Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Education and Human Services


Family and Child Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Jennifer Brown Urban

Committee Member

Miriam R. Linver

Committee Member

Monica Glina


This paper investigates the relationship between sense of purpose, the quality of work related to a youth character education (CE) program, and intentional self-regulation (ISR) for adolescents participating in the Inspire>Aspire: Global Citizens in the Making (I>A) Values Poster program. Relational developmental systems (RDS) meta-theory posits that individuals have the capacity to shape their own development and that positive development can be reached when individual assets are aligned with assets in the environment (Lerner, Lerner, von Eye, Bowers, & Lewin-Bizan, 2011). This agentic control over development is often referred to as ISR, which can be operationalized by the general model of human development proposed by lifespan theory: the Selection, Optimization, and Compensation (SOC) model (Freund & Baltes, 2002). This individual asset (ISR) is examined in relation to the contextual asset of I>A participation (measured by the quality of the poster each pupil produces at the end of I>A) and sense of purpose, a developmental outcome that has positive implications for youth and their communities. A mediation model is utilized to test this relationship in Scottish youth (mean age = 13) participating in I>A during the 2014-2015 school year. Quantitative results indicate that pupils’ sense of purpose at Wave 1 was related to their poster quality scores. Qualitative analyses revealed ties between ISR and sense of purpose. Limitations, future directions, and practical implications are discussed.

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