Positive Youth Development in the United States: Research Findings on Evaluations of Positive Youth Development Programs. Provides Opportunities for Prosocial Involvement


Opportunity for prosocial involvement is the presentation of events and activities across different social environments that encourage youths to participate in prosocial actions. Providing prosocial opportunities in the non-school hours has been the focus of much discussion and study (Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1992; Pittman, 1991). In order for a child to acquire key interpersonal skills in early development, positive opportunities for interaction and participation must be available (Hawkins et al., 1987; Patterson, Chamberlain & Reid, 1982; Pentz, et al., 1989b). In adolescence, it is especially important that youth have the opportunity for interaction with positively oriented peers and for involvement in roles in which they can make a contribution to the group, whether family, school, neighborhood, peer group, or larger community (Dryfoos, 1990).

Operational Definition.  Programs were classified as providing opportunities for prosocial involvement if the intervention offered activities and events in which youths could actively participate, make a positive contribution, and experience positive social exchanges.