Cross-National Evidence of Positive Youth Development and Contribution to Society and Environment

A special issue of Youth (ISSN 2673-995X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 11097

Special Issue Editors

Department of Social, Developmental and Educational Psychology, Universidad de Huelva, 21071 Huelva, Spain
Interests: mental health; children; adolescent; lifestyles; positive development
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
Interests: positive youth development; health behaviors; well-being; risk behaviors
Department of Psychology, Universidad Científica del Sur, Lima, Peru
Interests: positive youth development; psychological measurement; parenting; well-being; youth
Faculty of Human Kinetics, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: adolescent health; youth civic engagement; public policies; mental health; positive youth development
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are presenting a new Special Issue entitled “Cross-National Evidence of Positive Youth Development and Contribution to Society and Environment”. During the past century, the study of adolescence and youth has been guided mainly by the perspective of deficit. This perspective has influenced social policies, research and professional practice, and has especially focused on risk behaviors and psychopathologies in young people. Over the past two decades, progress has been made in developing positive indicators of youth well-being, and strengths-based approaches have guided the design of programs that are effective in various development contexts. The concept of positive youth development underlines the importance of increasing the internal and external developmental assets in the contexts in which young people develop. Within this positive view of developmental transition to adulthood, a certain consensus has been reached regarding the differentiation in the positive youth development of the 5Cs (Lerner et al., 2005): competence, confidence, character, connection and caring.

As a result of the development of these 5Cs, a new dimension emerged—contribution—indicating that young people who develop the former 5Cs will engage in this latter C. The manifestation of this positive development during adolescence and young adulthood stems from a mutually beneficial relationship between a person and their circumstances throughout life, which in turn contributes to the well-being of the individual and their increased personal contribution to society and environment. A commitment to society and the environment encourages young people to become agents of their own healthy development and in the positive enhancement of other people and of society. Thus, contributions to society and the environment are intrinsically associated with positive youth development. The development of young people as active citizens may encourage positive environmental and social change that provides the basis for more sustainable communities. Considering environmental and social action as a context for positive youth development, young people may be conceived as contributors, letting them participate in shared decision making, critical reflection and potential enquiries, as well as providing meaningful participation, a sense of belonging and authentic care in their society and environment.

Most evidence to date concerning positive youth development and contribution has been developed in Western regions, especially the USA and Northern Europe, so that more cross-national research is needed in other contexts around the world to extend the validity of this theoretical model. This Special Issue invites researchers and practitioners from around the world in the fields of positive youth development, social contribution and environmental action of the youth to submit their manuscripts, in form of systematic reviews, research, or interventions.

Dr. Diego Gomez-Baya
Dr. Nora Wiium
Dr. Denisse Manrique-Millones
Prof. Dr. Margarida Gaspar de Matos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Youth is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • positive youth development
  • social contribution
  • social engagement
  • social participation
  • environmental action
  • environmental awareness
  • developmental assets
  • thriving
  • youth
  • cross-national
  • research
  • practice
  • review

