Youth Motivations for Program Participation

Jenifer K. Mcguire, Jodi Dworkin, Lynne M. Borden, Daniel F. Perkins, Stephen T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Through their participation in youth programs, young people have
access to opportunities to learn and build important skills. A total of 214 youth
between the ages of 10-19 (mean 15.5 years) completed an online survey about
characteristics of youth programs they participated in, didn’t participate in, and had
participated in but quit. We found that youth participated in activities that provided
a benefit to meet personal goals or develop skills. However, our findings suggest
that youth may leave activities, or never join them, based on different sets of
motivations than the reasons they stay in activities. There was variability across
demographic groups: Males reported more problems with past activities, sexual
minority youth were more likely to endorse social problems with past and never
joined activities, and ethnic minorities reported less support for personal goals and
connection to adults in current activities and more logistic barriers for activities
never joined.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-25
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Youth Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016


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