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Life satisfaction and positive perceptions of the future among youth at-risk participating in civic-National service in Israel

Levy, D., Benbenishty, R., and Refaeli, T. (in press). Life satisfaction and positive perceptions of the future among youth at-risk participating in civic-National service in Israel. Children and Youth Service Review.

In Israel, the ‘Civic-National Volunteer Service for Youth At-risk’ was developed to help support their transition to adulthood, while making a contribution to society. The present paper examines life satisfaction and perceptions of the future among youth at-risk completing their volunteer service. Further, the paper explores how socio-demographic background, personal strengths (sense of mastery and self-esteem), and their experiences during service predict these outcomes.

The participants were ed from a convenience sample, which included most of the participants in a cohort of national service for a project designed specifically for youth at-risk in a nonprofit organization that operates national service projects. The sample included 161 at-risk youth (93.2% females) who responded to structured questionnaires. Stepwise hierarchical regressions were conducted to examine predictor of each of the dependent variables. The findings revealed that experiences during volunteer service contributed significantly to prediction of their life satisfaction. Positive perceptions of the future, on the other hand, were predicted mainly by their personal assets of having a high school matriculation diploma and high self-esteem. In the discussion section, the paper addresses the theoretical and practical implications of these findings, with a strong emphasis on expanding this important support for normative transition to adulthood of at-risk youth.

Highlights

First study of outcomes of ‘Civic-National Volunteer Service for Youth At-risk’

 ► Experiences during service contributed to prediction of life satisfaction.

 ► School matriculation diploma predicted positive perceptions of the future.

 ► Perceptions of the future were also predicted by high self-esteem.

Keywords:

Youth at-risk

Transition to adulthood

National Service

Life satisfaction

Perceptions of the future