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date: 24 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents the conceptual foundations of the positive youth development (PYD) perspective by reviewing the history of theories about adolescent development and by specifying the key theoretical ideas defining the PYD perspective. By drawing in the main from the findings derived from the first longitudinal study of adolescents designed to test ideas associated with the PYD perspective—the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development—illustrations are provided of the burgeoning empirical work assessing among diverse adolescents the usefulness of this strengths-based approach to youth. Finally, there is a discussion of the implications of PYD theory and research for future scholarship and applications aimed at improving the life chances of diverse adolescents.

Keywords: compensation model, developmental systems theory, ecological assets, intentional self-regulation optimization, positive youth development, risk and problem behaviors, selection

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