The “Dream Teens” Project: after a Two-Year Participatory Action-Research Program
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This study presents the evaluation of a youth participatory action-research project, developed with Portuguese youth, providing a framework for youth’s ideas to be heard, promoting their social participation and engagement in contexts and political scenarios in the areas of health, well-being and active citizenship. In this study of the Dream Teens project, were included all those adolescents that were present in the First and in Second Dream Teens National Meeting, and therefore could fill the pre and post evaluations (N = 46). In this group, 78.3% were girls, with a mean age of 16.13 (±1.89) from which were attended High School (65.2%). A factorial analysis, including all items from the various instrument used identified five factors: Feelings and competencies for action, Competencies for problem resolution, Interpersonal skills, Humanitarianism and Feelings towards life. Comparisons in the five dimensions at the end of year 1 and at the end of year 2 reveal no significant differences. Contrarily, the Dream Teens’ perceptions at the end of year 1 and 2 revealed positive differences. Individual perceptions of improvement were positive in many areas either in the end of year 1 and in the end of year 2, as well as the reported involvement in civic and voluntary activities and future expectations. In sum, although the great majority of youth involved in the program reported positive outcomes as their personal perception, when comparing the results reported in the pre and post evaluation, no significant differences were revealed. This result calls for reflection, although perceiving themselves as more positively enabled, the positive changes were not strong enough to enable the adolescents to cope better in their life scenarios, or simply they did not change, they just liked the program. The results of the qualitative study using in depth interviews (ongoing) will give more clues about what happened.
KeywordsActive citizenship Health promotion Youth engagement Youths “voice” Youth participatory action-research project Well-being
To the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation for financial support, the Portuguese Society of Health Psychology, the Faculty of Human Kinetics/University of Lisbon, the Escolhas Program, the IPDJ - Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth, the Aventura Social team (http://www.aventurasocial.com) and the Dream Teens group (www.dreamteensaventurasocial.blogs.sapo.pt).
Branquinho, C. receives a PhD grant from The University of Lisbon (UL) (Grant Number 800178), and Matos, M. G. a Sabbatical grant from the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) (SFRH/BSAB/135160/2017).
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