On a Pathway Towards Thriving: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Tools to Promote Positive Development and Intentional Self Regulation in Youth


  • Edmond P. Bowers Tufts University
  • Christopher M. Napolitano Tufts University
  • Miriam R. Arbeit Tufts University
  • Paul Chase Tufts University
  • Samantha A. Glickman Tufts University
  • Richard M. Lerner Tufts University
  • Jacqueline V. Lerner Boston College




This article provides initial data about the reliability and validity of tools aimed at promoting youth intentional self regulation (ISR) within mentoring programs. Based on the translation of the theory-based research about ISR and youth thriving conducted within the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development (PYD), the GPS to Success tools use the metaphor of a car’s GPS navigational system to enhance goal-directed behaviors among youth. The core GPS tools are “growth grids,” designed to help mentors appraise ISR skill development and to link these skills to other grids assessing the Five Cs of PYD and Contribution. Data from 152 mentor and youth pairs from 4-H program sites in Oregon and North Carolina indicated that the growth grids were generally reliable. Although validity evidence was mixed, rubrics for “G” and “P” and for a global GPS score were related to a well-validated measure of ISR.






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