Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Gabriel Kuperminc

Second Advisor

Julia Perilla


Concepts such as positive youth development, leadership self-efficacy, and social intelligence are salient to understanding how transformational leadership behaviors manifest in adolescents. The primary investigator created the Youth Transformational Model to establish the positive relationship that leadership exposure (leadership experience and/or having a formal leadership role), leadership self-efficacy, and social intelligence have with transformational leadership skills (i.e. inspirational motivation and individualized consideration). High school-aged members of a youth leadership organization (N = 142) completed a survey on leadership factors and social intelligence. Leadership self-efficacy was the central component to the relationship between leadership exposure and behaviors. While having a formal leadership role was positively associated with leadership experience and self-efficacy, only leadership experience was related to leadership self-efficacy, social intelligence, and transformational leadership skills. Leadership self-efficacy and social intelligence partially mediated leadership experience and transformational leadership skills’ relationship. These findings suggested that acquiring formal titles and power did not automatically translate to being a considerate and motivational leader. Furthermore, although female participants possessed more positive leadership experiences and higher transformational leadership skills compared to males, the literature did not reflect the current findings. Transformational leadership experience and training has encouraged young people not to lead forcibly or from a distance, but to lead by example, care about others’ needs, be motivational, and bring out the best in people. Results highlighted the importance of leadership opportunities and training programs for adolescents.