Deutsch and Futch hypothesize that schools and youth programs are important settings for the formation of youth-adult relationships. They suggest that the quality, culture, and structure of these settings may facilitate or challenge the initiation and longevity of youth-adult relationships.
Parents play critical roles in the lives of youth. Cross-sectional studies suggest that other adults can serve as role models, sources of support, and guides for navigating transitions. Little is understood, however, about how these relationships develop to provide instrumental and emotional support to adolescents. Deutsch and Futch hypothesize that schools and youth programs are important settings for the formation of youth-adult relationships. They suggest that the quality, culture, and structure of these settings may facilitate or challenge the initiation and longevity of youth-adult relationships. A major goal of this study is to identify resources within youth, the youth-adult dyad, and settings that encourage and sustain youth-adult relationships. The investigators will map youth-adult relationships across settings and examine how the size, quality, and composition of youth’s networks of relationships with adults shift as they transition to new grades and schools. The investigators will also take an in-depth look at the ways adults provide instrumental and emotional support to youth. Finally, the investigators will probe for qualities of the organizational structure and setting that may facilitate or hinder YARs. Two cohorts of 20 youth will be sampled from several different after-school settings with different focal activities. The sample will also include youth who are not employed or engaged in formal after-school activities. One cohort will be followed starting in the 7th grade, the other starting in the 10th grade. Two non-parental adults per youth, each from a different setting, will also be included. The study will use a mixed-methods longitudinal design to follow both cohorts of youth for 24 months. Deutsch and Futch will interview the youth and the adults over the course of the study. Social network data will be used to create maps depicting the adolescents’ relationships with adults. Ethnographic observations of youth-adult relationships will occur four times across the setting.