The Impact of Parental Involvement on a Structured Youth Program Experience: A Qualitative Inquiry


  • Mat D. Duerden Brigham Young University
  • Peter A. Witt Texas A&M University
  • Christopher J. Harrist Texas A&M University



Parental involvement is an often proposed, but rarely researched, key element of youth programs. Questions remain regarding the impact of parental involvement on program processes and outcomes. Qualitative data were collected over a one-year period with youth participants (n=46), parents (n=26), and teachers (n=5) associated with an international immersion/service learning program for adolescents. Three main research questions guided the data analysis: (1) what role does parental involvement play in the youths’ experience in the program; (2) how does parental involvement in the program influence the parent/child relationship; and (3) what role does parental involvement play in terms of the program’s long-term impact on the youth participants? Findings suggest a relationship between parental involvement in youth programs and improved parent/child communication, bonding, and perceptions of one another. Findings also suggest that having a common ground experience prolonged the experience’s positive post-participation effects.






Research & Evaluation Studies