Date of Award

May 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Member

Edmond P. Bowers

Committee Member

Denise M. Anderson

Committee Member

Mariela Fernandez

Committee Member

Mary Ann Taylor


The rates of participation in out-of-school time (OST) programs have risen substantially for all youth. High quality OST programs offer youth opportunities for developmental growth through participation in a variety of ways, including building life skills, providing leadership experiences, and offering opportunities to build relationships with their peers and important non-parental adults. Research in OST programming has found that youth may gain differential benefits from participating in different types of OST activities, with many youth reporting that they participate in more than one OST activity or program. OST programs have also been noted for their ability to promote aspects of positive youth development (PYD) in participants; however, there is little research looking at the benefits of participation across multiple OST programs. Youth-adult relationships in a youth’s life has been found to have an important impact on their development and functioning, and particularly on aspects of academic achievement and character building. To better understand the dynamics of the youth-adult relationships in a mentoring context, Rhodes (2005) devised the Youth Mentoring Model. Although this model is commonly used within the mentoring field, it is not typically applied to OST programming research. Therefore, the purpose of this quantitative study was (1) to better understand the relations among youth participation in OST programming, youth-adult relationships, and PYD outcomes; and (2) to test the Rhodes’ (2005) youth mentoring model using a sample of youth who indicated that they had an important non-parental adult in their lives. The sample was comprised of Black and White youth residing in South Carolina (54.1 % female/45.9% male). Results indicated that, if youth were active in OST programming, they participated in three main activities: Sports, Church Youth Group, and Outdoor Activities in Parks and Other Natural Areas, with over half of the sample (50.4%) falling into one main profile consisting of these three activities (Palmetto Youth). The second largest group of youth based on OST program participation profile fell into a Low Involvement profile group, with both the Palmetto Youth and the Low Involvement groups comprising 79.9% of the sample. Additional latent profiles uncovered the OST activity-focused groupings labeled Mentored Youth, Academic Oriented youth, and Highly Involved youth. Results indicated that regardless of their OST program participation profile, most youth reported having an important non-parental adult in their lives to help them with some or most of their problems; however, this rate was significantly lower for youth in the Low Involvement group. Youth in the Low Involvement group also exhibited lower levels of academic achievement and character in comparison to the other profiles. Youth race and gender did not moderate the effects of OST program participation profiles on PYD outcomes of academic achievement and character. Testing of the Rhodes’ (2005) model uncovered that emotional closeness with an important non-parental adult was indirectly linked to academic achievement and character through intentional self-regulation. Relationships with peers were found to be indirectly related to academic achievement through intentional self-regulation and social competence.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.