Positive Psychology

Positive Youth Development in 4-H

The 4-H Youth Development Organization grounded in positive youth development (PYD). All 4-H activities are expected to foster one or more of the PYD attributes: belongingness, mastery, independence, or generosity. While research has demonstrated strong outcomes on a variety of PYD outcomes, the mechanisms for achieving those outcomes have not been identified. This has been our quest.

It starts with belonging… Megan Zurawski’s (’15) doctoral dissertation evaluated the PYD foundation for 4-Hers who had developmental disabilities. Her work suggested that experiencing mastery, independence, and generosity is predicated on first experiencing belonging.


4-H Record Books: Members of the Bikos RVT developed and delivered an intervention around traditional and alternative formats of the 4-H Record Book. If the intervention is adopted by 4-H we dream about an evaluation where we predict that participation in record booking will increase hope and belongingness in 4-H youth. As an aside, Phase I has involved FB-like interactions with 4-Hers.