Character and Thriving Among Kenyan Youth: A Novel Measure for Use with Street Children and Youth Enrolled in Schools
Most current research on the development of character strengths focuses on a subset of domains in Western contexts. This project broadens the horizons of character research by exploring those character strengths of greatest importance to the lives of young people in Kenya and the contextual milieu in which they are formed.
Specifically, this project aims to create a first-of-its-kind Swahili-language instrument for assessing character strengths among Kenyan youth. The team will use an exploratory sequential mixed methods design. It will begin with semi-structured interviews with 60 youth and 15 adults based on the 5 Cs of Positive Youth Development:
Guided by the interview data, the team will create the new instrument and test it on a sample of 450 youths to establish a reliable factor structure. They will also evaluate criterion validity, relevance, and ease of use. Through the development of this instrument, the team aims to develop a contextually and culturally appropriate tool that can improve evaluation of effectiveness of the myriad of programs that serve Kenyan youth. The project is a collaboration between researchers with expertise in youth development from Maasai Mara University (Kenya) and the Universities of Clemson and Oregon State (USA).