​Adapting and Validating Measures of Adolescent Connectedness and Character Development for Use in Kenya​


Director: Amina Abubakar

Institution: The Aga Khan University

Linked to adolescent wellbeing, connectedness paves a pathway to positive character development. To develop appropriate interventions, researchers need comprehensive measures for assessing character traits in diverse contexts.

One such method is the Hemingway measure of adolescent connectedness. It examines the scope of connectedness—self, family, school, neighborhood—and adolescent experiences. Studies on the Hemingway's effectiveness have examined its use in Western settings. But little to no research has applied it to non-Western settings, such as Africa.

Led by Amina Abubakar, this project focuses on establishing the reliability and validity of the Hemingway for diverse settings in Kenya. In doing so, it aims to develop a comprehensive set of measures to evaluate adolescents' connectedness, optimism, empathy, and civic engagement. To determine the program's success, findings will then be applied to school and community settings.

This research uses a five-step approach to adaptation and development. Activities will include scoping reviews, qualitative participatory approaches, and a quantitative survey. The total study sample will include almost two thousand adolescents and more than one hundred key informants.

With the potential to provide formative data, the study serves as a benchmark for future character development interventions in diverse cultural contexts. Through various activities—conference presentations, journal publications, stakeholder meetings, and multi-media approaches—the findings will reach a broad audience.


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