Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership


The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences between six at-risk behaviors of adolescent students in relation to levels of social capital of 9–12 grade students. Data were gathered from the Youth Risk and Protective Factors Survey (YRPFS), administered to ninth through twelfth grade students in a school district located in a medium size midwest city. Factor analysis reduced the 114 questions on Survey A and B to two independent factors. Independent Factor I, Family Social Capital, was the sum of issues pertaining to the parents' educational background, rules at home, and educational expectations for their children. Independent Factor II, School and Community Social Capital, was the sum of issues pertaining to school involvement by parents, the discussions parents had about school with their adolescent, and involvement in community activities. Summated ratings generated six dependent variables of alcohol usage, drug usage, tobacco usage, sexual behaviors, trouble at school, and violence. Multivariate analysis of variance was used to determine the level of difference within the three levels of Family Social Capital and School and Community Social Capital and the dependent variables. A further analysis using a univariate analysis of variance test was conducted to determine if there were significant differences between the dependent at-risk variables and three levels of independent social capital variables. And finally, Bonferroni's post hoc comparisons were conducted for each dependent at-risk variable to determine the level of significant difference between the levels of each independent social capital variable.

The attainment of social capital was determined through the relationships students developed with their family, school, and community. At-risk factors to include alcohol use, drug use, tobacco use, sexual behaviors, trouble at school, and violence were analyzed to determine their relationship to the different levels of social capital.

The results suggest that family, school, and community social capital have a significant influence on the social development of adolescents. It was determined that when levels of social capital were high, participation in at-risk behaviors decreased. The results of this study indicate that, overall, Family Social Capital is somewhat more important than School and Community Social Capital when considering the level of at-risk behavior engaged in by adolescents.