Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 442–453 | Cite as

Youth–Adult Partnerships and Youth Identity Style

  • Heather L. Ramey
  • Linda Rose-Krasnor
  • Heather L. Lawford
Empirical Research


Youth–adult partnerships (e.g., youth leading programs, participating as members of advisory boards) are a common and widely recommended practice in youth work and youth-serving program settings. Although researchers have suggested that these opportunities contribute to youth’s identity development, empirical evidence is lacking. In the current study, we tested associations between identity style and degree of youth voice, collaborative youth–adult relationships, and youth’s program engagement in 194 youth participating in youth–adult partnerships (M age = 17.6, 62 % female). We found that these characteristics of youth–adult partnerships predicted higher informational identity style, although only program engagement emerged as a unique predictor. Furthermore, exploratory analysis indicated that these associations were moderated by the type of organization. The findings suggest the need for more research on the multiple dimensions of youth–adult partnerships and their association with youth functioning, as well as pointing to the importance of the broader organizational context of youth–adult partnerships.


Youth–adult partnerships Identity Youth voice Engagement Organizational context 



This research was supported in part by a scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to the first author and a grant from Humber’s Staff Initiated Research Fund to the first and third authors.


This study was funded by a scholarship to H R from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (award number 752-2009-1597), and a grant from Humber’s Staff Initiated Research Fund to H R and H L (award number 2013‐011).

Author Contributions

H R conceived of the study, conducted data collection and analysis, and drafted the manuscript. L R K conceived of the study, participated in the plan and interpretation of the analysis, and participated in drafting the manuscript. H L participated in the design and interpretation of the analysis and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors participated in the design and coordination of the study. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Conflict of interest

All authors, declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Ethical approval for the study was obtained through Brock University and Humber’s Research Ethics Boards. All procedures performed in the studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. All authors, H R , L R K , and H L , affirm that the manuscript is in compliance with the Tri-Council Policy Statement guidelines for ethical conduct of research involving human participants.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather L. Ramey
    • 1
    • 2
  • Linda Rose-Krasnor
    • 3
  • Heather L. Lawford
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Social and Community ServicesHumber Institute of Technology and Advanced LearningTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Child and Youth StudiesBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyBishop’s UniversitySherbrookeCanada

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