OPPORTUNITY ROLE STRUCTURE, SOCIAL SUPPORT, AND LEADERSHIP: PROCESSES OF FOSTER YOUTH ADVISORY BOARD PARTICIPATION

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Abstract

Youth aging out of foster care constitute a vulnerable and understudied population. In spite of evidence that suggests civic participation may be an empowering, developmental process for youth in the general population, few community psychology studies have investigated civic participation among youth aging out of state systems. This qualitative study used in-depth interviewing with foster Youth Advisory Board leaders as the primary means to explore this intersection. Triangulated data collection also included (a) descriptive survey research with youth leaders, (b) in-depth interviewing and descriptive research with civic youth workers/adult coordinators, and (c) nonparticipant observation of Youth Advisory Board meetings. Directed content analysis revealed 3 emergent themes (civic literacy, Youth Advisory Board as family, and privileged positions) related to foster youth civic participation. These themes are assumed to support and extend processes allied with intraorganizational empowerment (opportunity role structure, social support, and leadership). Implications for policy, practice, and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)904-918
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Volume44
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016

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