Did students apply what they had learned from a positive youth development program in their real-life situations?

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-414
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal on Disability and Human Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


A focus group study was conducted to investigate how adolescent participants perceived and applied the positive youth development (PYD) constructs in their lives during and after joining a two-year PYD program. The longitudinal study attempted to answer two related questions: How effective was the P.A.T.H.S. Project (Phase III) in helping junior secondary school students develop their competencies and skills in terms of PYD constructs? How well did the students apply what they had learned from the program in their real-life situations? Two waves of data collection with a total of 13 focus group interviews were conducted from six schools with the help of the social workers who carried out the project. In wave 1 data collection, a total of 59 participants from six schools (37 males; 22 females) joined ten focus groups immediately after the completion of the first-year program. Among them, 16 participants from three schools (8 males; 8 females) who completed the second-year program were successfully recruited to join in three focus groups in wave 2 data collection one year after wave 1 data collection. Thematic analysis was used to identify students' recognition and application of PYD constructs in real-life situations. Inter-rater reliability analyses revealed that the coding of students' perceived learning was reliable. From the answers to questions on the experiences gained from the project, most participants perceived the program positively and could give examples related to some PYD constructs to illustrate what they had learned. Selected participants were invited to share concrete examples of application of the PYD constructs after participating in the program. The sharing revealed their development in terms of knowledge, attitude and skills in different PYD constructs.

Research Area(s)

  • Adolescent, Hong Kong, Positive youth development, Project P.A.T.H.S, Qualitative study

Bibliographic Note

Month information for this publication is provided by the author(s) concerned.