Building Youth Assets


The 40 Developmental Assets

TheDevelopmental Assets are 40® research-based, positive qualities that influence young people’s development, helping them become caring, responsible, and productive adults. Based in youth development, resiliency, and prevention research, the Developmental Assets framework has proven to be effective and has become the most widely used approach to positive youth development in theUnited States and, increasingly, around the world.

Who needs them?

Assets matter for youth from many backgrounds and contexts. The framework has been adapted to be developmentally relevant from early childhood through adolescence for every gender, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and special needs status. The positive power of assets is evident across all cultural and socioeconomic groups of youth in the United States as well as other parts of the world.

Why are they important?

According to the Search Institute, over time, studies of more than 4 million young people consistently show that the more assets that young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors and the more likely they are to thrive. Levels of assets are better predictors of high-risk involvement and thriving than poverty, family structure, or other demographic difference. Research shows that youth with the most assets are least likely to engage in high-risk behaviors. When they have higher levels of assets, they are more likely to do well in school, be civically engaged, and value diversity. The average young person experiences fewer than half of the 40 assets.

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