Date of Award:

7-2013

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Troy E. Beckert

Abstract

Volunteerism is an important component in the 4-H program. It was initially used as a method to help agents reach the many youth interested in participating in 4-H. Community service has since become a required component for every club project. Research shows that volunteering can impact youth in many different ways. Other research shows that 4-H youth are more likely to contribute or do some type of community service. The present study uses the Modified Extended Version of the Object Measure of Ego Identity Status (EOMEIS), the Cognitive Autonomy and Self-Evaluation (CASE) inventory, and an instrument specifically designed to study 4-H involvement and volunteerism to look at Utah 4-H. In order to more fully understand how volunteering in 4-H impacts youth, this study focused on adolescents (age 14-25) who have participated in the Utah 4-H program. The study had two main goals: (1) to discover the demographic characteristics of 4-H volunteers during middle and late adolescence, and (2) to focus on 4-H volunteering and its relationship to autonomy and identity achievement. This could be then be used to determine future programming changes to the Utah 4-H program. The results of this study indicated that 4-H adolescents were most likely to be from rural communities and 16 and 17 years old if still in high school or 23 to 25 years old if they had graduated from high school. Academic grades for high school participants did not seem to make a difference in if they volunteered or not. Those members who were involved for longer periods of time or those that considered 4-H a significant part of their life were more likely to continue to volunteer. Individuals who participated in events held on the national and county level were most likely to continue volunteering, but less likely to volunteer if they participated on the state level. Identity status and cognitive autonomy were not significantly related to volunteerism. However, trends did show that they could possibly be impacted in some way. A larger sample could play a role in determining if it were just a trend or if there was a significant relationship. It may also help to study 4-H participants versus non 4-H participants or 4-H volunteers versus non 4-H volunteers to determine if the 4-H program has an impact on identity status and cognitive autonomy.

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