Validation Evidence of a Positive Youth Development Scale Among Latin American Adolescents

Kiera Coulter, Melissa Y. Delgado, Rajni L. Nair, Lorey A. Wheeler, Rayni Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The positive youth development (PYD) framework orients developmental scholarship to focusing on youth’s strengths rather than deficits, however, validity evidence on PYD measures among ethnic-minority youth is limited. Objectives: The objectives of the current study were to (a) examine the factor structure of a PYD measure within a Latin American adolescent sample and (b) test associations between PYD constructs and adjustment indicators. Methods: The sample included 288 Latin American students from the Southwest (M age = 13.69 years, SD = 0.56; 47.7 female; 86.3% U.S.-born). Participants reported their PYD (i.e., Competence, Confidence, Character, Connection, and Caring) and academic performance. Mothers reported on youth’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors. The internal structure of the PYD measure was assessed through confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) and model comparisons. Criterion evidence was evaluated via regressions between the Five C’s, academic performance, internalizing, and externalizing behaviors. Results: The five-correlated factor structure best fit the data with certain modifications. Character was negatively associated with externalizing behavior. All C’s were positively related to academic performance. Conclusions: The results provide empirical support for the five-correlated factor model within a sample of Latin American adolescents, but modifications were necessary to maximize model fit. Dropping items within the values diversity subscale highlight the need for cultural assets within PYD measurement models for ethnic-minority youth, to best reflect their appraisals of diversity as minoritized individuals. Additionally, our findings suggest that the C’s are salient to specific indices of Latin American adolescents’ adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalChild and Youth Care Forum
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Adolescents
  • Latin American/Latino/Latina/Latinx
  • Measurement
  • Positive youth development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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