At-Risk Youth in After-School Programs: How Does Their Use of Media for Learning About Community Issues Relate to Their Perceptions of Community Connectedness, Community Involvement, and Community Support?


  • Rosemary V. Barnett University of Florida
  • Jeffrey C. Neely University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • Caroline Payne-Purvis University of Florida
  • Gerald R. Culen University of Florida



This paper highlights a study examining the impact of various media formats on at-risk youth to identify forms of media technology that might impact their community connectedness, community involvement, and community support. Over a three-year period, a sample of 133 youth enrolled in after-school programs in two communities completed a questionnaire annually consisting of the following areas: community support, community involvement, community connectedness, and media use for learning. Linear regression analysis indicated media use for learning about community issues was a predictor of student’s perceptions of community support, community connectedness, and community involvement. The media format most identified for gaining knowledge about community issues by the youth was the Internet, while the use of print media increased over the course of the study. The most significant relationships were found between media use and perceptions of community overall with the most significant gains in media use during Y2, where youth knowledge of community issues increased.






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