Global Early Adolescent Study (GEAS) - Behavioral Control and Decision Making

The Adolescent Empowerment Measure-Behavioral Control and Decision Making is a 5-item scale designed to assess and compare the ability that young adolescents (10-14 years old) feel they have to make decisions on their own about: what clothes to wear, what food to eat, what to do during free time, how much education they will have, and who they can have as friends. This measure was developed using data from the Global Early Adolescent Study (GEAS), a multi-context questionnaire designed to assess the ability for young people to expand their goals and aspirations in order to gain greater autonomy and achieve their goals


Geographies Tested: Belgium,Bolivia,Burkina Faso,China,Democratic Republic of the Congo,Ecuador,Egypt,India,Indonesia,Kenya,Malawi,Nigeria,United Kingdom,United States of America,Vietnam

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adolescents


How often are you able to make each of the following decisions on your own without an adult?

1. What clothes to wear when you are not in school/working
2. What to do in your free time
3. What to eat when you are not at home
4. How much education you will get
5. Who you can have as friends

Response Options:
Never/rarely - 0
Sometimes - 1
Often - 2
Don't know - 999
Refuse - 996

Scoring Procedures

Mean scores were calculated based on each set of scaled items, which ranged from 1 to 4. Scale-based mean scores were calculated, across scaled items, as the average of summed scores of items, which individually was weighted by its corresponding factor loading.

Original Citation

Zimmerman, L. A., Li, M., Moreau, C., Wilopo, S., & Blum, R. (2019). Measuring agency as a dimension of empowerment among young adolescents globally; findings from the Global Early Adolescent Study. SSM-population health, 8, 100454.

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Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



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