also congruent with the study conducted by Wilson et al., (2014) which indicated that having supportive adult relationships was related to increased maturity, manners, and cooperation. Furthermore, results of previous research suggest natural mentoring relationships, through an indirect effect of school attachment were inversely related to engagement in risky behaviors including substance abuse and violence. Such studies e.g., Wilson et al., 2014; Black et al., 2010) found a positive relationship between mentorship and Character. It appears that supportive adult relationships help youth develop positive dispositions and as a result, decrease the likelihood of involvement in activities that are contrary to one’s morals or harmful to one’s self and/or others.
The association between positive academic outcomes (Competence) and supportive, non-parental adult relationships has been affirmed (Eby et al., 2008; DuBois et al., 2002) for youth considered at-risk, including those with disabilities (Ahrens et al., 2010). Studies have suggested that through these relationships, students find motivation and support to demonstrate academic competence (DuBois & Silverthom, 2005; Schwartz et al., 2013). In alignment with this research, participants in the present study who reported supportive relationships with adults indicated average/above average levels of encouragement to do well in school. They positively endorsed HSA Academic Motivation items such as, “I will get good grades on school exams” demonstrating confidence in their competence and ability to be successful at school.
The link between supportive adult relationships and Confidence has been well documented (Black., Grenard, Sussman, & Rohrbach, 2010; Hurd & Zimmerman, 2014; Reis & Diaz, 1999; Schwartz et al., 2013). In the present study, Confidence was measured by the HSA Assertiveness scale. This scale asked participants about the confidence they have in themselves
25


to act and speak up for things that matter to them (Malti et al., 2018). Consistent with previous research, findings revealed those with average/above average Relationships with Adults also had average/above average Assertiveness. Previous studies (Hurd & Zimmerman, 2014; DuBois & Silverthom, 2005) have found youth with natural mentoring relationships were more likely to demonstrate positive health outcomes including psychological well-being (i.e., heightened selfesteem) and physical well-being. Findings suggest Confidence, a greater sense of identity, positive feelings about appearance, self-worth and higher self-esteem (Bowers et al., 2014) are related to supportive adult relationships and correspond with increased healthy behaviors and reduced problem behaviors (Black et al., 2010; DuBois & Silverthom, 2005). The present study’s findings align with this existing research.
According to its definition by Bowers et al., (2014), Connection consists of positive bonds with schools and other institutions, as well as healthy, reciprocal relationships with family, peers and community. The present study found average/above average Relationships with Adults was associated with similar levels of Trust, School Bonding and Relationships with Peers (Connection). These results are not surprising as Munson et al. (2015) documented that regular contact with supportive adults/mentors appeared to contribute to trust for former systems youth with mental health challenges. It seems the perception of others as supportive and worthy of trust (Malti et al., 2018) impacts relationships with adults, peers and institutions and allows for more connections in various contexts. Other studies have also found that a sense of school-belonging or connectedness increased when students had supportive adult relationships (Black et al., 2010; Sanchez et al., 2008; Zimmerman et al., 2002). Consistent with previous research (e.g., (Reis &
26


Diaz, 1999; Watson et al., 2016) findings of the present study suggest connections with friends and peers that are positive and supportive are related to connections with supportive adults.
This study also examined the association between HSA scales and various demographics. A significant main effect was found for students who receive special education services, as they were significantly more likely to have below average scores on the HSA’s Assertiveness, Perseverance and Trust scales, signifying impact on Confidence, Character, and Connection in the PYD model. Specifically, students in special education are more likely to experience low Confidence including self-efficacy, self-esteem and self-worth (Lerner et al., 2005). This finding was independent of ratings on the Relationships with Adults scale. This suggests that such relationships did not serve as protective factors for students in special education. These findings differ from Ahrens et al. (2010) who found youth with learning and emotional disabilities who had a naturally acquired mentor were more likely to score higher on the self-esteem scale than those who did not have a mentor. This may be explained by methodological differences. For example, participants in the Ahrens et al. study were in 7th - 12th grade when questionnaires were first administered. Wave III of data collection in that study occurred approximately 6 years later and included a significantly larger sample size (N= 1,714) than the present study. It was during Wave III that participants reported the presence (for at least two years) of an adult who made a significant positive impact in their lives since the age of 12 (Ahrens et al., 2010). The age of a typical middle school population such as that in the current study, ranges from 11-13 years old; therefore, it is not likely that any of the students who completed the HSA have experienced supportive adult relationships for two years since age 12.
27


Students who receive special education services were more likely to have below average scores in on the Perseverance scale of the HSA, indicating less confidence to work and problem solve through challenges. The findings of Schwartz et al. (2013) indicated that mentors selected by vulnerable youth (those who dropped out or were expelled from high school) encouraged their perseverance, especially as it related to ChalleNGe program completion. However academic outcomes such as such as GED completion, high school diplomas and college credit were associated with long-standing mentoring relationships (in contact with mentors for 38 months). Ahrens et al. (2010) and Schwartz et al. (2013) both examined at-risk populations and found supportive adult relationships that lasted at least 2-3 years were related to positive outcomes; this suggests that supportive relationships over time will lead to positive outcomes in the areas of Confidence, Competence, and Character for students in special education. Although reports of the presence of adult relationships did not make a difference for participants in special education in the present study, such relationships may have an impact if they are longer term.
The HSA Trust scale was one of three domains used in the present study to assess Connection. The tendency for students in special education to indicate below average perceptions of others as supportive and trustworthy is especially troubling. If trust impacts relationships with peers, adults and institutions, particularly school, then it can be inferred that students who receive special education services experience a disconnect on all three levels. Bowers et al., (2014) found that Connection was associated with the presence of a supportive non-parental adult, especially for youth with certain parenting profiles, while Munson et al. (2015) reported vulnerable youth, specifically, those who had been in the foster care system, are in need of and desire healthy socio-emotional connections. Further consideration should be given
28


to this area of Positive Youth Development, because it may be a domain that changes with age. Malti et al. (2017) reported that a decline in trust occurs during late childhood and middle-late adolescence. More research in this area and comparisons between students who receive special education services and those who do not, may be especially insightful.
29


Limitations
The findings of the present study must be considered within the context of several limitations. One of these limitations relates to the relatively small sample size consisting of the student body of one urban charter middle school. As such, findings cannot be generalized to suburban or rural contexts. Other potential limitations of the current study relate to its research design. Due to the reliance on analysis of variance, questions regarding causation cannot be addressed here. For example, it cannot be implied from the current findings that adult relationships lead to positive outcomes. Further, data was only collected at one point in time for the present study, so it was not possible to analyze trends over time.
Another limitation is related to the measure used in the study, the Holistic Student Assessment (HSA). As a self-report instrument, findings are based solely on the students’ own ratings and are not supplemented with any other information such as other assessment scores, grades, parent or teacher ratings. Further research examining other supplemental data may provide a more accurate and robust depiction of youth development in addition to their perceptions as reported via HSA ratings. Additionally, the HSA was not specifically designed to assess the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development model and as such, the connections between the two were inferred from HSA scales that included items that appeared to align with these concepts. Future research should explore the association of supportive adult relationships with the 5Cs using a tool specifically designed to measure these variables.
Finally, the HSA does not collect specific information regarding the supportive relationships youth have with adults, or about these adults themselves. Previous research has indicated that the nature and duration of such relationships, as well as the characteristics of the
30


adults may impact outcomes. Specific supplemental questions may be helpful in determining how such variations may impact the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development.
31


Conclusions and Implications
The findings of the present study indicate that supportive relationships with adults are related to the Five Cs of Positive Youth Development. Results also demonstrate students who receive special education services are significantly more likely to report lower levels of some of these protective factors. These results aligned with Ahrens et al. (2010) who reported that students with learning/emotional disabilities fare worse educationally, emotionally and physically when compared with those who do not have learning/emotional disabilities. Previous research, as well as the present study suggests intentionally cultivating supportive adult relationships with non-parental adults may lead to better outcomes.
Based on these preliminary findings, a promising strategy to promote Positive Youth Development in students who lack positive relationships with adults, is the opportunity for longterm mentoring. Enduring relationships are critical, as the longevity of the relationship and frequent contact have been associated with beneficial outcomes (Ahrens et al., 2010; DuBois & Silverthom, 2005; Hurd & Zimmerman, 2014; Schwartz et al., 2013). Supportive adult relationships are especially important for more vulnerable students including those who receive special education services, because these individuals are at risk for more negative outcomes.
Mentoring interventions require purposeful relationship building, such as youth-initiated mentoring in which students identify a trusted adult they already know to serve as their mentor (Spencer et al., 2019). This is an important consideration for schools that develop and implement mentoring programs for their students. Further, mentors require training to understand their role and expectations (Spencer et al., 2019), such as prioritizing consistency in the relationship. Training must include strategies for handling crises, and information about
32


relational (Munson et al., 2015) emotional and academic needs. As such, mentoring programs implemented in the school setting must include a training component for mentors. This is especially true for those who will mentor at-risk populations such as those in special education former systems youth. Furthermore, a focus on developing self-confidence and self-esteem, perseverance and trust among students who receive special education services is suggested.


