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16-03-2016 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 3/2017

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 3/2017

The Impact of the Project K Youth Development Program on Self-Efficacy: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 3/2017
Kelsey L. Deane, Niki Harré, Julie Moore, Matthew G. R. Courtney
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s10964-016-0463-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


A key issue for youth development programs is whether the learning they provide is transferred to participants’ daily lives. It is also important that they are effective for the diverse range of participants they attract. This study used a randomized controlled trial design to measure the impact of Project K, a New Zealand-based youth development program, on academic and social self-efficacy. Project K combines a 3-week wilderness adventure, a 10 day community service component, and 1 year of mentoring to promote positive growth in 14–15 year olds with low self-efficacy. At baseline, the evaluation included 600 Project K (46 % female) and 577 Control participants (48 % female) and revealed that Project K was effective in improving both social and academic self-efficacy from pre- to post-program with effects being sustained 1 year later. Parents’ perceptions of changes in the participants’ interpersonal skills supported these findings. Differential program effects were found across participant subgroups, particularly 1 year after program completion. The implications of these differences are discussed.

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