Public Opinions of Youth Development Programs

Scott D. Scheer


A state-wide survey was conducted in a Midwestern state with randomly selected adults (n=1229) to determine their perceptions of youth program importance, effectiveness, and activity structure (competitive and/or cooperative). Public opinion was overwhelmingly supportive in describing youth programs as “very important” (64.5%) for promoting youth development. However, indications of program effectiveness for preventing adolescent problem behaviors (55.5% “somewhat effective”) were not as strong. In addition, cooperative-structured activities (74.8%) were preferred over competitive-oriented activities (16.7%) as having more positive results for youth development. Implications for practitioners, policy makers, and social scientists are discussed.


public opinions; youth development; youth programs

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