The purpose of this study was the development and initial validation of the Leadership Authenticity Adolescent Rating Scale (LAARS). The LAARS instrument integrated theoretical constructs from the literature in both authentic leadership and adolescent leadership, producing a 49-item instrument. The instrument development process primarily followed steps outlined by DeVellis (2003). The LAARS was administered to 271 U.S. high school students. Tests conducted supported the applicability of the data for factor analysis. Exploratory factor analysis using promax rotation revealed six key factors: (a) leadership social responsibility, (b) follower-values development, (c) positive, self-aware, confident, (d) improvement-driven, hopeful, (e) follower-success development, and (f) community. The resulting 41-item instrument yielded an overall internal reliability of .845, with each of the six factors also demonstrating adequate internal reliability at the exploratory stage.
This study conducted a number of correlational assessments to assert preliminary support for construct validity. Support for both convergent and discriminant validity exists, although substantial work remains in order to claim psychometric adequacy. The study results contribute to the ongoing research in both authentic leadership and adolescent behavior by suggesting the plausibility of six key factors relating to authentic adolescent leadership. Furthermore, the factors align with thematic constructs derived from the literature and suggest three important findings. First, authentic adolescent leaders are others-directed, focusing on the success of others and the authentic values-development of those whom they lead. Second, authentic adolescent leaders are aware of their own need for constant improvement, for self-awareness, and need for positive psychological capital. Third, authentic adolescent leaders are connected to community and see their role as one that supports the broader authentic development of the world around them.