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01-06-2014 | Editorial | Uitgave 6/2014

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 6/2014

Invited Commentary: Positive Youth Development and Human Complexity

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 6/2014
Auteurs:
Reed W. Larson, Steve P. Tran

Abstract

The process of positive development for adolescents includes struggling to address a wide variety of complex, often unstated bio-psycho-social-cultural challenges. These include formulating workable values, learning self-regulation, preparation for adult work roles—and innumerable other un-tidy puzzles. Variable-based research can only scratch the surface of how youth go about these processes; nonetheless, systematic longitudinal research like this can provide valuable information about developmental pathways and directions of change. Highlights from these papers include the finding that older youth report more goals aimed at meaningful connection with others and contributing to society; yet also that moral character did not differ by age. The papers suggest that relationships adults, hope, school engagement, participation in out-of-school programs, and intentional self-regulation can serve as mediators of positive development. Yet, a striking finding was that comparatively few youth in the study manifest a pattern of change marked by the coupling of increases in positive youth development and decreases in risk/problem behavior. We believe there is much beneath the surface to be uncovered.

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