REFERENCES
Ahrens, K., DuBois, D. L., Lozano, P., & Richardson, L. P. (2010). Naturally acquired mentoring relationships and young adult outcomes among adolescents with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 25(4), 207-216. Do (i: 10.1111/j. 1540-5826.2010.00318.x
Allen, P.J., Thomas, K., Triggs, B., Noam, G. G. (2017). The Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) Technical Report. Belmont: MA, The PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education and Resilience.
Black, D. S., Grenard, J. L., Sussman, S., & Rohrbach, L. A. (2010). The influence of school-based natural mentoring relationships on school attachment and subsequent adolescent risk behaviors. Health Education Research, 25(5), 892-902. doi:10.1093/her/cyq040
Bowers, E. P., Johnson, S. K., Buckingham, M. H., Gasca, S., Warren, D. J. A., Lerner, J. V., & Lerner, R. M. (2014). Important non-parental adults and Positive Youth Development across mid- to late-adolescence: The moderating effect of parenting profiles. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(6), 897-918. doi:10.1007/sl0964-014-0095-x
Catalano, R. F., Berglund, M. L., Ryan, J. A., Lonczak, H. S., & Hawkins, J. D. (2004). Positive Youth Development in the United States: Research findings on evaluations of Positive Youth Development programs. The annals of the American academy ofpolitical and social science, 597(1), 98-124
Deutsch, N. L., Reitz-Krueger, C. L., Henneberger, A. K., Valerie A Futch Ehrlich, & Lawrence, E. C. (2017). "it gave me ways to solve problems and ways to talk to people": Outcomes from a combined group and one-on-one mentoring program for early adolescent girls. Journal of Adolescent Research, 52(3), 291. doi:10.1177/0743558416630813
DuBois, D. L., Holloway, B., Valentine, J., &Cooper, H. (2002). Effectiveness of mentoring programs for youth: A meta-analytic review. American Journal of Community psychology, 30, 157-197.
DuBois, D. L., & Silverthorn, N. (2005). Natural mentoring relationships and adolescent health: Evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health, 95(3), 518-524. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2003.031476
34


Eby, L. T., Allen, T. D., Evans, S. C., Ng, T., &DuBois, D. L. (2008). Does mentoring matter? A multidisciplinary meta-analysis comparing mentored and non-mentored individuals. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 72, 254-267.
Hurd, N. M., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2010). Natural mentors, mental health and risk behaviors: A longitudinal analysis of african american adolescents transitioning into adulthood. American Journal of Community Psychology, 46, 36-48.
Hurd, N. M., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2014). An analysis of natural mentoring relationship profiles and associations with mentees’ mental health: Considering links via support from important others. American Journal of Community Psychology, 53(1), 25-36. doi: 10.1007/s 10464-013 -9598-y
Jackson, I., Sealey-Ruiz, Y., & Watson, W. (2014). Reciprocal love: Mentoring black and latino males through an ethos of care. Urban Education, 49(4), 394-417. doi:10.1177/0042085913519336
Kesselring, M. C., de Winter, M., van Yperen, T., & Lecluijze, S. (2016). Partners in Parenting: An Overview of the Literature on Parents' and Nonparental Adults' Perspectives on Shared Responsibilities in Childrearing. Issues in Social Science, 4(1), 69-97.
Lemer, R. M., Lerner, J. V., Almerigi, J. B., Theokas, C., Phelps, E., Gestsdottir, S., ... Eye, A. von. (2005). Positive Youth Development, Participation in Community Youth Development Programs, and Community Contributions of Fifth-Grade Adolescents: Findings From the First Wave Of the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 25(1), 17-71. https://doi.org/10.1177/0272431604272461
Malti, T., Zuffiano, A., & Noam, G. G. (2018). Knowing every child: Validation of the holistic student assessment (HSA) as a measure of social-emotional development. Prevention Science, 79(3), 306-317. doi: 10.1007/sl 1121-017-0794-0
Munson, M. R., Brown, S., Spencer, R., Edguer, M., & Tracy, E. (2015). Supportive relationships among former system youth with mental health challenges. Journal of Adolescent Research, 30(4), 501-529. doi: 10.1177/0743558414554803
Reis, S. M., & Diaz, E. (1999). Economically disadvantaged urban female students who achieve in schools. The Urban Review, 31(1), 31-54. doi:10.1023/A:1023244315236
Rhodes, J. E., & DuBois, D. L. (2008). Mentoring relationships and programs for youth. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(4), 254-258.
35


Rhodes, J. E., Spencer, R., Keller, T. E., Liang, B., & Noam, G. (2006). A model for the influence of mentoring relationships on youth development. Journal of Community Psychology, 34(6), 691-707. doi:10.1002/jcop.20124
Sanchez, B., Esparza, P., & Colon, Y. (2008). Natural mentoring under the microscope: An investigation of mentoring relationships and latino adolescents' academic performance. Journal of Community Psychology, 36(4), 468-482. doi: 10.1002/j cop.20250
Schwartz, S. E. O., Rhodes, J. E., Spencer, R., & Grossman, J. B. (2013). Youth initiated mentoring: Investigating a new approach to working with vulnerable adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 52(1), 155-169. doi:10.1007/sl0464-013-9585-3
Shenton, A. K. (2004). Strategies for ensuring trustworthiness in qualitative research projects. Education for Information,22(2), 63-75. doi:10.3233/efi-2004-22201
Spencer, R., Gowdy, G., Drew, A. L., & Rhodes, J. E. (2019). “Who knows me the best and can encourage me the most?”: Matching and early relationship development in youth-initiated mentoring relationships with system-involved youth. Journal of Adolescent Research, 34(1), 3-29. doi:10.1177/0743558418755686
Vaclavik, D., Sanchez, B., Buehler, K., Gray, T., & Rodriguez, E. (2017). Howto support me in connected learning: Youth perspectives on adult supportive behavior and its benefits. Journal of Community Psychology, 45(7), 906-921. doi: 10.1002/j cop.21901
Watson, W., Sealey-Ruiz, Y., & Jackson, I. (2016). Daring to care: The role of culturally relevant care in mentoring black and latino male high school students. Race Ethnicity and Education, 19(5), 980-1002. doi: 10.1080/13613324.2014.911169
Wilson, N. J., Cordier, R., & Wilkes-Gillan, S. (2014). Men's sheds and mentoring programs: Supporting teenage boys' connection with school. International Journal of Men's Health, 13(2), 92. doi: 10.3149/jmh. 1302.92
Zimmerman, M. A., Bingenheimer, J. B., & Notaro, P. C. (2002). Natural mentors and adolescent resiliency: A study with urban youth. American Journal of Community Psychology, 30(2), 221-243. doi: 10.1023/A: 1014632911622
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2018) Positive Youth Development. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-development/positive-vouth-development/index.html
36


Full Text

PAGE 1

SUPPORTIVE ADULT RELATIONSHIPS AND POSITIVE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT : MIDDLE SCHOOL RESULTS FROM THE HOLISTIC STUDENT ASSESSMENT By THERESA MARIE CASADOS B.A . , University of Colorado, Boulder , 20 01 M.A., University of Colorado, Boulder, 2003 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Psychology School Psychology Program 2019

PAGE 2

ii This thesis for the Doctor of Psychology degree by Theresa Marie Casados H as been approved for the School Psychology Program B y Franci Crepeau Hobson , Chair Bryn Harris Rachel Stein Date: May 18 , 2019

