Jason R. Emery, PsyD, is a 2012 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University New England.

Dissertation Committee

  • Victor Pantesco, EdD (Committee Chair)
  • James Graves, PhD (Committee Member)
  • Deborah Wasserman, PhD (Committee Member)


rites of passage, self-determination theory, program evaluation, youth and community development, youth development, community development

Document Type


Publication Date



This project presents a pilot program evaluation model for measuring the effectiveness of rites of passage strategies for youth and community development. It begins by clarifying the key elements and meaning of modern day, community-based rites of passage experiences for youth transitioning into and through adolescence. An effective rite of passage for adolescence is an intentional and transformative process that increases the youth’s community status while supporting and challenging youth to adopt attitudes, behaviors, and skills for a healthy transition through this developmental period and beyond. Next, the project applies a systems-based program evaluation model (Wasserman, 2010) to a rite of passage strategy in order to measure the effects of this experience on both youth and community members. A review of the relevant literature focuses on the current understanding and application of rites of passage experiences for youth and community development, the challenges in defining and measuring this bidirectional process, and the application of Self-Determination Theory to the program evaluation model with the goal of improving the capacity to measure locally meaningful outcomes. The pilot model provides a method for measuring the often assumed, yet key, bidirectional interactions and relationships in effective rites of passage processes. Guided by the application of select pulse points, the model introduces research questions as starting points for stakeholders to measure the effectiveness of these strategies in relation to the program outcome: Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction in relation to authority. A discussion of data collection and analysis, possible results and implications for the research questions, limitations, and future directions follows.