Positive Youth Development in the United States: Research Findings on Evaluations of Positive Youth Development Programs. Provides Recognition for Positive Behavior


Recognition for positive involvement is the positive response of those in the social environment to desired external behaviors by youths. According to social learning theory, behavior is in large part a consequence of the reinforcement or lack of reinforcement that follows action. Behavior is strengthened through reward (positive reinforcement) and avoidance of punishment (negative reinforcement) or weakened by aversive stimuli (positive punishment) and loss of reward (negative punishment) (Bandura, 1973; Akers et al., 1979). Reinforcement affects an individual's motivation to engage in similar behavior in the future. Social reinforcers have major effects on behavior. These social reinforcers can come from the peer group, family, school, or community (Akers et al., 1979).

Operational Definition.  Programs that created response systems for rewarding, recognizing, or reinforcing children's prosocial behaviors were classified as using recognition for positive behavior.