PAGE 3

iii Casados , Theresa M (Psy.D, School Psychology) Supportive Adult Relationships and Positive Youth Development Among Urban Middle School Students Thesis directed by Associate Professor Franci Crepeau Hobson ABSTRACT There is ample evidence that youth who have supportive relationships with others experie nce more positive outcomes ( Kesselring et al. , 2016 ). Positive Youth Development (PYD) emphasizes the promotion of better outcomes for youth by building on their strengths and providing supports and opportunities t o foster the achievement of goals and developmental tasks (U SDHS , 2018). The Five Cs model is the most widely known and researched conceptualization of PYD (Bowers et al., 2010). Th is study examine d the association between support ive adult relationships and PYD in a sample of urban middle schoolers. D ata came from the January 2019 administration o f the Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) . This online survey was completed by 268 students at an urban charter middle school in the rocky mountain region of the United States. It was hypothesized that students who reported average / above average ratings on the Relationships with Adults scale would score average / above average on HSA scales correspond ing to the 5 Cs of PYD . It was also hypothesized that differences would be observed based on demographics (race, gender, grade , E nglish L anguage L earne r status , and special education [SPED] status ). Results of a MANOVA revealed a significant main effect for the Relationships with Adults scale and all HSA scales associated with the 5 Cs ( Academic Motivation, Assertiveness, Empathy, Perseverance, Relationships with Peers, School Bonding and Trust ) . Participant s who scored average/above average on the Relationships with Adults scale obtained higher scores on the variables associated with the 5Cs of PYD . A significant main

PAGE 4

iv effect for S P ED status on the Assertiveness , Perseverance , and Trust scales was also obtained . Findings suggest cultivating supportive adult relationships may other areas. Additional supports for students who receive special education services is also suggested. Future studies may benefit from examining the effectiveness of such interventions in fostering PYD. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approv ed: Franci Crepeau Hobson

PAGE 5

v DEDICATION I dedicate this capstone project to my family and friends. With special gratitude to my beautiful and loving mother, Mary Ann Casados whose encouragement and support have made this endeavor possible. In remembrance of my grandfather, Albert T. Garcia who always , one of the first people who I discussed getting my doctorate with and who expressed his confidence in me. I am truly thank ful for my grandmother, Marie R. Garcia, Ricardo Casados, Katie Jo Casados and Brenda Casados . To my amazing family , I love each of you dearly. I de dicate this project to my friends who have supported me throughout the process. I appreciate the countless words of affirmation and prayers from Toni Graham and Tanisha Mannings. I also remember Cleopatra Estrada , who was one of the first Chicanas to gradu ate from the University of Colorado, Boulder . A friend and mentor through out my undergraduate studies , she encouraged me to obtain an advanced degree. Her legacy lives on. I also dedicate this project with gratitude and love to Patrick Pacheco. I will al ways appreciate the constant support you provided over the last two years . Thank you for being there for me , encourag ing me through the hard times and for making me laugh when I cried. You mean the world to me.

PAGE 6

vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to acknowledge and thank Dr. Franci Crepeau Hobson who was incredibly generous with her time and assistance to help me complete this project. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the executive director and principal at the participatin g school for allowing me to use school data for my research. A special thank you to the school transformation facilitator for providing any assistance requested.

PAGE 7

vii TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. 1 Problem and ... ................. 1 Research Questions and Hypothesis .. 3 II. 4 The Positive Youth Development Model . . 4 4 ... ... ................. 6 8 ... ............... 10 11 Promoting Positive Youth Development 14 III. 1 5 15 ... . .. ... ............... 1 5 1 8 . .............. 1 8 IV. RESULTS 20 MANOVA .. . . .............. 20 V . DISCUSSION AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS .. . 2 3 2 3 Limitations .. 30 Conclusions and Implications 3 2 . 3 4

PAGE 8

1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Problem and Significance T he examination of youth development and wel l being has shifted over the last decade, from a deficit model to a focus on the promotion of protective factors and the prevention of problems ( Catalano, Berglund, Ryan, Lonczak, & Hawkins, 2004). One such approach is Positive Youth Development (PYD), which emphasizes the p romotion of better outcomes for youth by building on their strengths and providing supports and opportunities that foster the achievement of goals and developmental tasks (U.S. Department of Human Services, 2018). The Five Cs model, the most widely known and researched conceptualization of PYD, focuses on Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, and Caring (Bowers et a l., 2010). This model has been useful in examining the bases of healthy development among youth (Lerner et al., 2005). Research has provided ample evidence that youth who have a variety of protective factors experience more positive outcomes. Such protecti ve factors include supportive, positive relationships with peers and adults ( Kesselring, De Winter, Van Yperen, & Lecluijze, 2016 ). The possession of protec tive factors is particularly important for at risk youth as the stakes are especially high. These stakes include high school completion, post secondary education, employment opportunities, mental health and physical well being. Students who receive special education services due to a learning or emotional disability are among the most at risk. A study by Ahrens, DuB ois, Lozano, & Richardson (2010) found youth with learning disabilities or those who had received special education services were significantly less likely to report having graduated high school and receiving any post secondary education. They reported far ing worse

PAGE 9

2 in the areas of depression and general health; they had higher body mass indices, and higher rates of risky behaviors when compared with the general population. They were also significantly less likely to report having had a mentor. A mentor is a person who takes an active role in the life of an other to help them develop in at least one area. The mentor is often older and has more experience than the mentee, and functions as a source of guidance and support for the healthy development of the ment ee (Black, Grenard, Sussman, & Rohrback, 2010). Mentoring can be implemented as part of a formal program, can occur naturally, or as a combination of a natural relationship with some formal support. Mentors to youth can be peers and/or adults, non familial individuals or family members. Mentorship is often implemented as an intervention for at risk youth because it has been associated with positive academic, vocational, social emotional, mental and physical health outcomes (Munson, Brown, Spencer, Edguer, & Tracy, 2014). These benefits are likely related to the development of strong, influential bonds in long standing relationships (DuBois & Silverthorn, 2005). While previous research has primarily focused on formal mentorship, few studies have examined nat ural mentorship and positive youth adult relationship s in general, despite evidence that such informal mentoring relationships are much more common (Rhodes & DuBois, 2008). This study aims to fill this gap in the literature by investigating the associatio n between supportive relationships with non parental adults and positive development and outcomes for youth , especially for at risk youth such as those who receive special education services . This study will include a focus on youth who face additional cha llenges such as those with disabilities .

PAGE 10

3 Research Questions and Hypotheses This study seeks to understand the ways in which supportive relationships with adults are beneficial , with the following primary research question: What factors linked to Positive Youth Development are positively associated with supportive adult relationships? Furthermore, d o such association s vary based on demographics? Those in the field of education have little to no control over the relationships students have with thei r parents ; however, they do have the potential to greatly impact the students they serve in a positive manner through the cultivation of supportive relationships. It was hypothesized that the presence of average/above average scores on the R elationships wi th A dults scale would correspond with average/above average scores on other scales o f the Holistic Student Assessment ( HSA) associated with the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development .

PAGE 11

4 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW The Positive Youth Development Model Research has indicated positive relationships with nonparental adults can be a protective factor for at risk youth (Hurd & Zimmerman, 2010) because they promote healthy development. In the discussion of such relationships, a relational development systems model is appropriate bidirectional person < model of Positive Youth Development (PYD) is defined by d evelopmental assets including C aring, C haracter, C ompetence, C onfidence , and C onnection (Bowers et al., 2014; Lerner et al., 2005). According to Bowers et al., (2014) research implies that relationships with caring, dedicated adults during adolescence with in the context of family, schools, and other activities, is the most predictive factor for increased PYD and fewer risk y behaviors. The literature examined here will focus on non parental adults including formal and naturally occurring mentors, who are oft en long members, family friends, teachers, counselors, coaches, and spiritual leaders (DuBois & Silverthorn, 2005; Hurd & Zimmerman, 2014; Sanchez, Esparza & Colon, 2008; Schwartz et al., 2013). The literature review will also focus on how these relationships with adults may impact the Five Cs and related positive outcomes. Competence specific areas including t Several studies have examined the association between academic and vocational outcomes and supportive , non -

