The Developmental Assets® are 40 common sense, positive experiences and qualities that help influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible, successful adults. Because of its basis in youth development, resiliency, and prevention research and its proven effectiveness, the Developmental Assets framework has become one of the most widely used approach to positive youth development in the United States.
Read the list of assets
Watch the Introduction to Developmental Assets video
Download a web-based introduction to Developmental Assets
2012 Study of our local Boy Scouts
We conducted a study with our Boy Scouts in 2012. Most Boy Scouts have been involved with Scouting for 3 or more years having also been impacted through the Cub Scout program.
Boy Scouts possess nearly twice as many Developmental Assets as their peers (which includes Scouts also).
Background on the Developmental Assets
Since its creation in 1990, Search Institute’s framework of Developmental Assets has become the most widely used approach to positive youth development in the United States. The assets are grounded in extensive research in youth development, resiliency, and prevention. They represent the relationships, opportunities, and personal qualities that young people need to avoid risks and to thrive.
The Power of Assets
The 40 Developmental Assets represent everyday wisdom about positive experiences and characteristics for young people. Search Institute research has found that these assets are powerful influences on adolescent behavior—both protecting young people from many different risky behaviors, and promoting positive attitudes and actions.
Who needs them? Why are they important?
Over time, studies of more than 2.2 million young people consistently show that the more assets young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors and the more likely they are to thrive. Research has proven that youth with the most assets are least likely to engage in four different patterns of high-risk behavior, including problem alcohol use, violence, illicit drug use, and sexual activity. The same kind of impact is evident with many other problem behaviors, including tobacco use, depression and attempted suicide, antisocial behavior, school problems, driving and alcohol, and gambling.
The positive power of assets is evident across all cultural and socioeconomic groups of youth.
What is Thriving?
Thriving is a new way to define and understand the dynamics of healthy development.
79.6% of Boy Scouts are "thriving" compared to only 8% of their peers
Search Institute has developed a list of "thriving indicators," or constructive behaviors, postures, and commitments that societies value and need in youth. These indicators serve as a way of evaluating and analyzing program success based on positive outcomes, instead of negative ones; in other words, they allow us to talk about what's right with kids, instead of what's "wrong" with them.
1. Spark identification and motivation. Young person can name, describe interests and sparks that give them energy and purpose, and is motivated to develop their sparks.
2. Positive emotionality. Young person is positive and optimistic.
3. Openness to challenge and discovery. Young person has intrinsic desire to explore new things, and enjoys challenges.
4. Hopeful purpose. Young person has a sense of purpose and sees self as on the way to a happy and successful future.
5. Moral and pro-social orientation. Young person sees helping others as a personal responsibility, and lives up to values of respect, responsibility, honesty, and caring.
6. Spiritual development. Young person affirms importance of a sacred or transcendent force and the role of their faith or spirituality in shaping everyday thoughts and actions.
7. Opportunities & Supports. Young person experiences chances to grow and develop their sparks, as well as encouragement and support in pursuing their sparks, from multiple life contexts.
a. Family Opportunities & Supports
b. Friends Opportunities & Supports
c. School Opportunities
d. School Supports
e. Neighborhood Opportunities & Supports
f. Youth Organizations Opportunities & Supports
g. Religious Congregations Opportunities & Supports
8. Youth Action to develop and pursue sparks. Young person seeks and acts on adult guidance, studies or practices, and takes other actions to develop their sparks and fulfill their potential.
9. Frequency of Specific Adult Actions. How often adults do concrete things to motivate, enable, and push young people to develop their sparks and connect them to others who can help.