dren from the effects of racism (Stevenson, 1995). Parents with more limited resources often face fewer choices and more constraints in managing their children’s experiences, yet Jarrett’s (1997) research shows that effective parents in disadvantaged neighborhoods are active in monitoring their children, seeking resources, and developing in-home learning strategies (see Furstenburg et al., 1999).

There has been limited conceptual work and systematic research that examines integration across community programs; however, given past research in other settings, there is every reason to believe that community programs will be more effective when they coordinate their activities with parents, schools, and communities. Exciting efforts in this direction are emerging and are discussed in more detail in Chapters 5 and 6.


In concluding this chapter, we consider what developmental science suggests about the essential components of community programs in terms of three points of view: the program perspective, the individual participant perspective, and the perspective of the community in which programs reside.

Perspective of the Program

The evidence, although incomplete, suggests that the more of the eight positive features described in this chapter that a community program has, the greater the contribution it will make to the positive development of youth (Dryfoos, 1991, 2001; Merry, 2000; McLaughlin, 2000). Although each feature is related to positive processes of development, they also work together in important ways. For example, adolescents’ experience of attachment to adult leaders is likely to magnify the influence of the social norms and organizational culture of the program. Likewise, not experiencing one of these features or experiencing the negative aspects of one of the features is likely to undermine the effects of other features. Programs cannot focus only on promoting the positive; they need to be attuned to limiting the negative. Empowering young people is not enough to keep them from abusing drugs; one needs to communicate the message that drugs are harmful and actively cultivate social norms that discourage their use.

Programs, of course, differ in their objectives. Some may choose to give more emphasis to particular features and the processes of develop-

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement