Young Adolescents and Their Parents: A National Study, 1984 - Father Component

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > General Population > National > Other > Summary


The Young Adolescents and their Parents project began in 1980, with major funding provided by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. The project brought together the research capability of Search Institute and the programming expertise of 13 national youth-serving organizations. The research component included a 319-item survey given to more than 8,000 fifth- through ninth-grade young adolescents and a different 328-item survey administered to more than 10,000 parents of these youths. Because so little previous research had focused on young adolescents and their families, this project was designed to fill this "information gap." The surveys covered the topics of social context (school, friends, church, families, mass media exposure, group involvement); developmental processes (autonomy, maturation and sexuality, identity, intimacy, achievement, social integration); beliefs, attitudes and values (social attitudes, worries, moral values, religion); and perspectives on receiving help and on behavior

Data File
Cases: 8,165
Variables: 380
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: Date Collected: The project began in 1980 and concluded in 1984. Ninety percent of the data were collected in 13 youth-serving organizations in fall 1982. The remaining 10 percent were collected between January and July 1983.
Funded By
The Lilly Endowment, Inc., with 13 participating national youth-serving organizations (African Methodist Episcopal Church, American Lutheran Church, Baptist General Conference, Churches of God-General Conference, Evangelical Covenant Church, 4-H Extension, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, National Associations of Homes for Children, National Catholic Educational Association, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), Southern Baptist Convention, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church)
Collection Procedures
Two surveys were administered to young adolescents and their parents. A 319-item survey was administered to more than 8,000 fifth- through ninth-graders. The second survey, a 328-item survey, was administered to the parents of these youths.
Sampling Procedures
Each of the 13 sponsoring agencies selected a random sample of its affiliated units (churches, schools, clubs, or residential care facilities). In each selected unit, the fifth- through ninth-grade adolescents affiliated with that local unit were invited to participate in the survey. Depending on the size of the local unit, either all or a random sample of young adolescents were selected for participation. In addition, the parents of each invited young adolescent were asked to respond to the parent survey.

Surveys were administered in 953 locations. This represents 63 percent of the total number of sites randomly selected by the 13 participating organizations.


Because 10 of 13 participating organizations are national Protestant denominations, the study is weighted toward families that maintain some association with a church. The total sample is more Protestant than Catholic. Among Protestants, Lutherans are overrepresented. However, although the survey samples do not precisely represent, they certainly approximate the national distribution of youths and parents affiliated with Protestant and Catholic congregations or parishes.
Principal Investigators
Dr. Peter Benson
Related Publications
Benson, P. L., Williams, D. L., Johnson, A. L., The Quicksilver Years: The Hopes and Fears of Early Adolescence, 1987, Search Institute: Minneapolis, Harper & Row: San Francisco.

Young Adolescents and their Parents Project Report, 1984, Search Institute, Minneapolis.
Young Adolescents and their Parents Summary of Findings, 1984, Search Institute, Minneapolis.