Youth empowerment programs for improving adolescents' self-efficacy and self-esteem: A systematic review.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • University of Oxford


Objectives: Assess the state of evidence regarding impacts of youth empowerment programs (YEPs) on adolescents’ (ages 10–19) self-efficacy and self-esteem, as well as other social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes. Method: Systematic searches of databases combined with an international outreach to identify experimental or quasi-experimental trials of community interventions that regularly involved youths in decision making.

Results: Of the 8,789 citations identified, 3 studies met the inclusion criteria. None reported significant effects on the review’s primary outcomes. Data from only two studies on self-efficacy could be meta-analyzed (combined N ¼ 167). Results found no significant intervention effect on self-efficacy (z ¼ 1.21; 95% confidence interval [CI]: [0.12, 0.49]). Significant effects were found for some secondary outcomes, but these were inconsistent across studies.

Conclusions: The review reveals insufficient evidence of YEPs’ impacts. Further research is needed using well implemented models with clear theories of change, larger samples, and rigorous impact study designs complemented by
mixed-methods process evaluation.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-33
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013