Little is known about the social capital of adults in after-school settings or the ways in which they use social contacts to support youth success, particularly for at-risk youth. Their effectiveness as brokers for learning opportunities may depend on aspects of their social capital: both the quantity and quality of their social networks as well as their attitudes and beliefs related to seeking help from social contacts. This mixed-methods study surveyed 50 after-school program staff serving teens in high-poverty neighborhoods to examine the characteristics of adult social capital and to explore attitudes towards mobilizing social resources to support youth. Surveys measured social network size (total contacts), network social status (average prestige of known occupations), and network orientations, as well as social resource mobilization (brokering). The results of an initial logistic regression found that only total known contacts was a significant predictor of resource mobilization. Six participants were identified for follow-up interviews. Exposing youth to novel experiences emerged as a critical theme related to youth interest development and adult brokering action. Interviews also indicated that structural elements of youth programs might influence the need for staff to draw on personal connections, suggesting possible targets for intervention. This study provides novel insight into the characteristics of the social networks held by adults working in after-school programs, as well as into the attitudes and beliefs held by these individuals towards brokering learning opportunities for youth.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
Learning Sciences and Educational Research
Curriculum and Instruction
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Philp, Katherine, "How Do After-school Staff Use Social Networks to Support At-risk Youth? A Social Capital Analysis" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6559.