Scientific research and science-guided practice based on the promotion of an individual's strengths constitutes a radical shift in a new and growing area of study within the field of human development. Its trademark term is `positive youth development'. This approach to human development is based on the idea that, in addition to preventing problems, science and practice should promote the development of competencies, skills, and motivation in order to enhance individuals' developmental pathways. Approaches to Positive Youth Development is based on this concept and brings together authors from across Europe and America who are leaders in their respective fields. The main focus of the book, beyond a clarification of the paradigmatic foundations, concerns the major contexts of adolescents and young adults, namely, neighborhoods and leisure locales, school and family, and the major themes of healthy psychosocial development, namely, competences and knowledge, prosocial behavior, transcending problems of delinquency, civic engagement, identity, agency, and spirituality.

Civic Engagement as an Expression of Positive Youth Development

Civic engagement as an expression of positive youth development

In the preceding chapter Peter Benson described the positive youth development (PYD) model of applied research and its implications for action. The PYD has two central ideas: (1) development is promoted by developmental assets, both internal and external; and (2) individuals, communities, and societies vary in the qualities that promote the development of these assets. This approach offers direct guidance for both research and action. One goal of research is to identify individual, community, and society assets, and one goal of policy then is to promote the development of community and society resources that promote the development of assets. Research indicates that the more internal and external assets ...

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