Author: Chak, Lai Yan Yammy
Title: Impact of a positive youth development program on adolescents with economic disadvantage in Hong Kong
Advisors: Shek, Daniel (APSS)
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2019
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Poor children
Youth -- China -- Hong Kong -- Growth
Youth development -- China -- Hong Kong
Department: Department of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: x, 482 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Since 2005, the Project P.A.T.H.S., a large-scale youth enhancement program, was implemented for 14 years in over 300 secondary schools in Hong Kong. While systematic evaluation findings have demonstrated that the program could promote holistic youth development and reduce risk behaviors amongst adolescents, it is important to ask what impact the program would have on adolescents experiencing economic disadvantage. This question is particularly meaningful in view of the worsening poverty situation in Hong Kong. Against this background, this study explored the perceptions of adolescents experiencing poverty on the program's effectiveness and their personal changes over time after participating in the 3-year positive youth development (PYD) program. This is a pioneering research study in Hong Kong adopting a post-positivistic research paradigm for evaluating the impact of the PYD program on this neglected population. In this mixed methods study, an integrated evaluation model, combining Stufflebeam's CIPP model and Kirkpatrick's 4-level evaluation model, was used as a framework. First, individual interviews were conducted with 31 Secondary 5 students who had previously engaged in the Project P.A.T.H.S. from Secondary 1 to 3. Second, repertory grid methodology was subsequently conducted to examine respondents' perceptions of their self-identity after joining the program. Third, for the purpose of triangulation, subjective outcome evaluation questionnaires were used to capture not only the economically disadvantaged participants' views of the program, implementers and benefits (N=31), but also the students who participated in the program for 3 years (N=541).
Several key observations were drawn from the findings. First, triangulation based on integration of the quantitative and qualitative evaluation strategies revealed that the subjective outcome evaluation of the economically disadvantaged participants on the program and instructors of the Project P.A.T.H.S. was generally positive at a delayed time point in the project. Constructive feedback was received from most respondents. Second, while economically disadvantaged youth did not strongly mention that the Project P.A.T.H.S. could help them deal with poverty, most had a positive perception of the Project and found a number of perceived benefits for their psychosocial development after completion of the project. Besides, there was tentative support that the subjective outcome evaluation findings were more positive amongst the poor than the non-poor students. Third, many economically disadvantaged participants agreed that the knowledge and skills learned during Project P.A.T.H.S. were helpful and practical. They explicitly shared how they applied what they had learned in real life contexts. Fourth, with reference to the 6Cs: Character, Competence, Confidence, Connection, Contribution and Compassion, the findings revealed that the perceived effectiveness brought positive personal changes for economically disadvantaged youth. Fifth, the three factors: Program, People and Process, are critical for the positive personal changes of the economically disadvantaged participants. The present study has several theoretical implications regarding the role of the local PYD program and its impact on the economically disadvantaged adolescents' psychosocial development. These findings also provide practical insight into the implementation strategies of local school-based programs in the context of poverty. The limitations and recommendations of this study, together with suggestions for future research are also identified.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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