grate research and theory on healthy development at different developmental stages. Table 4-1 summarizes findings related to individual, family, and school and community characteristics that facilitate healthy development from reviews that the committee considers to be particularly informative. These factors differ across developmental periods and across individual, family, and school and community contexts.
For a guide to factors relevant during infancy and early childhood, the committee looked to the influential report From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2000). Healthy accomplishment of the developmental tasks at these ages—such as secure attachment, emotional regulation, executive functioning, and appropriate conduct—is associated with both positive development and prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral problems over the long term. The report highlighted the influence of families’ socioeconomic resources on healthy development, suggesting that promotion (and prevention) research should include consideration of the influence of poverty on children’s caregivers and their physical environment.
The committee drew from several sources on positive development during middle childhood. Masten and Coatsworth (1995) assessed competent functioning in middle childhood in terms of successfully accomplishing developmental tasks, such as academic achievement, following rules for appropriate behavior, and developing positive peer relations. Resilience, or the ability to adapt to life stressors, is a widely accepted aspect of positive development (Catalano, Berglund, et al., 2002; Commission on Positive Youth Development, 2005; Masten, Burt, and Coatsworth, 2005). The Rochester Child Resilience Project identified characteristics of the child and of the family that are associated with resilience for urban children experiencing chronic family stress (Wyman, 2003).
The school is also a social context that can promote the accomplishment of the developmental tasks of academic achievement, rule compliance, and the development of peer relations, as described by Masten and Coatsworth (1995). Aspects of the school context identified by Smith, Swisher, and colleagues (2004) as promoting children’s developmental competencies include teacher behavior, pedagogy, organizational characteristics of the school, and family-school relations.
A major review of community programs to promote positive outcomes for adolescent development identified four domains of individual-level assets: physical health, intellectual development, psychological and emotional development, and social development (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2002). The review also identified features of positive developmental settings, which the committee sees as relevant both for the family and for school and the community. Some of these include