Adolescet self-regulatory and psychological capacities: A 12 month longitudinal study of the impact on positive youth development
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Positive youth development (PYD) refers to a focus on the developmental characteristics that lead to positive outcomes and behaviours among young people (Benson, 2003). The Five Cs Model of PYD (Lerner et al., 2005) is the most empirically supported measure of PYD (Heck & Subramaniam, 2009). However, concerns remain about the indicators used to operationalize the Five Cs PYD Model across adolescence, the manifestation of PYD across age and gender, and the generalizability of PYD measures outside of North America. Furthermore, the role of self-regulation, specifically intentional goal-directed behaviour, operationalised through the SOC model (Freund & Baltes, 2002), has been delineated as the primary mechanism through which PYD occurs (Lerner et al., 2001). However, a number of specific criticisms regarding the role of the SOC model in PYD have been identified, including; 1) relationships between SOC and positive and negative outcomes are weak; and 2) social and emotional aspects of self-regulation are omitted from the SOC model. The primary aims of this thesis were; (1) to assess the psychometric properties of the PYD measure in an Irish context; (2) develop a new measure of prosocial values; and (3) evaluate a new model of adolescent self-regulation and PYD. Using a dual-process model framework, the hypothesised model proposed that prosocial values, resistance to peer influence, emotion regulation, and future orientation are central to adolescent self-regulation and positive development. Analyses using confirmatory factor analyses, reliability analyses, tests of validity (e.g., convergent, known-groups, predictive over 12-months), and multigroup analyses were conducted on the Five Cs measure of PYD, which revealed good psychometric properties in an Irish adolescent sample (N = 672; Males = 387, Females = 284, gender not reported = 1). In addition, Structure Equation Modelling (SEM) was used to test the Adolescent Self-Regulation Model both cross-sectionally and longitudinally over 12-months. Prosocial values, autonomy from peers, and adaptive emotion regulation were identified as significant predictors of positive development. Limitations, theoretical and practical implications of this research, and directions for future research, are outlined.
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