Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

William M. Kurtines

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Mary Levitt

Third Advisor's Name

Wendy Silverman

Fourth Advisor's Name

Patricia Telles-Irvin

Date of Defense



This study reports one of the first controlled studies to examine the impact of a school based positive youth development program (Lerner, Fisher, & Weinberg, 2000) on promoting qualitative change in life course experiences as a positive intervention outcome. The study built on a recently proposed relational developmental methodological metanarrative (Overton, 1998) and advances in use of qualitative research methods (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000). The study investigated the use the Life Course Interview (Clausen, 1998) and an integrated qualitative and quantitative data analytic strategy (IQDAS) to provide empirical documentation of the impact the Changing Lives Program on qualitative change in positive identity in a multicultural population of troubled youth in an alternative public high school. The psychosocial life course intervention approach used in this study draws its developmental framework from both psychosocial developmental theory (Erikson, 1968) and life course theory (Elder, 1998) and its intervention strategies from the transformative pedagogy of Freire's (1983/1970).

Using the 22 participants in the Intervention Condition and the 10 participants in the Control Condition, RMANOVAs found significantly more positive qualitative change in personal identity for program participants relative to the non-intervention control condition. In addition, the 2X2X2X3 mixed design RMANOVA in which Time (pre, post) was the repeated factor and Condition (Intervention versus Control), Gender, and Ethnicity the between group factors, also found significant interactions for the Time by Gender and Time by Ethnicity.

Moreover, the directionality of the basic pattern of change was positive for participants of both genders and all three ethnic groups. The pattern of the moderation effects also indicated a marked tendency for participants in the intervention group to characterize their sense of self as more secure and less negative at the end of the their first semester in the intervention, that was stable across both genders and all three ethnicities. The basic differential pattern of an increase in the intervention condition of a positive characterization of sense of self relative to both pre test and relative to the directionality of the movement of the non-intervention controls, was stable across both genders and all three ethnic groups.





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