Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Newman, Michael E.

Committee Member

Downey, Laura H.

Committee Member

Phillips, Tommy M.

Committee Member

Peterson, Donna J.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Agricultural Extension and Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


School of Human Sciences


The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of the Junior Master Wellness Volunteer (JMWV) program on select positive youth development (PYD) outcomes among program participants. These outcomes included Competence in health literacy, Connection, Contribution, Character, and Confidence. Research questions were (1) Does participation in the JMWV program improve participants’ Competency in health literacy? (2) Does participation in the JMWV program improve participants’ perceived ability to Connect with and Contribute to their community? (3) Does participation in the JMWV program improve participants' perceived Character or ability to engage in and understand their community? (4) Does participation in the JMWV program improve participants’ perceived self-efficacy (Confidence)? (5) Does participants’ delivery of the service component of the JMWV program relate to their perceived Connection, Contribution, Character, and Confidence? Secondary data from the Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension were analyzed to determine the JMWV program's effectiveness on PYD outcomes. Data included responses to matched pre-tests and post-tests (n = 93), matched pre-surveys and post-surveys (n = 108), and activity reports forms (n = 50). Paired t-tests were used to examine the differences in Competence as measured by the pre-test and post-test scores and changes in other PYD outcomes as measured by the pre-survey and post-survey. Analysis, including paired sample ttests, indicated that JMWV participants had a statistically significant improvement in all four of the PYD outcomes in this study. A correlation analysis also indicated a positive but weak relationship between the reported number of service hours completed as part of the JMWV program and perceived Connections and Contributions (r = -.340, p < .05), Character (r = -.340, p < .01), and Confidence (r = -.307, p < .05) after the program. JMWV participants improved in Competency, Connections and Contributions, Character, and Confidence. The number of hours spent engaged in community service marginally contributed to improvements to select PYD outcomes. This study adds to the evidence that the JMWV program results in PYD.