Positive Youth Development Research

For more than 10 years, 4‑H has partnered with Tufts University to study the effectiveness of its youth development programs.

This first of its kind research study found that 4‑H’s unique hands-on approach gives kids the opportunity to learn by doing and build life skills.

4‑H Study of Positive Youth Development is a longitudinal study that began in 2002 and was repeated annually for eight years, surveying more than 7,000 adolescents from diverse backgrounds across 42 U.S. states.

Tufts Positive Youth Development Research Reports

Full Report

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Wave 9 Report

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Fact Sheet

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Positive Youth Development Student Questionnaire

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A 4‑H Experience Leads to Success in Life

A national online survey of more than 6,000 former 4‑H members suggests that alumni benefit significantly from their 4‑H experience over the course of their lives — socially, physically, emotionally and economically. The study was fielded May 15 – July 22, 2019 by Edge Research and funded by National 4‑H Council.

Download the resources below to learn more and view the survey findings.

Resources

Survey Infographic

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Presentation of Survey Findings

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Packaged design files are available for 4‑H Extension to download. To download packaged design files, users will be asked to log in to the Marketing Online Resource Center.

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Healthy Living Research

National 4‑H Council has conducted several recent research initiatives to better understand how youth approach healthy living in their families and communities, how kids and teens are affected by national and global challenges, and young people’s understanding of food, nutrition, and health equity.

4‑H Youth Mental Health Survey

Mental health is a significant issue for young people in the U.S. with teens calling for more openness on mental health issues.

National 4‑H Council commissioned a survey to explore teens’ perceptions and experiences around mental health. The survey, which polled over 1,500 diverse youth ages 13-19 nationwide, explored the role of resilience in mental health along with gathering youth perspectives on the state of mental health issues in their community and the nation. The survey was conducted online from May 4 to May 14, 2020.

Download the survey results below to learn more.

Key Findings:

  • 81% of teens say mental health is a significant issue for young people in the U.S., and 64% of teens believe that the experience of COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on their generation’s mental health.
  • In this stressful climate, 7 in 10 teens have experienced struggles with mental health.
  • 55% of teens say they’ve experienced anxiety, 45% excessive stress,  and 43% depression.
  • 61% of teens said that COVID-19 pandemic has increased their feeling of loneliness.
  • Teens today report spending 75% of their waking hours on screens during COVID-19.
  • 82% of teens calling on America to talk more openly and honestly about mental health issues in this country.
  • 79% of teens surveyed wish there was an inclusive environment or safe space for people in school to talk about mental health.
4-H youth doing a science activity

Full PDF Report

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Summary Graphic Download

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Best Practices White Paper: Walmart Foundation

Walmart’s investment of over $13 million across the last decade has provided more than 1 million youth and families with important nutrition education. The investment has also built the capacity of 4‑H educators, providing them with tools and training to help them reach underserved audiences in African, Latino and Native American communities with culturally relevant programming.

4‑H Healthy Habits White Paper

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Healthy Habits White Paper Reflection

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Teens Take on Health Resources

Executive Summary: Teens Take On Health

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Teens Take On Health Comprehensive Report

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Study of Teens Take On Health Initiative

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Teens Take On Health Infographic

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Teens Take On Health Video Finalists

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Additional Healthy Living Research

Provides best practices and an assessment of needs in the 4‑H Healthy Living programming.

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Healthy Living Research Complete Literature Review

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Dr. Laura Downey and Dr. Donna Peterson from Mississippi State University conducted an environmental scan of 4‑H Healthy Living Programs in healthy eating, physical activity and alcohol-drug-tobacco intervention in 2013, identifying 78 programs. Of these, 20 were identified as having strong evidence for national replication.

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Professional and Volunteer Needs Assessment

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Walmart and United Healthcare Combined Data Summary

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4‑H Science Research

During 2007 and 2008, 4‑H National Headquarters and National 4‑H Council began work with the nation’s Land-Grant Universities (LGU) to develop a plan of action for 4‑H Science programming and outline the LGUs’ goals, objectives and strategies for implementing 4‑H Science within their states. National 4‑H Council also contracted independent researchers to evaluate the outcomes of the 4‑H Science initiatives.

Conducted in the fall/winter of 2008, Evaluating the 4‑H Science Initiative was designed to evaluate six major areas of LGUs and their implementation 4‑H Science programming

In early 2009, 4‑H also evaluated and measured the youth experience in the areas of science, engineering, technology and applied math (STEM), resulting in the Youth, Engagement, Attitudes and Knowledge (YEAK) Report.

4‑H Programs Attract Youth to STEM

4‑H STEM programs are proven to get kids excited about science by offering fun, hands-on activities which builds confidence and fosters interest in STEM-related careers.

4‑H STEM Infographics

STEM 1 - The State of American Youth

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STEM 2 - The State of America's Workforce

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STEM 3 - 4‑H Hands-On Programs Attract Youth to STEM

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STEM 4 - Top Ways to Attract Youth to STEM

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National 4‑H Science Initiative

Evaluating the 4‑H Science Initiative

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4‑H Science Logic Model

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A Multi-Tiered Approach to Evaluating a Nonformal Youth Development Program

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YEAK Study

Year 3 Full Report

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Year 3 Brochure

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Year 2 Full Report

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Year 2 Brochure

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Year 1 Full Report

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Year 1 Brochure

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Implementation Study

Year 3 Implementation – Full Report

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Year 3 Implementation – Brochure

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Year 2 Implementation – Full Report

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Year 2 Implementation – Brochure

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Year 1 Implementation – Full Report

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Year 1 Implementation – Brochure

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Enrollment Report

Year 4 Enrollment Report

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Year 3 Enrollment Report

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Year 2 Enrollment Report

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Tier 2 Study: Priming the Pipeline

Lessons from Promising 4‑H Science Programs

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Brochure

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National 4‑H Science Initiative

Summary Observations from an Evaluation

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4‑H Science Initiative from Inception to Impact

4‑H Science Initiative from Inception to Impact, a comprehensive new report which reviews the multi-year impact of the 4‑H efforts, lessons learned and ideas for developing more promising programs in the future. The initiative has been a truly collaborative effort, led by 4‑H National Headquarters, land-grant faculty from the Cooperative Extension System and National 4‑H Council.

Full Report

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Executive Summary

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