Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Thomas R. Lee


Thomas R. Lee


Deborah Ascione


Low interpersonal skill level in younger youth has shown to lead to higher rates of delinquent behavior in older adolescents. Utah State University Extension established a program titled Youth and Families with Promise (YFP). This is a research-based mentoring program where mentors were screened, matched to individual youth, and activities planned that focus on 8 of the Search Institute's 40 assets. The program provided services for 156 at-risk youth ages 7 to 16 in six Utah counties, 66 of whom completed a pretest and posttest assessment. This research-based, intervention/prevention program has shown that the interventions used were effective in building skills in youth, assisting them in planning for the future, making better decisions, and resolving conflict nonviolently. This research evaluates three of those eight assets: problem solving, decision making, and peaceful conflict resolution.

Participating college-age mentors from the same six counties were matched with one or two at-risk youth. Group family activities based on the three assets were held monthly. By using a youth self-assessment pre- and posttest survey and a posttest survey for parents, teachers, and mentors, the program was evaluated. This research project is a study of the YFP at-risk youth mentoring program during an 8-month period.

Although results were not statistically significant, youth gained more assets and had a higher score on the posttest, with the exception of four items: avoidance of making decisions, hanging out with troubled friends, doing what friends want even if it will get them into trouble, and pushing back when they themselves are pushed.