Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (MAE)



First Advisor

Elizabeth Madson Ankeny

Second Advisor

Susan O'Connor


Every day adolescents interact with nonparent adults. These adolescent and nonparent adult interactions have the potential to develop into unique relationships. Since the adolescent is at an impressionable stage in life, nonparent adult and adolescent relationships possess the unique potential to influence an adolescent's character development. For this study, I conducted my research utilizing an action research format. Utilizing in-depth interviewing this study strove to examine the adolescents' perceptions of the role nonparent adult and adolescent relationships had on their character development. Interview data was organized under three headings that developed from the interview responses. Themes that emerged from the data included: nonparent adults modeling a sense of openness; identifuing potential common interests; nonparent adults utilizing their occupational/volunteer role to connect with adolescents; nonparent adults taking a personal interest in adolescents' life; adolescents' acknowledging that a variety of character qualities were adopted through indirect measures, such as the nonparent adult modeling a desirable characteristic on a regular basis. Understanding the adolescents' perceptions will enable nonparent adults to become more intentional and effective in building influential relationships with adolescents.


SC 11.MAE.2012.Thomas.C