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Community Programs to Promote Youth Development
norms is advantageous to minority youth who have to navigate in both their own culture and the majority white culture (see Banks, 1995; Castro et al., 2000; Phelan et al., 1992; Phelan and Davidson, 1993; Spencer and Markstrom-Adams, 1990; Markstrom-Adams and Spencer, 1994). Other work has documented the role of multiple cultural knowledge and friendships in facilitating interethnic relations (Banks, 1995; Hawley and Jackson, 1995). Much more work is needed on whether knowledge of multiple cultures is an asset for white middle-class youth.
Psychological and Emotional Development
There is quite strong longitudinal and cross-sectional support for the importance of mental health, good self-regulation skills of all kinds, a sense of autonomy and self-control, confidence in one’s self-efficacy and in one’s competence in valued domains (such as sports, music, school subjects, and getting along with others), optimism, and “planfulness” (Bandura, 1994; Clausen, 1993; Compas et al., 1986; Connell and Wellborn, 1991; Deci and Ryan, 1985; Dweck, 1999; Elder and Conger, 2000; Jessor et al., 1991; Lord et al., 1994; Luthar and Zigler, 1992; Mac Iver et al., 1991; Skinner, 1995; Pintrich et al., 1993; Werner and Smith, 1992; Zimmerman, et al., 1992; Zimmerman, 2000; see Eccles et al., 1998, and Scales and Leffert, 1999, for additional references). The relations appear to be equally strong among all groups studied. However, little research has been conducted on American Indian youth, recent immigrant populations, or Hispanics. Finally, intervention efforts to change some of these assets have shown positive consequences for other indicators of positive development, such as school success, positive transitions into the labor market, and both avoidance of and reduction in problem behaviors.
Most often, however, the studies (both correlational and experimental) have included only one or two psychological characteristics and only one or two outcomes, so little is known about the relative importance of these various psychological characteristics for different outcomes. What we do know is that the associations are particularly strong when there is close correspondence between the characteristic being trained and the outcome being studied. For example, training in resistance skills is quite effective at increasing both confidence in one’s ability to resist peer pressure and actual ability to resist peer pressure; similarly, conflict management training is effective at producing declines in aggressive behaviors and conduct disorder (Bandura, 1994; Donahue, 1987; Ellickson and