Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 39, Issue 7, pp 720–735 | Cite as

The Five Cs Model of Positive Youth Development: A Longitudinal Analysis of Confirmatory Factor Structure and Measurement Invariance

  • Edmond P. Bowers
  • Yibing Li
  • Megan K. Kiely
  • Aerika Brittian
  • Jacqueline V. Lerner
  • Richard M. Lerner
Empirical Research


The understanding of positive development across adolescence rests on having a valid and equivalent measure of this construct across the breadth of this period of life. Does the Positive Youth Development (PYD) construct based on the Five Cs model have satisfactory psychometric properties for such longitudinal measurement invariance? Using longitudinal data derived from the 4-H Study of PYD, we assessed 920 youth (61.6% female) from a racially and ethically diverse sample (67.3% European American) who participated in three waves (Grades 8–10) of data collection. Building on prior findings that the Five Cs (i.e., Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, and Caring) model of PYD was a robust measure that could be assessed comparably during early adolescence, we tested a hierarchy of second-order confirmatory factor analysis models to assess the extent to which PYD can be measured equivalently across middle adolescence. Evidence was found for strict measurement invariance across three measurement occasions, including equivalence of first-order and second-order factor loadings, equality of intercepts of observed variables, and equality of item uniqueness and disturbances of the first-order factors. These results suggest that PYD can be measured in the same way across measurement occasions, a prerequisite for the study of development. Implications for research and application of being able to measure PYD equivalently across adolescence are discussed.


Positive youth development (PYD) Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) Longitudinal measurement invariance Adolescence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edmond P. Bowers
    • 1
  • Yibing Li
    • 1
  • Megan K. Kiely
    • 1
  • Aerika Brittian
    • 1
  • Jacqueline V. Lerner
    • 2
  • Richard M. Lerner
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Applied Research in Youth DevelopmentTufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  2. 2.Lynch School of EducationBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA

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