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Developing a capacity for exercising agency is an important developmental task of adolescence. Many organized youth programs provide adolescents opportunities to build their capacity to exercise agency. The researchers tested hypotheses that adult youth program leader's directive assistance and autonomy support would promote adolescents’ capacity for agency. They surveyed 441 high school adolescents and 11 adult advisors from 10 Future Farmers of America chapters twice over 2 years. Adolescents self‐reported on their capacity for agency and advisors reported on each adolescent's capacity. Directive assistance and autonomy support correlated with the capacity for agency within both time points. Only autonomy support predicted adolescents’ capacity for agency over time. Implications of leader's support for adolescents’ capacity for exercising agency are discussed.


Education | Kinesiology | Sports Sciences


This research was funded in part by a W.T. Grant Foundation grant. The authors’ express gratitude to Jonathan Templin and Lesa R. Hoffman for lending their expert advice on the analyses.

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Hansen, D. M., Moore, E. W., Jessop, N. (2018). Youth program adult leader's directive assistance and autonomy support and development of adolescents’ agency capacity. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 28(2), 505-519, which was submitted under the title "Youth Program Adult Leader Supports and Development of Adolescents’ Capacity for Agency" and is available at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.