Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Mark Pancer

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Little research to date has explored the kinds of factors that promote sustained engagement in young people. In order to address this gap in the literature, 20 individuals who attended national youth conferences (the goal of which being to promote engagement above and beyond the conferences themselves) between one and 14 years earlier were interviewed about their experiences before, during, and after the conferences. Specifically, participants were asked to discuss their levels of involvement in their schools and communities after attending the conferences, as well as the factors that sustained or hindered their participation. Four emerging themes---the nature of the activities/tasks; feeling confident, empowered, and motivated for action; building knowledge, skills, and capacity; and being supported and having their contributions recognized---were particularly salient and were thus chosen to form the basis of a proposed model for sustained engagement. The importance of these four factors in promoting sustained engagement as well as the ways in which, when absent, these factors can inhibit sustained participation, are described. Whenever possible, insight into the critical components and/or processes of the conferences and/or the other community-based activities in which participants were involved that appeared to be particularly effective in cultivating these sustaining factors is provided. Finally, implications for practice are discussed and suggestions for future research are proposed.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Psychology Commons