Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 26, 2017

Evaluation of a community-based positive youth development program for adolescents with greater psychosocial needs: views of the program participants

Daniel T.L. Shek, Cecilia M.S. Ma, Moon Y.M. Law and Zoe Zhao


The present study attempted to investigate the perceptions of Chinese secondary school students with greater psychosocial needs of the Tier 2 Program in the community-based phase of P.A.T.H.S. Project in Hong Kong (n=4245). Using a subjective outcome evaluation tool (Form C), the results revealed that a great majority of the students held positive attitudes toward the program, implementers and the effectiveness of the program. Also, the three domains of the program (“program quality”, “implementer quality” and “program effectiveness”) were significantly associated with each other. In line with previous findings, both program content and program implementer quality were significant predictors of program effectiveness. The current findings further reinforce the thesis that the community-based Tier 2 programs of the P.A.T.H.S. Project are effective in promoting the holistic development of adolescents with greater psychosocial needs in Hong Kong.


The preparation for this paper and the Project P.A.T.H.S. were financially supported by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.


1. Shek DT, Hing KM, Sun RC. A brief overview of adolescent developmental problems in Hong Kong. ScientificWorldJ 2011;11:2243–56.10.1100/2011/896835Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

2. Monahan KC. Adolescent pathways to co-occurring problem behavior: The effects of peer delinquency and peer substance use. J Res Adolesc 2014;24:630–45.10.1111/jora.12053Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

3. Shek DT, Yu L. Longitudinal impact of the project PATHS on adolescent risk behavior: what happened after five years? ScientificWorldJ 2012;2012:316029.10.1100/2012/316029Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

4. Book AS, Volk AA, Hosker A. Adolescent bullying and personality: an adaptive approach. Pers Individ Diff 2012;52:218–23.10.1016/j.paid.2011.10.028Search in Google Scholar

5. Wang J, Iannotti RJ, Nansel TR. School bullying among adolescents in the United States: physical, verbal, relational, and cyber. J Adolesc Health 2009;45:368–75.10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.03.021Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

6. Wang J, Iannotti RJ, Luk JW. Patterns of adolescent bullying behaviors: Physical, verbal, exclusion, rumor, and cyber. J Sch Psychol 2012;50:521–34.10.1016/j.jsp.2012.03.004Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

7. Mishna F. Risk factors for involvement in cyber bullying: victims, bullies and bully–victims. Child Youth Serv Rev 2012;34:63–70.10.1016/j.childyouth.2011.08.032Search in Google Scholar

8. Cassidy W, Faucher C, Jackson M. Cyberbullying among youth: a comprehensive review of current international research and its implications and application to policy and practice. Sch Psychol Int 2013;34:575–612.10.1177/0143034313479697Search in Google Scholar

9. Mackie CJ. Adolescent bullying, cannabis use and emerging psychotic experiences: a longitudinal general population study. Psychol Med 2013;43:1033–44.10.1017/S003329171200205XSearch in Google Scholar PubMed

10. Foshee VA. Bullying as a longitudinal predictor of adolescent dating violence. J Adolesc Health 2014;55:439–44.10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.03.004Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

11. Erignoz E. The role of parental, school, and peer factors in adolescent bullying involvement: results from the Turkish HBSC 2005/2006 Study. Asia-Pacific J Public Health 2015;27:NP1591–603.10.1177/1010539512473144Search in Google Scholar

12. Willford A. Effects of the KiVa anti-bullying program on adolescents’ depression, anxiety, and perception of peers. J Abnorm Child Psychol 2012;40:289–300.10.1007/s10802-011-9551-1Search in Google Scholar PubMed

13. Wang J, Nansel TR, Iannotti RJ. Cyber and traditional bullying: differential association with depression. J Adolesc Health 2011;48:415–7.10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.07.012Search in Google Scholar PubMed

14. Ttofi MM. Farrington DP. Effectiveness of school-based programs to reduce bullying: a systematic and meta-analytic review. J Exp Criminology 2011;7:27–56.10.1007/s11292-010-9109-1Search in Google Scholar

15. Swendsen J. Use and abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs in US adolescents: results of the National Comorbidity Survey–Adolescent Supplement. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2012;69:390–8.10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.1503Search in Google Scholar PubMed

16. Tanner-smith EE, Wilson SJ, Lipsey MW. The comparative effectiveness of outpatient treatment for adolescent substance abuse: a meta-analysis. J Subst Abuse Treat 2013;44:145–58.10.1016/j.jsat.2012.05.006Search in Google Scholar PubMed

17. Narcotics Division. The 2014/15 survey of drug use among students. Hong Kong, Narcotics Division, Security Bureau, The Government of the Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region, 2015. URL: in Google Scholar

18. Shek DT, Yu L. A review of validated youth prevention and positive youth development programmes in Asia. Int J Adolesc Med Health 2011;23:317–24.Search in Google Scholar

