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Title:Adult Leader Qualities as Predictors of Adolescent Social Competence
Author(s):Wilkins, Michelle L.M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ebata, Aaron T.
Department / Program:Human Resources and Family Studies
Discipline:Human Resources and Family Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Abstract:It is often assumed that participation in leisure activities structured by adults promotes social competence in youth. Previous research has not illuminated the mechanisms by which structured leisure activities (SLA's) should promote social competence in youth, and very little research has examined the ways that adults can be more effective as they work with adolescents. This study investigated links between the quality of adult leaders of SLA's and adolescent social competence in rural White/Anglo and Hispanic/Latino youth. Social competence was operationalized in terms of Community Involvement and Interpersonal Competence. Adolescents with adult leaders in grades 6, 7, and 8 were surveyed (n = 368). To accomplish the purpose of the study, a new measure of leader quality, the Leader Quality Survey for Adolescents (LQSA), was devised, and its factor structure, reliability, and validity were examined. The LQSA contained 24 items grouped into six subscales representing important dimensions of leader quality, which were originally derived from focus groups with rural adolescents. Covariance structural analyses were used to investigate links between leader quality and social competence. Path analyses were also conducted within each gender and preliminary path analyses were conducted within each ethnic group. The results of the study indicated that paths linking total scores on the LQSA to social competence were positive and significant, indicating that adolescents who rate their leaders as of high quality are more likely to report being involved in their communities and more likely to report higher levels of interpersonal competence. With the exception of the Confidence subscale, paths linking individual subscale scores on the LQSA to social competence were all non-significant, indicating either: (1) Being confident is the most important quality for adult leaders to have or (2) The whole group of leader qualities together has a greater effect on adolescent social competence than any single quality. No gender differences in the magnitude or direction of the paths were found. The two ethnic groups were more similar than different, however, high scores on the LQSA predicted Community Involvement more strongly for Hispanic/Latino adolescents than for White/Anglo adolescents. The new LQSA was found to be both a reliable and valid measure, however, further research should be conducted to refine the new scale. It is hoped that the LQSA will become a useful tool for training and recruiting adult leaders of SLA's.
Issue Date:1999
Description:125 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9921755
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:1999

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