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Enhancing Education and Career Pathways Through Peer and Near-Peer Social Capital.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence  (IF4.381),  Pub Date : 2021-11-17, DOI: 10.1007/s10964-021-01540-x
Ashley A Boat,Alejandra Miranda,Amy K Syvertsen

Social capital strengthens emerging adults' ability to reach life goals, but little is known about how peers and near-peers (slightly older and/or more experienced peers who serve in mentorship or coaching roles) support social capital development especially among young people of color. To address this gap, the current study examined how social capital derived from peers and near-peers contributes to emerging adults' ability to actively mobilize social capital in pursuit of their education or career goals (i.e., self-initiated social capital) and, in turn, their education and career outcomes. A total of 841 emerging adults who participated in one of five community-based education and/or workforce support programs were surveyed (72% female; Mage = 20.1, SD = 1.84; 35% Latinx, 30% Black, 19% Asian, 16% Other). Peer social capital was indirectly associated with outcomes (i.e., progress towards education/career goals, commitment to paying-it-forward, collective efficacy to change systems) via greater self-initiated social capital, whereas near-peer social capital was both directly and indirectly associated with outcomes. The mechanisms by which peer and near-peer social capital support emerging adults as they work towards their goals may differ and have important program implications.