Abstracts Fall 2007

Fall 2007, Vol. 12, No. 2
ISSN 1540 5273

Recruiting college students to be youth mentors

Kathy Dimick,Utah State University Extension System; Brian J. Higginbotham, Stacey MacArthur, Utah State University; Monti Poulson, Utah State University Extension System


Mentoring programs are becoming an increasingly popular intervention to promote positive youth development. However, in the United States there are more at-risk youth than there are mentors. One concentrated source of mentors is students on college and university campuses. This article discusses the recruiting strategies employed by one Extension-sponsored mentoring program. The three strategies outlined have been instrumental in securing committed and caring college-aged mentors. Full Text

Rites of passage during adolescence

Scott D. Scheer, Stephen M. Gavazzi, The Ohio State University; David G. Blumenkrantz,  Center for the Advancement of Youth, Family, and Community Services, Inc.


The literature on rites of passage in adolescence is reviewed, with particular attention given to the essential components for positive developmental outcomes. Three human development orientations – life course, life span, and life cycle – are presented to examine rites of passage as they relate to life transitions. Within these orientations, positive rites of passage are framed as requiring both events and cognitive processes of the event. In other words, rites of passage events must be significant for adolescents not only as experiences, but having special meaning, emotion, and understanding. A model is introduced that highlights the potentially positive and negative roles that rites of passage can play in the transition to adulthood. In addition, investigations are discussed to help understand the complex rites of passage mechanisms. Finally, the benefits of employing rites of passage strategies are illustrated through youth development programs. Full Text

Family life educators supporting pediatricians with parenting information

Karen DeBord, Rebecca Stelter, North Carolina State University


Pediatricians report seeing 40 to 60 patients per day. Many parents of these patients have specific questions about behavioral and developmental issues such as discipline, sleep, nutrition, and toileting, all of which are topics that family life educators are prepared to address routinely. Collaboration between Extension educators and pediatricians can benefit patients, parents, and pediatric practices, as well as family life education programs. Full Text

Adolescent nutrition and exercise behavior: A preliminary investigation into the role of parental communication quality

Kay M. Palan, Mary Lynn Damhorst, Iowa State University, Jennifer Paff Ogle, Colorado State University; Cheryl O. Hausafus, Cheryll A. Reitmeier ,Iowa State University ; Grace Marquis, McGill University


This paper addresses an issue that has received little attention within the literature: the role that parents play in shaping children’s nutrition and exercise beliefs and behaviors. Of particular interest was the influence of parental style and the quality of parent-child communication upon children’s nutrition and exercise beliefs and behaviors. Twenty family units with a child in middle school were studied during home visits. Data were collected with a survey instrument, including measures related to parent-adolescent communication quality, warm and restrictive parenting styles, adolescent nutrition concern, adolescent weight loss behaviors, and adolescent exercise commitment and satisfaction. Results suggest that adolescents’ nutrition concerns were positively related to good communication quality and restrictive parenting behaviors, and they support the significance of parental communication on adolescents’ nutrition and exercise attitudes and behaviors. Implications for education and intervention are identified. Full Text

Morality and money: Relating character and values to financial education in grades K-4

Thomas A. Lucey, Illinois State University; Duane M. Giannangelo, The University of Memphis; Jeffrey M. Hawkins, Oklahoma State University (Tulsa Campus); Julia A. Heath, Michael M. Grant, The University of Memphis


This study examines the inclusion of a moral component to teaching financial education to children in grades K-4. Comparisons were made between current financial education areas and suggested moral items. Morality was defined and measured by modifying items from the courtesy, generosity, and sportsmanship subscales of Bulach and Butler’s (2002) survey. The study found that levels of agreement with financial morality items were similar to the levels of agreement with the generally accepted areas. Findings must be extended to a larger sample for confirmation or refutation, using a more extensive measure of financial morality. The authors invite further examination into the prospect of developing moral tenets within financial education. Full Text

Got Calcium? – A youth curriculum that promotes dairy and non-dairy sources of calcium

Martha Raidl, Rhea Lanting, Katie Miner, Joey Peutz, University of Idaho


Most children are not meeting dietary calcium requirements. To address this issue, a four-lesson youth curriculum called Got Calcium?, which promotes dairy and non-dairy calcium-rich foods, was developed. Two hundred and thirty-two students and 196 family members participated in the study. After four lessons, students significantly increased (p<0.001) their knowledge of calcium and calcium-rich foods. A parent take-home food frequency form revealed that students’ current intake of calcium came from dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt) products. By the end of the four lessons, approximately 40 percent to 70 percent of students selected non-dairy calcium-rich foods (kale, greens, tofu, and salmon) when planning calcium-rich meals. Full Text

Strengthening Families Through Military 4-H Partnerships

Debra A. Jones, Joanne Roueche, Utah State University Extension


Extension, 4-H, and the military have been partners since World War I.  Through the recent decade, the U.S. Army, Air Force, and 4-H have partnered to provide positive youth development on military installations involving over 7,000 youth in 4-H clubs in the U.S. and abroad.  In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, a new initiative extends this same support to military youth and families who are not affiliated with military installations, but who are dispersed in rural, urban, and suburban communities across the nation through the National Guard and Reserve.  All youth involved through military outreach are enrolled as 4-H members through their  respective counties.  As the program becomes more widely known, counties integrate these youth in local, state, regional, and national 4-H activities and events.  Authors share their experience developing relationships, implementing positive youth development programs, and explain how these successful actions resulted in funding sources for increased outreach. Full Text

Youth Teaching Youth: Evaluation of the Alcohol/Tobacco Decisions cross-age teaching program

Carly Emil, Jodi Dworkin, Carol Skelly, University of Minnesota Extension


The Alcohol/Tobacco Decisions (ATD) program was developed by the Extension Service in a midwestern state. The program’s unique format of cross-age teaching uses local high school students to instruct fourth-grade students, rather than the typical teacher-to-student format. The ATD program operates under the 4-H model of promoting positive youth development and older youth teaching younger youth. To begin to evaluate the effectiveness of the ATD program in changing students’ knowledge of alcohol, tobacco, and advertising, students completed a pre- and post-test. This pilot evaluation yielded statistically significant improvements in knowledge in all content areas. Future directions for evaluation of cross-age teaching programs are explored. Full Text



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