Little research has explored the role of different leadership activities on the psychological well- being of adolescence. However, previous research has shown that leadership development along with the satisfaction of the three basic psychological needs: autonomy, relatedness, and competence; and experiencing feelings of vitality lead to optimal functioning and development and positive life satisfaction (Ryan & Deci, 2000; 2001). The current study uses Self Determination Theory (SDT) and Authentic Leadership Theory (ALT) as guiding frameworks to examine the relationship between leadership activities and adolescent life satisfaction. The study aimed to explore how the three basic psychological needs, feelings of vitality, and leadership activities (in and outside of school; ISLA and OSLA respectively) impact reported life satisfaction. Data was collected from 109 high school students (36% Male, 64% Female) in 12 western New York high schools with ages ranging from 14-18-years-old. A statistically significant hierarchical regression model revealed significant relationships between outside of school leadership activities and life satisfaction both alone (adjusted R2 = 8.8%) when coupled with vitality. (adjusted R2 = 35.3%) and when both are joined with basic psychological needs satisfaction (adjusted R2 = 44.0%) With this knowledge, community leadership program options may be explored by areas where they are not readily available to some/all youth. The results of this study suggest that expanding and developing community-level activities for all youth may lead to higher levels of life satisfaction amongst that population.
Bearss, Brittany and Palumbo, Nicholas P., "The Impact of Extracurricular Leadership Activities on Adolescent Life Satisfaction" (2019). McNair Scholars Program. 2.