The purpose of this grant is to examine the best ways to develop virtues in adolescents, focusing on how particular activity framings (i.e., instrumental, moral, or spiritual) or contexts (i.e., athletics) can affect the efficacy of activities meant to build patience and self-control. In Study 1 we will experimentally test the effects of a) framing self-control and patience intervention activities as instrumental, moral, or spiritual and b) presenting intervention activities as opportunities to build strengths vs. fix weaknesses. By comparing adolescents involved in athletics vs. other extra-curricular activities, we will test how character interventions in the context of athletic participation can maximize the development of virtues. In Study 2 we will track the character development of adolescents running half or full marathons with Team World Vision, a non-profit raising money for clean water in Africa through sponsored runs.
Study activities include 1) participant recruitment and data collection of a) high school athletes and non-athletes(tracking participants for 6 months) in Study 1 and b) adolescents running marathons with Team World Vision (tracking participants for 4-6 months), 2) development of a smart phone application to build virtue, 3) data analysis and publication, and 4) writing an RFP for JTF on virtue interventions in youth. Concrete outputs include results from two studies reflected in 2-4 peer-reviewed journal articles and 6+ conference presentations, a character strength smart phone application, an RFP proposal, 1-2 articles in magazines read by youth-serving practitioners, press releases to applied organizations, and a research report in Fuller Youth Institute’s e-journal. Our project will utilize a scholar-practitioner model and will illuminate the best ways to develop virtues in adolescents in real-world contexts using rigorous methodology so that findings can influence the academic community and be directly applied to youth programs.