19. Damon W. What is positive youth development? Ann Am Acad Political Soc Sci 2004;591:13–24.10.1177/0002716203260092Search in Google Scholar

20. Benson PL. Positive youth development: theory, research, and applications. New York: John Wiley, 2006.Search in Google Scholar

21. Gavin LE. A review of positive youth development programs that promote adolescent sexual and reproductive health. J Adolesc Health 2010;46:75–91.10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.11.215Search in Google Scholar

22. Catalano RF. Prevention science and positive youth development: competitive or cooperative frameworks? J Adolesc Health 2002;31:230–9.10.1016/S1054-139X(02)00496-2Search in Google Scholar PubMed

23. Catalano RF, Berglund ML, Ryan JA, Lonczak HS, Hawkins JD. Positive youth development in the United States: research findings on evaluations of positive youth development programs. Ann Am Acad Political Soc Sci 2004;591:98–124.10.1177/0002716203260102Search in Google Scholar

24. Shek DT, Yu L. A review of validated youth prevention and positive youth development programmes in Asia. Int J Adolesc Med Health 2011;23:317–24.Search in Google Scholar

25. Shek DT, Sun RC. Positive youth development programs for adolescents with greater psychosocial needs: subjective outcome evaluation over 3 years. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol 2014;27:17–25.10.1016/j.jpag.2014.02.008Search in Google Scholar PubMed

26. Shek DT. Evaluation of the Project PATHS using multiple evaluation strategies. In: Shek DT, Sun RC, editors. Development and evaluation of positive adolescent training through holistic social programs (PATHS). Singapore: Springer, 2013:53–67.10.1007/978-981-4451-54-3_4Search in Google Scholar

27. Shek DT, Sun RC. Evaluation of positive youth development programs that help secondary 2 students with greater psychosocial needs. Int Public Health J 2009;1:335–46.Search in Google Scholar

28. Shek DT, Hing KM, Sun RC. Development of a new curriculum in a positive youth development program: the Project PATHS in Hong Kong. ScientificWorldJ 2011;11:2207–18.10.1100/2011/289589Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

29. Kim BK. Change in protective factors across adolescent development. J Appl Dev Psychol 2015;40:26–37.10.1016/j.appdev.2015.04.006Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

30. Walker JS, Gowen LK. Community-based approaches for supporting positive development in youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions. Research and training center for pathways to positive futures. Portland, OR: Portland State University, 2011.Search in Google Scholar

31. Shek DT, Ma C. Subjective outcome evaluation findings: factors related to the perceived effectiveness of the Tier 2 Program of the Project P.A.T.H.S. ScientificWorldJ 2010;10:250–60.10.1100/tsw.2010.19Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

32. Carpenter AT, Carpenter VG. Reflections of client satisfaction: reframing family perceptions of mandatory alternative school assignment. J Instruct Psychol 2012;39:1–11.Search in Google Scholar

33. Shek DT. Is subjective outcome evaluation related to objective outcome evaluation? Insights from a longitudinal study in Hong Kong. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol 2014;27:50–6.10.1016/j.jpag.2014.02.012Search in Google Scholar PubMed

34. Shek DT, Sun RC. Secondary data analyses of subjective outcome evaluation findings of the project PATHS in Hong Kong. ScientificWorldJ 2010;10:2101–11.10.1100/tsw.2010.177Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

35. Shek DT, Ma CM, Siu AM. Validation of a subjective outcome evaluation tool for participants in a positive youth development program in Hong Kong. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol 2014;27:26–31.10.1016/j.jpag.2014.02.009Search in Google Scholar PubMed

36. Shek DT, Law MY. Evaluation of programs for adolescents with greater psychosocial needs: community-based Project PATHS in Hong Kong. Int J Adolesc Med Health 2016. DOI: 10.1515/ijamh-2017-3004.10.1515/ijamh-2017-3004Search in Google Scholar PubMed

37. Sanders J, Munford R, Thimasarn-Anwar T. The role of positive youth development practices in building resilience and enhancing wellbeing for at-risk youth. Child Abuse Negl 2015;42:40–53.10.1016/j.chiabu.2015.02.006Search in Google Scholar PubMed

38. Hui EK, Tsang SK, Law BC. Combating school bullying through developmental guidance for positive youth development and promoting harmonious school culture. ScientificWorldJ 2012;5:2266–77.10.1100/2011/705824Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

39. Wilson CJ, Bushnell JA, Rickwood DJ. The role of problem orientation and cognitive distortions in depression and anxiety interventions for young adults. Adv Ment Health 2011;10:52–61.10.5172/jamh.2011.10.1.52Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2016-7-20
Accepted: 2016-8-20
Published Online: 2017-1-26

©2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Scroll Up Arrow