Developmental Assets®

In 1990, Search Institute released a framework of 40 Developmental Assets, which identifies a set of skills, experiences, relationships, and behaviors that enable young people to develop into successful and contributing adults. Over the following two decades, the Developmental Assets framework and approach to youth development became the most frequently cited and widely utilized in the world, creating what Stanford University’s William Damon described as a “sea change” in adolescent development.

Data collected from Search Institute surveys of more than 4 million children and youth from all backgrounds and situations has consistently demonstrated that the more Developmental Assets young people acquire, the better their chances of succeeding in school and becoming happy, healthy, and contributing members of their communities and society.

Learn more about our work with Developmental Assets >>

Learn more about the power of Developmental Assets >>

Priority Research Questions

Search Institute is extending and deepening its work on Developmental Assets to ensure that it remains relevant and dynamic in a changing world. Key research and development priorities include:

  • Identifying a limited number of “gateway assets” through which young people more readily acquire the full compliment of 40 assets to become academically, socially, and emotionally well-prepared for life in the complex and rapidly changing world of the 21st Century?
  • Working with community networks to use the asset framework as a foundation for measuring and monitoring non-cognitive skills and social resources that undergird efforts to improve young people’s readiness for life after high school, including expanding their options for college and career and preparing them to be contributing citizens in a democratic society.
  • Expanding the use of the asset framework and research globally, particularly in developing nations where the majority of the populations are under age 25 and where positive youth development is vital to the future of civil society.

Current Projects

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Research Publications

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NOTE: Many of the periodicals listed here may be downloaded or purchased through links provided. Journal articles and book chapters are available through their publishers. Most can be accessed through databases or through the publisher’s websites (often with a fee).