Primary Sources: Thinking Positive in More Ways Than One

Photograph of a young woman looking up and smiling.

New research is showing that Positive Youth Development activities are better together and when combined with other strength-building approaches. A diversity of activities, methods and theoretical frameworks is the key to helping young people grow and succeed, researchers say. (Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of NCFY, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.)

Are sports best when combined with other activities? Yes, suggest the authors of "Patterns of Adolescents' Participation in Organized Activities" in the March issue of Developmental Psychology.They found that while adolescents who played sports fared better in the five Cs of PYD (competence, confidence, connections, character, and caring) than those with little or no involvement in organized activities, youth who participated in athletics and other programs had the best outcomes.

Writing in the December issue of Child & Youth Care Forum, the authors of "Bridging Positive Youth Development and Mental Health Services for Youth with Serious Behavior Problems" discuss strategies for using youth development programs to treat youth with serious behavior problems. In particular, the authors propose that interventions would be most effective if tailored for each young person. They suggest that addressing each youth's individual needs may be most effectively realized with a "wraparound" approach.

In "Does Positive Youth Development Predict Adolescent Attitudes About Sexuality?", published in the fall 2008 issue of Adolescence, the authors suggest that PYD research and programming should promote healthy sexuality as an important developmental outcome for youth. In their study of fifth to twelfth graders, the researchers found that some types of extracurricular activities positively affected young people's attitudes toward sexuality and sexual identity, especially when combined with positive influences from parents. 

Go to the NCFY literature database for abstracts of these and other publications.

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