Instrumental relationships: A potential relational model for inner-city youth programs



In this article, a distinct type of adult–youth relationship found in some youth programs and characterized as instrumental is discussed. Such relationships focus primarily on joint work on a task or project, or in a discipline, with the adult having expertise and a strong identity in the substantive domain involved, rather than in youth work per se. It is hypothesized that, by virtue of their matter-of-fact quality, their substantive focus, and their particular interactional patterns, instrumental relationships offer potential for some reworking of adolescents' sense of self. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Comm Psychol 33: 11–20, 2005.