Exploring the implementation of Positive Youth Development in a New Zealand youth development programme context.
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Positive Youth Development (PYD) comprises three interrelated aspects: (1) a developmental process, (2) an approach to youth programmes, and (3) specific instances of organisations or youth programmes that aim to promote positive or healthy development among adolescents. New Zealand has committed to a PYD approach to youth development; however, there is yet to be any research exploring the implementation of PYD in New Zealand youth programmes. The present study explored the application of PYD in 24-7 YouthWork, a nationally implemented New Zealand youth development programme. More specifically, the objectives of this study were to (1) evaluate whether a PYD approach is reflected in the 24-7 Youth Work programme; (2) examine if stakeholders in different roles within 24-7 and across different schools concur about the PYD programme components that 24-7 is promoting; and (3) explore additional strengths and potential challenges that 24-7 Youth Work has that are outside of the PYD framework. An in-depth review of the key PYD theoretical and applied literature was conducted to establish an integrated PYD programme framework. Using Deductive Qualitative Analysis (DQA), this PYD programme framework was then applied in an evaluation of three Christchurch-based 24-7 YouthWork programmes. Nine participants (3 from each programme) representing three important roles in the 24-7 programme (former participant, youth worker, and school professional) were interviewed about their experiences with 24-7 YouthWork and their perceptions of the programme’s objectives, accomplishments, and challenges. Substantive individual differences in participants’ perceptions of the facilitation of PYD through 24-7 were evident. However, the results strongly confirmed that 24-7 facilitates a number of outcomes of positive development through the assets associated with the youth workers, the promotion of positive adult-youth relationships, incorporating resources from the school and the community, opportunities for life skill development, and creating opportunities for self-determination or youth empowerment. The findings suggest that this approach is a feasible alternative when experimental evaluation approaches are not practical due to the variability commonly present in youth development programmes. Overall, the current study has contributed to best-practice youth development in New Zealand, as evidenced by the identification of a distinct PYD approach in 24-7 YouthWork. Further, this research has provided a platform for future research in this area, to use this integrated PYD programme framework in the evaluation of other youth development programmes.