PAGE 12

5 parental adult relationships. For example, Eby and colleagues found significant positi ve relationships between mentoring and attitudes toward school and academic achievement (Eby, Allen, Evans, Ng, & Dubois, 2008). Similar findings were obtained by DuBois, Holloway, Valentine, & Cooper ( 2002). Mentoring relationships can also have a positive impact on Competence for at risk youth, including those with dis a bilities. The Ahrens et al. (2010) longitudinal study included a national sample of 52 middle schools and 80 high schools, representative of U.S. schools by ethnicity, region, school size and type, and urbanicity. If the student was identified as having a specific learning disability or receiving special education services within the last year by a parent, they were included in the Youth with Learning Disabilities (YLD) category. Yout h were considered mentored if they responded positively to having an adult who made an important positive difference in their lives at any time (for at least two years) since the age of 12, other than parents or step parents. This study found YLD who were mentored were significantly more likely to report being high school graduates when compared with YLD who were not mentored. Exploratory analyses revealed that participation in post secondary education was significantly associated with being mentored. This and other studies suggest youth with mentors have the motivation to pursue educational and vocational goals (Ahrens et al., 2010; DuBois & Silverthorn, 2005; Schwartz et al., 2013). It should be noted , 19% of YLD who were mentored reported that their me ntors were teachers or guidance counselors ( Ahrens et al., 2010 ) . The association with high school graduation and mentorship was only apparent when the mentor was in a school based profession. Similarly, other studies, such as that by Sanchez et al. (2008) found the education level of

PAGE 13

6 mentors contributed to academic outcomes and higher education levels of mentors was predictive of higher grade point averages, greater educational aspirations and expectations in mentees. Confidence an internal sense of overall positive self worth, identity, and esteem is commonly measured in studies of mentorship and positive relationships. In fact, youth who had natural me ntoring relationships were more likely than those without them to have increased self esteem (DuBois & Silverthorn, 2005). Mentors and positive relationships with non parental adults in general , have also been found to have a positive influence on identity development, self , and self acceptance (Black., Grenard, Sussman, & Rohrbach, 2010; Hurd & Zimmerman, 2014; Reis & Diaz, 1999; Schwartz et al., 2013). Hurd and Zimmerman (2014) conducte d an analysis of natural mentoring relationships among 396 young adults . Participants were primari ly African American females with a GPA of 3.0 or below who had previously participated in a longitudinal study of high school incompletion. Over half of the study participants reported having a natural mentor who became important in their lives between the age of 14 and 16 (61%), while 16% reported having a mentor who became important between the ages of 17 and 19. Findings suggested long standing mentorin g relationships, with high average levels of closeness and face to face contact on average once a month, and mentoring relationships with high levels of closeness and frequent contact, defined as two to five times per week, contribute d to psychological wel l being. Participants in both groups reported perceptions of social support from friends and other important people in their lives and increased life satisfaction which may contribute to

PAGE 14

7 psychological well being over time. Both groups appeared to have equa l benefit as participants reported that they experienced more supportive relationships and life satisfaction than those without mentors and those with mentor relationships with low levels of relational closeness , shorter relationship length and infrequent contact. often cited study that utilized National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data and included both males and females of all race/ethnicity categories. This r esearch was limited to respondents who gave valid responses to the mentoring item and had data for all covariates. Findings indicated youth with natural mentoring relationships were more likely to demonstrate positive mental health outcomes. In this study, the longevity of the mentoring relationship appeared to be an important factor leading to beneficial outcomes, as the average length of reported relationships was 9.1 years. Perhaps contributing to the length of the relationships, mentors were also import ant figures in the daily lives of youth such as family members (>40%) and teachers or guidance counselors (26%), coaches , and religious leaders. Such naturally occurring mentoring relationships can creat e the opportunity for stronger and more influential b onds to develop. Such bonds can contribute to greater life satisfaction , psychological well being (i.e., heightened self esteem) , and physical well being, including increased engagement in physical activity and reduced problem behaviors such as assault, ga ng affiliation and risk taking (Black et al., 2010; DuBois & Silverthorn, 2005). Ahrens et al., (2010) examined self esteem within the domain of overall psychological well being along with depression to determine whether self esteem was affected by the pre sence of a naturally acquired mentor. Multiple logistic regressions examined the presence of a mentor as a predictor of individual outcomes and found a significant association between being

PAGE 15

8 mentored and scoring above the median on the self esteem scale for students , including those with learning disabilities. This is especially important given data suggest ing self esteem is associated with l ower probability for negative outcomes , including mental health problems and behaviors that are health risks (Ahrens e t al., 2010). Connection healthy, bidirectional exchanges between the individual and peers, family, school and community in which both parties Connection will be discussed as it relates to school belonging and relationships to peers. A sense of school belonging and educational engagement have been shown to increase when students have supportive adult relationships (Black et al., 2010). Sánchez, Esparza, and Colón (2008) conducted a study of natural mentorship includ ing 140 Latina/o seniors (primarily children of immigrants from Mexico and Puerto Rico) at an urban public high school . T he school had a 53% graduation rate and school education. School records were collected for the assessment of academic performance (grade point average and absenteeism) and participants self reported their educational aspirations and expectations, motivation , and sense of school belonging. Study findings indicated both f amilial mentors (e.g. , siblings and extended family) and nonfamilial mentors (e.g. , teachers and pastors) were related to fe wer school absences and a greater sense of belonging than those without mentors, as well as higher educational expectations and significantly greater expectancies for success (Sanchez et al., 2008) . The number of mentors (39% of students with mentors named at least two) was related to and predicted fewer absences

PAGE 16

9 and increased educational expectations and sense of school belonging, indicating more supportive adult relationships lead to a greater sense of belonging in the school community. Interestingly, wh ile longer relationships were likely to occur through familial connections, they were significantly related to lower educational levels of mentors. Longer relationship duration with familial mentors predicted a lower sense of school belonging and familial mentors were not related to higher educational expectations and expectancies for success. These findings suggest longer lasting relationships with familial mentors who have lower levels of educational attainment may not necessarily contribute to school con nection. Zimmerman, Bingenheimer, and Notaro (2002) conducted a study involving 770 adolescents from a large midwestern city, 52% of whom reported having a natural mentor. Participants had an 8 th grade GPA of 3.0 or below and were ninth graders in 1994. Students were excluded from this study if they were diagnosed as being either emotionally impaired or developmentally disabled . School attitudes were assessed in three components: school attachment, school efficacy , and school importance. Adolescents with natural mentors reported more positive school attitudes than those without. Natural mentors appeared to be a protective Student s who reported having a natural mentor were significantly more likely to report they like d school, believe d success in school is important, and felt capable of succeeding in school (Zimmerman et al., 2002) . Additionally, students with mentors reported sign ificantly higher levels of school attachment and school efficacy. In this study , the two most common types of natural mentors included extended family members (37.7%) and professionals (10%) who may have already had a relationship with the student, such a s coaches, counselors, teachers and ministers.

PAGE 17

10 Zimmerman et al. (2002) acknowledged the limitation of excluding students who were the highest academically achieving . However, Reis and Díaz (1999) conducted a smaller study and found high levels of connecti on among nine female students who were identified as high ability in an urban high school. The students met the following criteria: enrollment in an academic gifted program, or superior academic achievement as evidenced by high grades, teacher/counselor no mination, or receipt of academic awards and honors. This study , conducted over two and a half years, found that school connection presented itself as groups of high achieving peers who wanted academic success, remained together in honors classes as a commu nity , and offered each other encouragement and support. The girls exhibited a strong belief in self and they attributed this to factors including supportive adults and peer support among others. It seems students who have positive adult support also find p eers who hold them accountable for their academic success (Watson, Sealey of peers was acknowledged by all participants in some way and was described by most of the participants as contributing to their academic success . All participants also indicated their academic success would not have been possible without supportive relationships with adults. The majority of teachers who were identified as supportive , esteem, and overall well b eing. These findings demonstrate not only the impact of a supportive adult relationship on Connection, but also on the domains of Competence and Confidence. Character Character is defined as respect for societal and cultural rules, possession of standard s for correct behaviors, a sense of right and wrong, and integrity (Bowers et al., 2014, p. 309). Wilson, Cordier, and Wilkes Gillan (2014) conducted a qualitative study of four boys in Australia who were described as rude and disruptive by their teache rs. They participated in

