Positive Youth Development in the United States: Research Findings on Evaluations of Positive Youth Development Programs. Fosters Prosocial Norms


Programs that foster prosocial norms seek to encourage youth to adopt healthy beliefs and clear standards for behavior through a range of approaches. These may include providing youth with data about the small numbers of people their age who use illegal drugs, so that they decide that they do not need to use drugs to be "normal;" encouraging youth to make explicit commitments in the presence of peers or mentors, not to use drugs or to skip school; involving older youth in communicating healthy standards for behavior to younger children; or encouraging youth to identify personal goals and set standards for themselves that will help them achieve these goals (Hawkins et al., 1992; Hawkins, Catalano et al., 1992).

Operational Definition.  Programs were classified as fostering prosocial norms if they employed strategies for encouraging youths to develop clear and explicit standards for behavior that minimized health risks and supported prosocial involvement.