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08-10-2018 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 3/2019

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 3/2019

Factor Structure and Criterion Validity of the Five Cs Model of Positive Youth Development in a Multi-University Sample of College Students

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 3/2019
Melissa R. Dvorsky, Michael J. Kofler, G. Leonard Burns, Aaron M. Luebbe, Annie A. Garner, Matthew A. Jarrett, Elia F. Soto, Stephen P. Becker


There is growing recognition that clinical and developmental outcomes will be optimized by interventions that harness strengths in addition to ameliorating deficits. Although empirically-supported methods for identifying strengths are available for children and adolescents, this framework has yet to be applied to emerging adulthood. This study evaluates the nature of the Five Cs model of Positive Youth Development (PYD) – character, confidence, competence, connection, and caring – in a sample of emerging adults from six universities (N = 4654; 70% female; 81% White). Historically, PYD has been modeled as either separate correlated factors or a second-order factor structure. More recently, the bifactor model has been recommended to determine the degree to which PYD is unidimensional versus multidimensional. The present study examined the multidimensionality of PYD by comparing the model fit of a one-factor, five-correlated factor model, and second-order factor structure with a bifactor model and found support for the bifactor model with evidence of invariance across sex. Criterion validity was also assessed using three criterion measures particularly relevant for adjustment during emerging adulthood: anxiety, depressive symptoms, and emotion regulation difficulties. PYD and the residual Cs tended to correlate negatively with indicators of maladaptive development. Future directions including applications of the PYD framework as a measure of thriving across emerging adulthood are discussed.

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