among the constructs discussed in this chapter and the next. But intervention programs have to consider whether changing particular characteristics or assets, such as self-esteem or a sense of personal efficacy, will lead to changes in other indicators of well-being, such as school achievement or avoidance of problem behaviors. Controlled intervention studies are needed to address this issue; some were discussed in this chapter; more are discussed in later chapters. We have indicated when such studies provide support for the importance of particular characteristics. More research involving active efforts to change assets and then measure the effect of such changes on other assets and on future indicators of well-being is urgently needed.


The period of adolescence is complicated: it is full of opportunities and risks. Adolescents have the potential to develop into mature, strong, creative, and smart adults. But, some take, or are exposed to, unhealthy and unsafe risks that can endanger both their present health and well-being and their future adult opportunities. In this chapter, we provide a summary of what is known about the personal and social assets likely to facilitate positive development during this period of life. We suggested ways in which this information is relevant to the development of community programs for youth. This information, in conjunction with the material discussed in the next chapter, can help program developers design programs, funders decide what kinds of programs to fund, and evaluators to design or select appropriate implementation and outcome measures.

Based on the material summarized in this chapter, the committee identified a set of personal and social assets that both represent healthy development and well-being during adolescence and facilitate a successful transition from childhood, through adolescence, and into adulthood. The committee grouped these assets into four broad developmental domains: physical, intellectual, psychological and emotional, and social development. One does not need necessarily need the entire range of assets listed in this chapter to have a good life. For instance, studies that include more than one of these assets have found that youth can do quite well with various combinations of the studied assets. Nevertheless, having more assets is better than having a few and having positive assets in each of the four broad categories is beneficial. Although strong assets in

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