low accepted research minimums. However, the primary goal of the Search Institute in developing and promoting the use of this survey was to inform social action by providing communities with a common language, a unified and complete vision of positive youth development, and the means to identify and strengthen the developmental processes in their community. Science played and continues to play an important role in the development of this instrument, but there is a willingness to go beyond the science when it serves an important practical purpose.
The use of the assets framework to guide instrument construction has resulted in a very comprehensive survey that includes measures in every domain of our own youth development framework and multiple measures in most domains (see Table 8–1). It is the most well-rounded of the data sources included in this review. There are, however, no cognitive measures per se. Instead there are measures of academic motivation, school engagement, and related activities like time doing homework. Measures of psychological and emotional development include a host of measures related to moral character, as well as both positive and negative measures of mental health and measures of adolescents’ capacities to take responsibility for their actions, plan ahead, and make their own choices. The survey is particularly strong in social development measures, including participation in sports, clubs, music, art, and theater activities both in and out of school; volunteering in the community; capacity for empathy and sensitivity; friendship skills; and respect for cultural diversity. Physical health measures include participation in sports activities, whether the student “takes care of their body,” sexual activity, and whether the youth has been a victim of violence. The list of negative outcomes and behaviors is broad and includes questions about drug use (including alcohol and cigarettes), violence, drunk driving, gambling, and eating disorders.
The coverage in the social setting domains is nearly as impressive. Measures of structure include the presence of clear rules and monitoring of the youth’s activities in the family, the school, and the neighborhood. Supportive relationships are explored in the family, with adults outside the family, in the school, and in the community. Measures of the opportunity to belong are weaker and rely only on whether the youth care about their school. Measures of social norms focus on the presence of positive role models among parents, friends, and other adults. Questions on safety focus on whether the youth feels safe at home, in school, and in the neighborhood. Support for efficacy and mattering questions focus on levels of encouragement and help to do well in school and on whether