Positive Youth Development in the United States: Research Findings on Evaluations of Positive Youth Development Programs. Positive Youth Development Constructs


The first task of this project was to establish operational definitions or criteria for positive youth development. Through a literature review, consultation with project officers, and a consensus meeting of the project advisory board, an operational definition of positive youth development was created. For the purposes of this review, positive youth development programs are approaches that seek to achieve one or more of the following objectives:

  1. Promotes bonding
  2. Fosters resilience
  3. Promotes social competence
  4. Promotes emotional competence
  5. Promotes cognitive competence
  6. Promotes behavioral competence
  7. Promotes moral competence
  8. Fosters self-determination
  9. Fosters spirituality
  10. Fosters self-efficacy
  11. Fosters clear and positive identity
  12. Fosters belief in the future
  13. Provides recognition for positive behavior
  14. Provides opportunities for prosocial involvement
  15. Fosters prosocial norms.

These defining objectives of the positive youth development approach are described below.