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date: 07 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Using the tripartite model introduced by Hamilton and colleagues, this chapter describes the concept of positive youth development (PYD) as a developmental process, as a philosophy emphasizing the strengths of youth, and as the set of practices of youth programs and organizations focused on fostering the healthy or positive development of youth. We provide an overview of current theory, methods, research, and applications pertinent to PYD. In reviewing the relational developmental systems metamodel, we describe the conceptual foundations of PYD. We emphasize the importance of measuring intra-individual change in studies of PYD. As an example of a prominent theory of PYD, we focus on the Lerner and Lerner Five Cs model that is the basis for several investigations of PYD. Finally, we discuss the state of research and application in PYD from childhood to early adulthood, and make recommendations for future research in the field.

Keywords: positive youth development, adolescence, relational developmental systems, 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development, applied developmental science, longitudinal research, youth programs, character development

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