Assessing Assets Among Street-Connected Youth: New Angles With Participatory Methods in Tanzania

Laura R. Johnson, Christopher Drescher, Sophia H. Assenga, Rachel J. Marsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Street-connected adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa have been neglected in scholarly research. Extant literature is largely problem focused. This study describes strengths and assets among street-connected youth in Tanzania, using a participatory, mixed methods approach. Adolescents (N = 38, 13-17 years) in a rehabilitation center for street youth in Northern Tanzania completed a Swahili version of the Developmental Assets Profile (DAP). They engaged in participatory activities designed to capture multiple perspectives and promote maximal engagement. A subsample of youth (n = 8) took part in photovoice to elucidate contextual details. Although exploratory, we expected (a) participants would have lower scores on the external versus internal domain of the DAP; (b) qualitative methods would support the DAP and provide complementary, contextual information; and (c) participatory methods would be important for providing varied perspectives and engaging youth in the research process. Results revealed a moderately high level of assets, with strengths in constructive use of time and commitment to school. External assets were higher than internal assets; however, different assets were emphasized across different methods. Overall, results supported the DAP framework. The participatory approaches effectively engaged youth and illuminated the culture and context of their development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-651
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
Volume34
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Keywords

  • Tanzania
  • developmental assets
  • participatory methods
  • photovoice
  • street-connected

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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