PAGE 18

11 , a program that provided intergenerational mentoring through hands on community service projects. The boys ha d positive views of their interactions with the mentors , and also experienced personal satisfaction from participating in community service. Furthermore, their and in the mentoring program. They were later described as cooperative, polite , and mat ure and the ir transition advisor hypothesized the difference he observed was due to the relationships they formed with mentors , a s well as connection to school and their charact er development. Positive outcomes in character development are not isolated to smaller studies ; Black et al., (2010) examined a large convenience sample of 3,320 students from 65 high schools across eight states who were part of a larger trial of Project Towards No Drug Abuse (TND). The average age of participants was 14.8 years old and participants were equally male and female from various ethnic backgrounds. Findings suggested an inverse relationship between natural mentoring relationship scores and sub stance abuse and violence (demonstrative of character) through an indirect effect on school attachment. Both the Wilson et al. (2014) and Black et al. (2010) studies found a relationship between mentorship and Connection as measured by school attachment an d Character. Caring examining how supportive adult relationship s may impact the domain of C aring. T herefore, this construct will be discussed in terms of the characteristics of the influential adult, rather than student outcomes. However, i t will

PAGE 19

12 be inferred that students learn this characteristic from adults in the context of supportive relationships. When examining the c oncept of caring in non familial, supportive adult relationships, consideration of the definitions of the helping person in various studies can be insight ful (Munson et al., 2015) . The definition used by Ahrens et al., (2010) was the presence of an adult who made an important positive difference , excluding parents or step parents. Zimmerman, Bingenheimer, and , other than a family member or person who raised the youth , who provide d support and guidance , was consult ed about decisions and inspire d the youth . For the Bowers et al., (2014) study the definition was a non parent al adult with whom the youth fe lt able to talk to when they were having problems. Similarly, previous research has described formal and informal mentors as adults who were available to talk about personal and intellectual matters and provide social emotional support and guidance (Ahrens et al., 2010; Bowers et al., 2014; Zimmerman et al., 2002) such as the motivation to pursue educational and vocational goals (Deutsch et al., 2017; Reis & Díaz, 1999; Vaclavik et al., 2017; Watson et al., 2016) and instrumental support/practical assistance (e.g. , finding a job, support at court, managing mental health symptoms, etc.) ( M unson et al., 2015). Such characteristics are consistent with the concept of Caring in PYD. One recent study explored the characteristics of adults that facilitated relationships in community based mentoring programs focused on connected learning (Vaclavik , Sanchez, Buehler, Gray & Rodriguez, 2017) . Twenty six youth from five Chicago community based, out of school time programs participated in this qualitative study. These community based programs centered on connected learning which is comp o sed of academic s, peer relationships , and youth interests. Male and female youth who participated in a community based program for at least a

PAGE 20

13 few months were included in the study and participants ranged from high school freshman to college sophomores. Without being aske d directly about benefits, via focus groups, youth reported outcomes categorized into the following groups : social capital, a sense of empowerment and control of their futures, and a sense of acceptance and validation. They described adult support consisti ng of connection, emotional support, guidance, motivation, skill based support, role modeling, and cultivating youth voice. T hey described adults who went above and beyond and demonstrated caring. A study by Schwartz, Rhodes, Spencer, and Grossman (2013) examined the benefits of a caring adult with a vulnerable population of youth (N=1,173) between the ages of 16 and 18 . These youth had dropped out or were expelled from high school and were participating in an intensive residential program, the National Gu ard Youth ChalleNGe Program. Consistent with other research, t his stud y found the most enduring relationships were those with mentors who were chosen by the youth , were already involved in their daily lives ( e.g., family friends, extended family members, godparents, school and extracurricular staff, and religious leaders ) DuBois, & Silverthorn, 2005; Spencer, Gowdy, Drew, & Rhodes, 2019) and were of the same racial background (Hurd, & Zimmerman, 2014; Sánchez, Espa rza, & Colón, 2008). The longest lasting relationships (in contact at 38 months) were also those that demonstrated the most academic, behavioral , and vocational outcomes when compared to those in contact with mentors at 21 months and the control group. Par ticipants described mentors as supporting their success in (Schwartz et al., 2013) . Mentors encouraged perseverance in program completion and provided assistance for youth to maintain positive changes as a result of their program participation.

PAGE 21

14 Former systems youth (FSY) , including those who have been in foster care are among the most vulnerable to negative outcomes . Munson et al., (2015) conducted a study with a sample of 59 youth with mental health challenges between the ages of 18 and 25 who had a history of foster care. Seventy six percent of these participants identified a key helper/supportive adult relationship. Important characteristics of supportive relationships included availability and consistency. Regular contact with mentors appeared to contribute to trust, which is rare among this population. In interviews , the youth described feeling accepted, cared for, connected , and loved and reported they experienced empathy from their key he lpers. There was also a sense of reciprocity for many of the young adults who felt the relationships allowed them to contribute to and share with their key helpers (Munson et al., 2015) . These results indicate k ey helpers demonstrated Caring. Promoting Positive Youth Development Resiliency is comp o sed of quality relationships with primary caregivers and non caregivers alike, skills including problem solving, and access to opportunities and resources within the community (DuBois & Silverthorn, 2005). Othe r factors, such as the 5 Cs strengthen the resilience of at risk youth. DuBois and Silverthorn (2005) advocate for combining mentorship with other interventions that address risk and develop protective factors for youth. Previous research has begun to esta blish evidence that mentoring and supportive relationships with adults is associated with decreased risk and better outcomes in youth. The present study is intended to expand upon our knowledge base related to such relationships and Positive Youth Developm ent .

PAGE 22

15 CHAPTER III METHODS Participants The study sample consisted of 268 sixth through eighth grade students who attended a charter middle school in a large, urban school district in the rocky mountain region of the United States. The sample was roughly equivalent by gender (51% male). The thre e grade levels were also similarly comparable (36% in 7 th grade, 34% in 8 th grade , and 30% in 6 th grade. The students were from the following race/ethnicity groups: Hispanic (87.3%), African American/Black (6.7%), White/Caucasian (3.4%), and Asian (1.5%). Approximately 1% of the participants identified as American Indian/Alaska Native, Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian, or Multi racial. English Language Learner (ELL) status was as follows, ELL = 50%, non ELL = 40% and Re designated = 10%. Re designated status was defined as a student who no longer qualified for ELL services, but still required monitoring. Due to low numbers , Re designated status students were not included in the analys es . Exited students who no longer qualified for ELL serv ices or monitoring were included in the non ELL category. Fifteen percent of students in the sample received Special Education (SPED) services. Measure The Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) was created by the Partnerships in Education and Resilience (PEA R) Institute (Malti, Zuffiano, & Noam, 2017). This self report assessment tool is based on the Clover Model developed by Gil G. Noam. The Clover Model identifies four domains of adolescent development including Active Engagement, Assertiveness, Belonging, and Reflection and is intended to focus on student strengths and resiliencies, while also identifying challenges (Allen, Thomas, Triggs & Noam, 2017). The most recent version of the

PAGE 23

16 HSA (V.6.1) consists of 61 items (Allen et al., 2017). The HSA is used to provide individual, classroom, program, school and district level data regarding three constructs: Resiliencies, Relationships , and Learning and School Engagement (Malti et al., 2017). Information regarding the measurement of each construct is below. For the purposes of this study, only those scales that clearly align with one of the 5 Cs of P ositive Y outh D evelopment were included in the analyses. The seven Resiliencies are defined as follows: Action Orientation engagement in activities that are hands on and physical Emotional Control anger management and self regulation when in distress Assertiveness confidence in one s s elf; acting and speaking up for personal beliefs Trust perception of others as suppo rtive and worthy of trust Empathy acknowledgement of the emotions and experiences of others Reflection awareness of self, reaction to societal issues and inner thought processes Optimism The Relatio nships construct is composed of: Relationships with Peers connections with friends and peers that are positive and supportive Relationships with Adults positive connections and attitudes toward interactions with adults The five components of Learning and School Engagement are defined as follows: Learning Interest eagerness to obtain new knowledge Critical Thinking examination of ideas and information, autonomous thought Perseverance determination in problem solving and work amid obstacles Acad emic Motivation encouragement to do well in school School Bonding a sense of belonging and positive connections in school Sample items for each of th e resiliency areas are provided in Table 1. Table 1. Holistic student assessment sample items

