Developmental Assets

Since 1990, Search Institute’s research-based framework of Developmental Assets® is one of the foundational frameworks in positive youth development. Over the following decades, the Developmental Assets framework and approach to youth development became the most frequently cited and widely utilized in the world.



Developmental Assets

Search Institute has studied Developmental Assets in the lives of millions of young people across the United States and around the world. Research consistently shows that young people from all backgrounds do better when they have a strong foundation of these strengths in their lives.

Grounded in extensive research in youth development, resiliency, and prevention, it identifies:

  1. The supports, opportunities, and relationships young people need across all aspects of their lives (called “external assets”); and
  2. The personal skills, self-perceptions, and values they need (called “internal assets”) to make good choices, take responsibility for their own lives, and be independent and fulfilled.

When youth have more assets, they are:

  • More likely to thrive now and in the future
  • Less likely to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors
  • More likely to be resilient in the face of challenges




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