Attitudinal differences--a study comparing 4-H members and dropouts, ages 13 to 15, in 16 Montana counties

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Agriculture


The problem associated with this study was to determine what differences existed between the attitudes of active 4-H members and dropouts in this study toward the 4-H program in Montana. The researcher also wished to determine if there was a correlation between the age a person started 4-H and their length of membership. In addition, the researcher wanted to ascertain the reasons for dropping out of 4-H. The instrument was developed by the researcher and was sent to 491 present and 410 past 4-H members who were 13 to 15 years of age when enrolled in 4-H. This study included 16 counties in Montana. The data in this study were tested using the Pearson r correlation coefficient and the Chi-squared test of independence. Approximately 66 percent of the sample responded with about 60 percent actually being used. Approximately 52 percent of the respondents were from farms and ranches while 48 percent were from urban domiciles. Thirty-three hypotheses were tested in this study. The results of this testing indicated that an urban or rural domicile made no difference in the respondent's attitude that 4-H was mainly for people from farms and ranches. In addition, age was found to be negatively correlated to length of 4-H membership. The data also indicated that attitudinal differences existed between active 4-H members and dropouts in the areas of: (1) responsibility-building in 4-H, (2) 4-H and 4-H projects being fun and interesting, (3) recommending 4-H to others, (4) parental attitude toward 4-H, (5) 4-H being time consuming, (6) 4-H record books, (7) peer attitude toward 4-H, (8) parental pressure to stay in 4-H, (9) memebership in school organizations, (10) 4-H program repetition, (11) help received in 4-H, (12) interest in school and 4-H, (13) member voice in 4-H planning, (14) peer influence to quit 4-H. The two main reasons given for dropping out of 4-H were: (1) I had too many other things to do and, (2) the club was not very organized. The major conclusions drawn from this study are that: (1) 4-H may not be for every youth but the 4-H program should explore ways to broaden its appeal while retaining its 4-H image, (2) 4-H and School will vie for young people's time and (3) family participation in 4-H is important to 4-H member retention.




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