PAGE 24

17 Resiliency Area Sample Item Action Orientation I like being active . Emotional Control I react to things so quickly I get in trouble . Assertiveness* I stand up for things that matter to me . Trust* People will help someone who is in trouble . Empathy* I like to help people with their problems . Reflection I try to understand the world I live in . Optimism I am happy with the choices I make in my life . Relationships with Peers* I have friends who care about me . Relationships with Adults** There are adults I look up to and admire . Learning Interest I am curious about new ideas. Critical Thinking I like to figure out how things work . Perseverance* When I try to accomplish something, I achieve it . Academic Motivation* I will get good grades on schoo l exams . School Bonding* I feel like people understand me at my school . *dependent variable in the present study ** independent variable in the present study The HSA was normed with a sample of over 5,900 children from the northeastern U.S. in grades 5 12. The HSA has demonstrated acceptable psychometric properties with Omega coefficients ranging from .76 to .91 and a robust factor structure (Malti et al., 2017). The HSA is administered electronically to students three times a year at the school that provided data for the present study : once in the fall/beginning of the year, once in the winter/mid year, and once in the spring/end of the year. Students provide their rating for each item using a four point Likert scale (0 = not at al l , 1 = sometimes , 2 = often , 3 = almost always ). Scores are expressed as a standard deviation (SD) score ( z score) based on age and gender norms. Z s cores one SD above average ( > 1.0) are classified as strengths and scores one SD below the mean ( < 1.0) are classified as challenges (Allen et al., 2017). For the purposes of this study, only data from the mid year administration were considered and included in the analyses to ensure that all students, including 6 th graders and transfer students were familiar with the HSA. Additionally, it is possible that the mid year

PAGE 25

18 year, versus an assessment given early in the fall. The response rate for the 2018 19 mid year admini stration was 86% (268 students). Procedure The HSA survey was administered electronically in January of 2019 as part of routine mid year data collection. The survey was given during the advisory (1 st ) block to 7 th and 8 th graders and during a later mornin g block to 6 th graders, to reduce missing data due to tardiness. Make up sessions for students who were absent during the initial administration were held during the advisory block the rest of the week. Teachers had the option to read the questions aloud t o students ; however, this was not a requirement of administration. Students we re shown a slide with directions for accessing the HSA and c ould choose to complete it in English or Spanish. Students enter ed their name, date, HSA access code (provided to them), age, and birthdate. They we re reminded there are no right or wrong answers and we re encouraged to be honest. Students we re also reminded th at they must complete the survey for any of their answers to be saved. Each teacher was instructed to administer the HSA in the same way . They explain ed what each answer choice means and were also provided with key definitions, in case questions arose. D ata can be viewed for each student individually and for the entire sample and can be filtered in various ways to view results by gender, grade, and ELL and SPED status. All data utilized in this study was provided by school staff in aggregate form on Micro soft Excel spreadsheets and did not contain any identifying information. Analysis A quantitative approach was utilized to answer the primary research question : Are Relationships with Adults scale scores significantly associated with other aspects of Positive Youth Development (5 Cs) ? Three Resiliencies from the HSA (Assertiveness, Empathy and

PAGE 26

19 Trust ), Relationships ( with p eers ) , as well as three components of Learning and Social Engagement (Academic Motivation, Perseverance, and School Bondi ng) were utilized as indicators of the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development . Prior to analyses, z scores from the HSA were dummy coded to indicate the presence of below average ( z scores < 1) and average or above average scores ( z scores > 1) for each of the variables of interest (Relationships with Adults, Relationships with Peers, Assertiveness, Empathy, Trust, Academic Motivation, Perseverance, and School Bonding). A multivariate ANOVA (MANOVA) was conducted with Relationships with Adults ( below average or average/above average), gender, grade, ELL status, and special education status as the independent variables. The HSA scales associated with the 5 Cs served as the dependent variables. Dependent variables included Relationships with Peers (Connection), Assertiveness (Confidence), Empathy (Caring), Trust (Connection), Academic Motivation (Competence), Perseverance (Character), and School Bonding (Connection).

PAGE 27

20 CHAPTER IV RESULTS Descriptive statistics are presented in Table 2. A multivari ate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to examine differences in scores on the HSA scales and the score on the Relationship with Adults scale. Assumptions were checked and met. Table 2. Relationships with Adults Descriptives Scale/Variables N Mean Std. Deviation Assertiveness Average and Above 189 .25 .90 Below Average 79 .83 .98 Total 268 .42 .96 Empathy Average and Above 189 .03 .92 Below Average 79 .96 1.01 Total 268 .26 1.05 Trust Average and Above 189 .24 .87 Below Average 79 .83 .84 Total 268 .07 .99 Relationships with Peers Average and Above 189 .04 .98 Below Average 79 1.12 1.10 Total 268 .36 1.13 Acade mic Motivation Average and Above 189 .28 .99 Below Average 79 1.22 1.13 Total 268 .56 1.12 Perseverance Average and Above 189 .27 1.02 Below Average 78 1.15 .91 Total 267 .53 1.07 School Bonding Average and Above 189 .24 .87 Below Average 79 1.01 .84 Total 268 .13 1.03 Statistically significant effects were obtained on each of the HSA scales included in the analyses (see Table 3). Consistently, students who scored average/above average on

PAGE 28

21 Relationships with Adults obtained average/above average scores on the variables associated with the 5Cs of Positive Youth Development (see Table 3). Table 3. Relationships with Adults and other scales MANOVA Scale/Variables Sum of Squares D f Mean Square F p value Assertiveness Between Groups 18.23 1 1 8.23 21.25 .000 Within Groups 227.88 266 . 86 Total 246.10 267 Empathy Between Groups 54.62 1 54.62 61.20 .000 Within Groups 237.40 266 ,89 Total 292.02 267 Trust Between Groups 64.38 1 64.38 87.29 .000 Within Groups 196.17 266 .74 Total 260.55 267 Relationships with Peers Between Groups 65.24 1 65.24 62.92 .000 Within Groups 275.83 266 1.04 Total 341.07 267 Academic Motivation Between Groups 48.55 1 48.55 45.38 .000 Within Groups 284.61 266 1.07 Total 333.16 267 Perseverance Between Groups 42.50 1 42.50 43.17 .000 Within Groups 260.87 265 .98 Total 303.37 266 School Bonding Between Groups 87.23 1 87.23 Within Groups 197.95 266 .74 117.2 .000 Total 285.18 267

PAGE 29

Results also indicate a significant main effect for Special Education s tatus on the following HSA scales: Assertiveness , F( 1, 267) = 6.68, p =.009; Trust , F( 1, 267) = 6.57, p <.011; and Perseverance , F( 1, 267) = 5.13, p <.025. Results indicate that students w ho receive special education services obtained significantly lower scores on each of these scales. In other words, students in special education were significantly more likely to rate themselves below average in each of these area s . No other significant main effects nor any significant interactions among the independent variables were observed.

PAGE 30

23 CHAPTER V DISCUSSION AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS Research has provided ample evidence that youth who have a variety of protective factors experience more positive outcomes. Such protective factors include supportive, positive relationships with peers and adults ( Kesselring, De Winter, Van Yperen, & Lecluijze, 2016 ). Positive Youth Development (PYD) emphasizes the promotion of better outcomes for youth by building on their strengths and providing supports and opport unities that foster the achievement of goals and developmental tasks (U.S. Department of Human Services, 2018). The Five Cs model, the most widely known and researched conceptualization of PYD, focuses on Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, and Caring (Bowers et al., 2010). This model has been useful in examining the bases of healthy development among youth (Lerner et al., 2005). The present study e xamin ed how supportive adult relationships are related to the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development as measured by the Holistic Student Assessment (H SA ) . A MANOVA was conducted to examine reported scores on Relationships with Adult s and other HSA scales associated with the 5 Cs . These scales included Relationships with Peers (Connection), Assertiveness (Confidence), Empathy (Caring), Trust (Connection), Academic Motivation (Competence), Perseverance (Character), and School Bonding (Connection). Results indicated s tatistically significant r esults for each of the above HSA scale s . S tudents who reported average / above average Relationships with Adults were more likely to also report average / above average Academic Motivation, Assertiveness, Empathy, Perseverance, Relationships with Peers, School Bonding , and Trust. These results indicate supportive

