Study shows life skill improvement through 4-H

November 14, 2008

University Park, Pa. — Could bottle-feeding baby goats help to increase a young caregiver's life skills? A new study says that it can.

The four-year study, conducted by faculty in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, evaluated 1,190 Pennsylvania youths before and after they participated in Penn State Cooperative Extension’s 4-H activities.

The youths, aged 7 to 17, completed a survey that demonstrated their life skills improved after participation in projects ranging from animal science to expressive arts to citizenship. For example, communication abilities increased by 10 percent, and goal-setting proficiency climbed 11 percent. The survey also showed that 4-H participants were more likely to engage in civic activities.

Daniel Perkins, who conducted the study with Claudia C. Mincemoyer, is an advisory board member for a similar national study by Tufts University.

"These findings correlated to the Tufts survey conducted in 25 states," said Perkins. That study of positive youth development involved more than 4,000 youth and 2,000 parents.

This story is from the fall issue of Penn State Outreach Magazine. Go to to view the magazine online.


  • 4-Hers engage in a science experiment.

    IMAGE: Theo Anderson

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010