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Am J Community Psychol. 2015 Sep;56(1-2):25-35. doi: 10.1007/s10464-015-9730-2.

Comparing the Functioning of Youth and Adult Partnerships for Health Promotion.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, 1101 N. Campbell, Room 409, El Paso, TX, 79902, USA,


Youth partnerships are a promising but understudied strategy for prevention and health promotion. Specifically, little is known about how the functioning of youth partnerships differs from that of adult partnerships. Accordingly, this study compared the functioning of youth partnerships with that of adult partnerships. Several aspects of partnership functioning, including leadership, task focus, cohesion, participation costs and benefits, and community support, were examined. Standardized partnership functioning surveys were administered to participants in three smoke-free youth coalitions (n = 44; 45 % female; 43 % non-Hispanic white; mean age = 13) and in 53 Communities That Care adult coalitions (n = 673; 69 % female; 88 % non-Hispanic white; mean age = 49). Multilevel regression analyses showed that most aspects of partnership functioning did not differ significantly between youth and adult partnerships. These findings are encouraging given the success of the adult partnerships in reducing community-level rates of substance use and delinquency. Although youth partnership functioning appears to be strong enough to support effective prevention strategies, youth partnerships faced substantially more participation difficulties than adult partnerships. Strategies that youth partnerships can use to manage these challenges, such as creative scheduling and increasing opportunities for youth to help others directly, are discussed.

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