Trajectories of Trust Within the Youth Program Context

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Abstract

Two topics commonly referenced within theories of Positive Youth Development (PYD) are supportive relationships with adults and the youth program context. This paper examines the trajectory of youth’s trusting relationships with adults at project-based programs. High-school-age youth at 7 arts, leadership, and technology programs retrospectively constructed graphical representations of their trust in a youth program leader across time. When coupled with interview data, analysis of the 48 graphs that youth constructed provide a window into the arc of supportive relationships with nonfamilial adults through the words of youth making meaning of their trust in adult leaders over time. The study has theoretical implications for PYD and methodological implications for research on how aspects of PYD change over time.

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