PAGE 31

24 relationships with adults are indeed related to the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development ( Caring , Character, Competence , Confidence and Connection ) . The findings of the present study are generally consistent with results of previous research suggest ing supportive relationships with non parental adults may enhance PYD ( Bowers et al., 2014) and the character development of youth (Black et al., 2014). While previous research examining how supportive adult relationships impact the domain of C aring is scant , the present study suggests that having such relationships corresponds to increased awareness of the emotions and experiences of others and a sense of satisfaction w hen helping others with their problems (Malti et al., 2017) . This increase in empathy and sympathy for others may be related to the modeling of empathy occur ring in supportive relationships, as adults provide support and guidance to youth in both academic and personal matters (Ahrens et al., 2010; Bowers et al., 2014; Zimmerman et al., 2002) . Youth with average / above average Relationships with Adults as measured by the HSA survey indicated they have adults they look up to, they talk to adults if they have problems and feel adults are interested in what they have to say. This is consi s tent with findings from the study by Munson et al., (2015) in which young adults described feeling cared for in reciprocal relationships where their supportive adults offered empathy. Character also appears to be associated with supportive adult relationships as students who reported average / above average Relationships with Adults on the HSA also indicated aver age / above average Perseverance, or the ability to be successful when attempt ing to achieve a goal. Perseverance corresponds with Character in the PYD model, as students demonstrate morals, integrity and respect for expectations and standards in cultural and societal contexts

PAGE 32

25 ( Bowers et al. , 2010) . The findings of the present study are also congruent with the study conducted by Wilson et al., (2014) which indicate d that having supportive adult relationship s was related to increased maturity, manners , and cooperat ion . Furthermore, results of previous research suggest natural mentoring relationship s, through an indirect effect of school attachment were inversely related to engagement i n risky behaviors including substance abuse and violence. Such studies e.g., Wilson et al. , 2014 ; Black et al. , 2010) found a positive relationship between mentorship and Character. It appears that supportive adult re lationships help youth develop positive dispositions and as a result, decreas e the likelihood of involvement in activities that are harmful T he association between positive academic outcomes (Competence) and supportive, non parental adult relationships has been affirmed (Eby et al. , 2008 ; DuBois et al., 2002 ) for youth considered at risk, including those with disabilities ( Ahrens et al. , 2010) . Studies have suggested that t hrough these relationships, students find motivation and support to demonstrate academic competence ( DuBois & Silverthorn, 2005; Schwartz et al., 2013) . In alignment with this research, participants in the present study who reported supportive relationships with adults indicated average / above average levels of encouragement to do well in school. They positively endorsed HSA Academic Motivation demonstrating confidence in their competence an d ability to be successful at school . The link between supportive adult relationships and Confidence has been well documented ( Black., Grenard, Sussman, & Rohrbach, 2010; Hurd & Zimmerman, 2014; Reis & Diaz, 1999; Schwartz et al., 2013 ) . In the presen t study, Confidence was measured by the HSA Assertiveness scale . This scale asked participants about the confidence they have in themselves

PAGE 33

26 to act and speak up for things that matter to them (Malti et al., 2018) . Consistent with previous research, findings revealed those with average / above average Relationships with Adults also had average / above average Assertiveness. Previous studies (Hurd & Zimmerman, 2014; DuBois & Silverthorn, 2005) have found youth with natura l mentoring relationships were more likely to demonstrate positive health outcomes including psychological well being (i.e., heightened self esteem) and physical well being . Findings suggest Confidence, a greater sense of identity, positive feelings about appearance, self worth and higher self esteem (Bowers et al., 2014) are related to supportive adult relationships and correspond with increased healthy behaviors and reduced problem behaviors (Black et al., 2010; DuBois & Silverthorn, 2005). The present this existing research. A ccording to its definition by Bowers et al., (2014) , Connection consists of positive bonds with schools and other institutions, as well as healthy, reciprocal relationshi ps with family, peers and community. Th e present study found average / above average Relationships with Adults was associated with similar levels of Trust, School Bonding and Relationship s with Peers (Connection) . These results a re not surprising as Munson et al. ( 2015 ) documented that regular contact with supportive adults/mentors appeared to contribut e to trust for former systems youth with mental health challenges. It seems the perception of others as supportive and worthy of trust (Malti et al., 2 018) impacts relationships with adults, peers and institutions and allows for more connections in various contexts . Other studies have also found that a sense of school belonging or connectedness increase d when students ha d supportive adult relationships ( Black et al., 2010 ; Sánchez et al., 2008 ; Zimmerman et al., 2002) . Consistent with previous research (e.g., ( Reis &

PAGE 34

27 Díaz , 1999 ; Watson et al., 2016) findings of t h e present study suggest connections with friends and peers that are positive and supportive are related to connections with supportive adults . This study also examined the association between HS A scales and various demographics. A significant main effect was found for students who receive special education services, as they were signif icantly more likely to have below average scores Perseverance and Trust scales, signifying impact on Confidence, Character , and Connection in the PYD model . Specifically, students in special education are more likely to experience low Confidence including self efficacy, self esteem and self worth (Lerner et al., 2005) . This finding was independent of ratings on the Relationships with Adults scale. This suggests that such relationships did not serve as protective factors for students in special education. The se findings differ from Ahrens et al. (2010) who found youth with learning and emotional disabilities who had a naturally acquired mentor were more likely to score higher on the sel f esteem scale than those who did not have a mentor. This may be explained by methodological differences . For example, p articipants in the Ahrens et al. study were in 7 th 12 th grade when questionnaires were first administered. Wave III of data collection in that study occurred approximately 6 years later and included a significantly larger sample size ( N = 1,714 ) than the present study. It was during Wave III that participants reported the presence (for at least two years) of an adult who made a significant positive impact in their lives since the age of 12 (Ahrens et al., 2010) . T he age of a typical middle school population such as that in the current study , ranges from 11 13 y ears old ; therefore, it is not likely that any of the students who completed the HSA have experienced supportive adult relationships for two years since age 12.

PAGE 35

28 Students who receive special education services were more likely to have below average scores in on the Perseverance scale of the HSA, indicating less confidence to work and problem solve through challenges. The findings of Schwartz et al. (2013) indicated that m entors selected by vulnerable youth (those who dropped out or were expelled from high school ) encouraged the ir perseverance , especially as it related to ChalleNGe program completion . However academic outcomes such as such as GED completion, high school diploma s and college credit were associated with long standing mentoring relationships ( in contact with mentors for 38 months ). Ahrens et al. (2010) and Schwartz et al. (2013) both examined at risk populations and found supportive adult relationships that lasted at least 2 3 years were related to positive outcomes; this suggests that supportive relationships over time will lead to positive outcomes in the areas of Confidence, Competence , and Character for students in special education . Although reports of the presence of adult relationships did not make a difference for participants in special education in the present study, such relationships may have an impact if they are longer term. The HSA Trust scale was one of three domains used in the present study to assess Connection. The tendency for students in special education to indicate below average perceptions of others as supportive and trust worthy is especially troubling. If trust impacts relationsh ips with peers , adults and institutions , particularly school, then it can be inferred that students who receive special education services experience a disconnect on all three levels. Bowers et al., (2014) found that Connection was associated with the pres ence of a supportive non parental adult, especially for youth with certain parenting profiles , while Munson et al. (2015) reported vulnerable youth, specifically, those who had been in the foster care system, are in need of and desire healthy socio emotion al connections . Further consideration should be given

PAGE 36

29 to this area of Positive Youth Development , because it may be a domain that changes with age. Malti et al. (2017) reported that a decline in trust occurs during late childhood and middle late adolescence . More research in this area and comparisons between students who receive special education services and those who do not, may be especially insightful.

PAGE 37

30 Limitations The findings of the present study must be considered within the context of several limitations. One of these l imitations relates to the relatively small sample size consisting of the student body of one urban charter middle school. As such, findings cannot be generalized to suburban or rural contexts. Other potential limitations of the current study relate to its research design. Due to the reliance on analysis of variance, questions regarding causation cannot be addressed here. For example, it cannot be implied from the current findings that adult rela tionships lead to positive outcomes. Further, d ata was only collected at one point in time for the present study , so it was not possible to analyze trends over time . Another limitation is related to the measure used in the study, the Holistic Student Assessment (HS A ). A s a self report instrumen t, findings are based solely ratings and are not supplemented with any other information such as other assessment scores, grades, parent or teacher ratings . Further research examining other supplemental data may provide a more accurate and robust depiction of youth development in addition to their perceptions as re p or t ed via HSA ratings. Additionally, the HSA was not specifically design ed t o assess the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development model and as such, the connections between the two were inferred fr o m HSA scales that included items that appeared to align with these concepts . Future research should explore the association of supportive adult relationship s with the 5Cs using a tool specifically designed to measur e these variables. Finally, the HSA does not collect specific information regarding the supportive relationships youth have with adults, or about the se adults themselv es. Previous research has indicated that the nature and duration of such relationships, as well as the characteristics of the

PAGE 38

31 adults may impact outcomes. Specific supplemental questions may be helpful in determining how such variations may impact the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development .

