Methods: This study was a secondary analysis of a multi-site sample of adolescents participating in after school programs across the U.S. (n = 470; 16 sites across 12 states; Male = 61.2%; White = 34.4%, Black = 54.5%; 3rd-9th grade. Structural equation modeling in Mplus version 8 was used to test for direct and indirect effects of indicators of empowerment (leadership ability, contribution values, conflict resolution skills, and school engagement) at time 1 on latent trajectories of future expectations (3 time points over 5 months), and antisocial behavior and school disciplinary actions at time 3.
Results: Leadership ability (β=.28, p<.001), contribution values (β=.35, p<.001), conflict resolution skills (β=.18, p<.01), and school engagement (β=.23, p<.01) were associated with future expectations at baseline. Future expectations were associated with school disciplinary action (intercept β=-.32, p<.001; slope β=-.35, p<.001, respectively) and antisocial behavior (intercept β=-.15, p<.05; slope β=-.24, p<.001, respectively). Leadership ability, contribution values, conflict resolution skills, and school engagement had an indirect effect on antisocial behavior and school disciplinary action via future expectations at baseline; leadership ability had an indirect effect on antisocial behavior (p=.09) and school disciplinary actions (p=.07) via change in future expectations overtime, albeit marginally significant.
Conclusions: Results of this study indicate that indicators of empowerment (i.e., leadership ability, contribution values, conflict resolution skills, and school engagement) is associated with future expectations. Our findings highlight future expectations as a potential mechanism by which empowerment contributes to decrease anti-social behaviors and other behaviors associated with school disciplinary action. These findings support the development of empowerment-based prevention intervention strategies to promote future expectations as a mechanism to decrease negative behavioral outcomes during adolescence.