Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 15–26 | Cite as

Employment Training for At-risk Youth: A Program Evaluation Focusing on Changes in Psychological Well-being

  • M. Kyle Matsuba
  • Gavin J. Elder
  • Franca Petrucci
  • Tammy Marleau
Original Paper


The purpose of this study was to present and evaluate an employment training program specifically designed to help at-risk youth find work. Fifty-nine at-risk youth living in a small urban area participated in a 7-month program designed to help youth develop employment skills and improve their psychological well-being. Results of this pre- and post-test study showed significant improvement among participants on measures of psychological well-being by program’s end. These results are discussed in terms of the need for employment training programs to be more holistic by working with youth to improve their psychological health, and thus helping them to overcome a barrier to employment.


At-risk youth Employment Program evaluation Psychological well-being 



The Future Cents program was funded in partnership with Human Resources Development Canada and the Ministry of Children and Family Development of British Columbia.


  1. Campbell, D. S. (1995). Evaluating an intervention for at-risk adolescents: The case of the BreakAway Co. Canadian Journal of Education, 20, 437–454.Google Scholar
  2. Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. (1998). Cultural continuity as a hedge against suicide in Canada’s first nations. Transcultural Psychiatry, 35, 191–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Davis, M. H. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 113–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dornbusch, S. M., Erickson, K. G., Laird, J., & Wong, C. A. (2001). The relation of family and school attachment to adolescent deviance in diverse groups and communities. Journal of Adolescent Research, 16, 396–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dowd, E. T., Milne, C., & Wise, S. L. (1991). The therapeutic reactance scale: A measure of psychological reactance. Journal of Counseling and Development, 69, 541–545.Google Scholar
  7. Goldsmith, A. H., & Veum, J. R. (1997). Unemployment, joblessness, psychological well-being and self-esteem: Theory and evidence. Journal of Socio-Economics, 26, 133–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gray-Little, B., Williams, V. S. L., & Hancock, T. D. (1997). An item response theory analysis of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 443–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hammarström, A., & Janlert, U. (1997). Nervous and depressive symptoms in a longitudinal study of youth unemployment—selection or exposure? Journal of Adolescence, 20, 293–305.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hammarström, A., & Janlert, U. (2002). Early unemployment can contribute to adult health problems: Results from a longitudinal study of school leavers. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 56, 624–630.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Loughead, T. A., Lui, S., & Middleton, E. B. (1995). Career development for at-risk youth: A program evaluation. Career Development Quarterly, 43, 274–284.Google Scholar
  12. McCreary Centre Society. (2000). Raven’s children: Aboriginal youth health in BC. Burnaby: The McCreary Centre Society.Google Scholar
  13. McWhirter, B. T., Besett-Alesch, T. M., Horibata, J., & Gat, I. (2002). Loneliness in high risk adolescents: The role of coping, self-esteem, and empathy. Journal of Youth Studies, 5, 69–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. McWhirter, J. J., McWhirter, B. T., McWhirter, A. M., & McWhirter, E. H. (1998). At-risk youth: A comprehensive response (2nd ed.). Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  15. Mitchell, D. P., Betts, A., & Epling, M. (2002). Youth employment, mental health and substance misuse: A challenge to mental health services. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 9, 191–198.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mortimer, J. T., Finch, M. D., Ryu, S., Shanahan, M. J., & Call, K. T. (1996). The effects of work intensity on adolescent mental health, achievement, and behavioral adjustment: New evidence from a prospective study. Child Development, 67, 1243–1261.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Mortimer, J. T., Finch, M., Shanahan, M., & Ryu, S. (1992). Work experience, mental health, and behavioral adjustment in adolescence. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 2, 25–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Orpinas, P., & Frankowski, R. (2001). The Aggression Scale: A self-report measure of aggressive behavior for young adolescents. Journal of Early Adolescence, 21, 50–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Patterson, L. J. M. (1997). Long-term unemployment amongst adolescents: A longitudinal study. Journal of Adolescence, 20, 261–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Prause, J., & Dooley, D. (1997). Effect of underemployment on school-leavers’ self-esteem. Journal of Adolescence, 20, 243–260.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Robins, R. W., Hendin, H. M., & Trzesniewski, K. H. (2001). Measuring global self-esteem: Construct validation of a single-item measure and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 151–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Russell, D. W. (1996). UCLA Loneliness Scale (version 3): Reliability, validity, and factor structure. Journal of Personality Assessment, 66, 20–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Steinberg, L., & Dornbusch, S. M. (1991). Negative correlates of part-time employment during adolescence: Replication and elaboration. Developmental Psychology, 27, 304–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wiesner, M., Vondracek, F. W., Capaldi, D. M., & Porfeli, E. (2003). Childhood and adolescent predictors of early adult career pathways. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63, 305–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Winefield, A. H. (1997). Introduction to the psychological effects of youth unemployment: International perspectives. Journal of Adolescence, 20, 237–241.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Kyle Matsuba
    • 1
  • Gavin J. Elder
    • 1
  • Franca Petrucci
    • 2
  • Tammy Marleau
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada
  2. 2.Future CentsPrince GeorgeCanada

Personalised recommendations