PAGE 39

32 Conclusions and Implications Th e findings of th e present study indicate that supportive relationships with adults are related to the Five Cs of Positive Youth Development . Results also demonstrate students who receive special education services are significantly more likely to report lower levels of some of these protective factors. These r esults aligned with Ahrens et al. (2010) who reported that students with learning /emotional disabi lities fare worse educationally, emotionally and physically when compared with those who do not have learning/emotional disabilities. Previous research, as well as the present study suggest s intentionally cultivating supportive adult relationships with non parental adults may lead to better outcomes . Based on these preliminary findings, a promising strategy to promot e Positive Youth Development in students w ho lack positive relationships with adults, is the opportunity for long term mentoring . Enduring relationships are critical , as the longevity of the relationship and frequent contact have been associated with beneficial outcomes (Ahrens et al . , 2010; DuBois & Silverthorn , 2005 ; Hurd & Zimmerman , 2014 ; Schwartz et al., 2013 ) . Supportive adult relationships are especially important for more vulnerable students including those who receive special education services, because these individuals are at risk for more negative outcomes. M entoring intervention s require purposeful relat ionship building, such as youth initiated mentoring in which students identify a trusted adult they already know to serve as their mentor (Spencer et al., 2019). This is an important consideration for schools that develop and implement mentoring programs for their students. Further, m entors require training to understand their role and expectations (Spencer et al., 2019) , such as prioritizing consistency in the relationship . Training must include strategies for handling crises, and information about

PAGE 40

33 relati onal (Munson et al., 2015) emotional and academic needs. A s such, mentoring programs implemented in the school setting must include a training component for mentors. This is especially true for those who will mentor at risk populations such as those in special education or former systems youth. Furthermore, a focu s on developing self confidence and self esteem, perseverance and trust among students who receive special education services is suggested.

PAGE 41

34 REFERENCES Ahrens, K., DuBois, D. L., Lozano, P., & Richardson, L. P. (2010). Naturally acquired mentoring relat ionships and young adult outcomes among adolescents with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 25 (4), 207 216. Do (i:10.1111/j.1540 5826.2010.00318.x Allen, P.J., Thomas, K., Triggs , B., Noam, G. G. (2017). The Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) Technical Report. Belmont: MA, The PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education and Resilience. Black, D. S., Grenard, J. L., Sussman, S., & Rohrbach, L. A. (2010). The influence of school base d natural mentoring relationships on school attachment and subsequent adolescent risk behaviors. Health Education Research, 25 (5), 892 902. doi:10.1093/her/cyq040 Bowers, E. P., Johnson, S. K., Buckingham, M. H., Gasca, S., Warren, D. J. A., Lerner, J. V. , & Lerner, R. M. (2014). Important non parental adults and Positive Youth Development across mid to late adolescence: The moderating effect of parenting profiles. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43 (6), 897 918. doi:10.1007/s10964 014 0095 x Catalano, R. F., Berglund, M. L., Ryan, J. A., Lonczak, H. S., & Hawkins, J. D. (2004). Positive Youth Development in the United States: Research findings on evaluations of Positive Youth Development programs. The annals of the American academy of politica l and social science , 591 (1), 98 124 Deutsch, N. L., Reitz Krueger, C. L., Henneberger, A. K., Valerie A Futch Ehrlich, & Lawrence, E. C. (2017). "it gave me ways to solve problems and ways to talk to people": Outcomes from a combined group and one on one mentoring program for early adolescent girls. Journal of Adolescent Research, 32 (3), 291. doi:10.1177/0743558416630813 DuBois, D. L., Holloway, B., Valentine, J., &Cooper, H. (2002). Effectiveness of American Journal of Community p sychology, 30, 157 197. DuBois, D. L., & Silverthorn, N. (2005). Natural mentoring relati onships and adolescent health: Evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health, 95 (3), 518 524. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2003.031476

PAGE 42

35 Eby, L. T., Allen, T. D., Evans, S. C., Ng, T., &DuBois, D. L. (2008). Does mentoring matter? A multidisciplinar individuals. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 72, 254 267. Hurd, N. M., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2010). Natural mentors, mental health and risk behaviors: A longitudinal analysis of african american adolescent s transitioning into adulthood. American Journal of Community Psychology , 46 , 36 48. Hurd, N. M., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2014). An analysis of natural mentoring relationship from important others. American Journal of Community Psychology, 53 (1), 25 36. doi:10.1007/s10464 013 9598 y Jackson, I., Sealey Ruiz, Y., & Watson, W. (2014). Reciprocal love: Mentoring black and latino males through an ethos of care. Urban Education, 4 9 (4), 394 417. doi:10.1177/0042085913519336 Kesselring, M. C., de Winter, M., van Yperen, T., & Lecluijze, S. (2016). Partners in Parenting: An Overview of the Literature on Parents' and Nonparental Adults' Perspectives on Shared Responsibilities in Child rearing. Issues in Social Science , 4 (1), 69 97. Eye, A. von. (2005). Positive Youth Development , Participation in Community Youth Development Programs, and Community Contributions of Fifth Grade Adolescents: Findings From the First Wave Of the 4 H Study of Positive Youth Development . The Journal of Early Adolescence , 25 (1), 17 71. https:// doi.org/ 10.1177/0272431604272461 Malti, T., Zuffianò, A., & Noam, G. G. (2018). Knowing every child: Validation of the holistic student assessment (HSA) as a measure of social emot ional development. Prevention Science, 19 (3), 306 317. doi:10.1007/s11121 017 0794 0 Munson, M. R., Brown, S., Spencer, R., Edguer, M., & Tracy, E. (2015). Supportive relationships among former system youth with mental health challenges. Journal of Adole scent Research, 30 (4), 501 529. doi:10.1177/0743558414554803 Reis, S. M., & Díaz, E. (1999). Economically disadvantaged urban female students who achieve in schools. The Urban Review, 31 (1), 31 54. doi:10.1023/A:1023244315236 Rhodes, J. E., & DuBois, D. L. (2008). Mentoring relationships and programs for youth. Current Directions in Psychological Science , 17 (4), 254 258.

PAGE 43

36 Rhodes, J. E., Spencer, R., Keller, T. E., Liang, B., & Noam, G. (2006). A model for the influence of mentoring relationships on youth development. Journal of Community Psychology, 34 (6), 691 707. doi:10.1002/jcop.20124 Sánchez, B., Esparza, P., & Colón, Y. (2008). Natural mentoring under the microscope: An investigation of mentoring relationships and latino adoles cents' academic performance. Journal of Community Psychology, 36 (4), 468 482. doi:10.1002/jcop.20250 Schwartz, S. E. O., Rhodes, J. E., Spencer, R., & Grossman, J. B. (2013). Youth initiated mentoring: Investigating a new approach to working with vulnerab le adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 52 (1), 155 169. doi:10.1007/s10464 013 9585 3 Shenton, A. K. (2004). Strategies for ensuring trustworthiness in qualitative research projects. Education for Information,22 (2), 63 75. doi:10.3233/ef i 2004 22201 initiated mentoring relationships with system involved youth. Journal of Adolescent Research, 34 (1), 3 29. doi:10.1177/0743558418755686 Vaclavik, D., Sánchez, B., Buehler, K., Gray, T., & Rodriguez, E. (2017). How to support me in connected learning: Youth perspectives on adult supportive behavior and its benefits. Journal of Community Psychology, 45 (7), 906 921. doi:10.1002/jcop.21901 Watson, W., Sealey Ruiz, Y., & Jackson, I. (2016). Daring to care: The role of culturally relevant care in mentoring black and latino male high school students. Race Ethnicity and Education, 19 (5), 980 1002. doi:10.1080/13613324.2014.911169 Wilson, N. J., Cordier, R., & Wilkes Gillan, S. (2014). Men's sheds and mentoring programs: Supporting teenage boys' connection with school. International Journal of Men's Health, 13 (2), 92. doi:10.3149/jm h.1302.92 Zimmerman, M. A., Bingenheimer, J. B., & Notaro, P. C. (2002). Natural mentors and adolescent resiliency: A study with urban youth. American Journal of Community Psychology, 30 (2), 221 243. doi:10.1023/A:1014632911622 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2018) Positive Youth Development . Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent development/positive youth development/inde x.html