decisions, to participate in governance and rule-making, and to take on leadership roles as one matures and gains more expertise;

  • Emotional and moral support;

  • Opportunities for adolescents to experience supportive adult relationships;

  • Opportunities to learn how to form close, durable human relationships with peers that support and reinforce healthy behaviors;

  • Opportunities to feel a sense of belonging and being valued;

  • Opportunities to develop positive social values and norms;

  • Opportunities for skill building and mastery;

  • Opportunities to develop confidence in one’s abilities to master one’s environment (a sense of personal efficacy);

  • Opportunities to make a contribution to one’s community and to develop a sense of mattering; and

  • Strong links between families, schools, and broader community resources.

Table ES-1 provides details on the features of positive developmental settings.

Conclusions
  • Since these features typically work together in synergistic ways, programs with more features are likely to provide better supports for young people’s positive development.

  • Community programs can expand the opportunities for youth to acquire personal and social assets and to experience the broad range of features of positive developmental settings.

Among other things, community programs can incorporate opportunities for physical, cognitive, and social and emotional development; opportunities to address issues of ethnic identity, sexual identity, and intergroup relationships; opportunities for community involvement and service; and opportunities to interact with caring adults and a diversity of peers who hold positive social norms and have high life goals and expectations.

Recommendation 1—Community programs for youth should be based on a developmental framework that supports the acquisition of personal and social assets in an environment, and through activities, that



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