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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23 pages, 1020 KiB  
Article
Supporting the Five Cs of Positive Youth Development Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Impact on Adolescents’ Bullying Behaviour
Youth 2024, 4(1), 191-213; https://doi.org/10.3390/youth4010014 - 05 Feb 2024
Viewed by 295
Abstract
Tailored interventions within the school context can promote the Five Cs of positive youth development—competence, confidence, character, caring, and connection—thus aiding in mitigating behaviours such as bullying. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of tailored interventions targeting each of the Five Cs [...] Read more.
Tailored interventions within the school context can promote the Five Cs of positive youth development—competence, confidence, character, caring, and connection—thus aiding in mitigating behaviours such as bullying. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of tailored interventions targeting each of the Five Cs and its indirect impact on bullying and victimisation during school closures. The sample comprised 66 students in four experimental groups (general, technical, vocational, and short vocational school) and 47 students in two control groups (general and vocational). Each experimental group was analysed separately, considering the specific contextual needs of each. Results varied across groups: competence, character, and caring remained unchanged post-intervention, while connection increased in the experimental group from general school, and confidence decreased in the experimental groups from technical and vocational schools. When compared to control groups from each school, experimental groups from general and vocational schools had higher connection and experimental group from general school had lower competence than control group from the same school. Bullying outcomes showed a decrease in verbal bullying and victimisation in the experimental group from general school, an increase in cyberbullying in the experimental group from short vocational school, and a decrease in social bullying in the experimental group from general school. The study suggests that brief interventions can positively influence aspects of the Five Cs, impacting bullying and victimisation outcomes. Full article
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14 pages, 313 KiB  
Article
Positive Youth Identity: The Role of Adult Social Support
Youth 2023, 3(3), 869-882; https://doi.org/10.3390/youth3030056 - 19 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1626
Abstract
Positive identity is essential to adolescents’ well-being and a successful transition to adulthood. Understanding factors that contribute to identity formation is important to promote healthy development. The present study applies the Positive Youth Development (PYD) framework to explore associations between adult social support [...] Read more.
Positive identity is essential to adolescents’ well-being and a successful transition to adulthood. Understanding factors that contribute to identity formation is important to promote healthy development. The present study applies the Positive Youth Development (PYD) framework to explore associations between adult social support and positive identity among Norwegian high school students (N = 220, Mage = 17.30, SD = 1.12). Reflecting on the ecology of adolescence, the study examined the extent to which family, other significant adults, and school support relate to different dimensions of positive identity (personal power, self-esteem, sense of purpose, and positive view of future). Further, the hierarchy of importance among the support variables was investigated. Cross-sectional data on items measuring the different dimensions of social support and positive identity were analyzed. Findings from regression analyses indicated that adult support in all three ecological contexts (family, neighborhood, and school) was significantly and positively related to positive identity and at least one of its four dimensions (β = 0.15–0.27, p < 0.05). Support from other significant adults emerged as the most important predictor, followed by family and then school support. While future research should also consider support accessed through social media, our findings extend PYD scholarship in the Norwegian context by highlighting the importance of key youth ecological contexts when fostering positive youth identity. Full article
16 pages, 1431 KiB  
Article
College Students’ Perceptions of and Place Attachment to Rural Areas: Case Study of Japan and China
Youth 2023, 3(2), 737-752; https://doi.org/10.3390/youth3020048 - 01 Jun 2023
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Abstract
Rural areas are facing increasing challenges including declining populations, advanced aging, and a lack of successors. This study aimed to investigate the perceptions of rural areas among Chinese and Japanese university students living in urban areas and analyze the determinants influencing their rural [...] Read more.
Rural areas are facing increasing challenges including declining populations, advanced aging, and a lack of successors. This study aimed to investigate the perceptions of rural areas among Chinese and Japanese university students living in urban areas and analyze the determinants influencing their rural attachment and willingness to reside there. A total of 259 students (126 Japanese students in Chiba and 133 Chinese students in Zhengzhou) were surveyed using the place attachment scale, and asked to describe their past experiences in rural areas. Semantic analysis was employed to further explore issues related to their previous rural visit experiences. The results revealed that students’ place of birth, visiting experience, satisfaction with rural areas, interaction with local people, and convenience of accessing rural areas all influenced their attachment and willingness to move to rural areas. Chinese students expressed greater concerns regarding hygiene issues, while Japanese students were more concerned about safety. This study offers some recommendations: promoting educational resources in rural areas and addressing hygiene issues, such as unclean restrooms, in China. In Japan, the focus should be on continued promotion of rural tourism, providing more education on safe driving and environmental safety for university students, and enhancing more access to rural areas through student transportation discounts. Full article
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12 pages, 286 KiB  
Article
Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO): Preliminary Results from a Study among Norwegian Youths
Youth 2022, 2(4), 526-537; https://doi.org/10.3390/youth2040038 - 13 Oct 2022
Viewed by 2089
Abstract
Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO) is a comprehensive and evidence-based program focusing on youths with serious problem behaviors and their families. The program was developed in the US, and studies indicate that TFCO is an effective treatment program for youths with serious behavioral [...] Read more.
Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO) is a comprehensive and evidence-based program focusing on youths with serious problem behaviors and their families. The program was developed in the US, and studies indicate that TFCO is an effective treatment program for youths with serious behavioral and emotional problems. The present study aimed to examine treatment changes in behavioral and emotional problems in a sample of 76 Norwegian youths (57.9% boys, mean age = 14.93) who were assigned to TFCO. Data were retrieved from the Routine Outcome Monitoring (ROM) system, used to ensure the program’s national quality, and included measures of risk factors (YLS/CMI), internalizing and externalizing behaviors (ASEBA), in addition to five nationally defined outcome goals. The study included data from intake and the end of treatment. The results showed significant reductions in risk factors and externalizing and internalizing problems. The number of youths who completed all five outcome goals increased over the course of therapy. The results suggest that TFCO might be an effective treatment program for Norwegian youths with severe problem behaviors. Full article

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24 pages, 1300 KiB  
Systematic Review
A Scoping Review of the Evidence of the 5Cs Model of Positive Youth Development in Europe
Youth 2024, 4(1), 56-79; https://doi.org/10.3390/youth4010005 - 04 Jan 2024
Viewed by 790
Abstract
In the last 20 years, evidence has been found that supports the “5Cs” of the Positive Youth Development (PYD) model developed by Lerner and his colleagues in the United States. This model considers adolescents as active elements who may acquire the resources and [...] Read more.
In the last 20 years, evidence has been found that supports the “5Cs” of the Positive Youth Development (PYD) model developed by Lerner and his colleagues in the United States. This model considers adolescents as active elements who may acquire the resources and strengths to develop positive relationships with others. However, few studies have focused on its generalization to other contexts. Therefore, the aim of the present scoping review is to examine the evidence of the 5Cs model (Confidence, Competence, Caring, Connection and Character) in Europe. A search was carried out in the international Web of Science database for articles published in Europe between 2013 and June 2023, obtaining 123 articles. Subsequently, after applying the inclusion criteria, 23 articles were included. The findings agreed that men have higher levels of Competence and Confidence, while women scored higher in Connection, Caring and Character. Furthermore, many studies stated that higher scores in Connection, Competence, Character and Confidence are related to better mental health, higher academic performance and greater social and environmental contribution. Consequently, it is crucial to increase the number of interventions based on this model to result in future adults who are healthy, happy and engaged with society. Finally, future lines of research are discussed, as well as the importance of researchers carrying out more intervention programs. Full article
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17 pages, 618 KiB  
Systematic Review
A Systematic Review and Narrative Synthesis of the Relationship between Social Support and Binge Drinking among Adolescents and Emerging Adults
Youth 2022, 2(4), 570-586; https://doi.org/10.3390/youth2040041 - 02 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1933
Abstract
Binge drinking (BD) is a high-risk pattern of alcohol consumption that is remarkably prevalent among teenagers and emerging adults. This pattern is thought to alter social networks, affecting access to social support (SS), which is considered essential for adjustment during transitional periods and [...] Read more.
Binge drinking (BD) is a high-risk pattern of alcohol consumption that is remarkably prevalent among teenagers and emerging adults. This pattern is thought to alter social networks, affecting access to social support (SS), which is considered essential for adjustment during transitional periods and may in turn play a proactive role against risk behaviors. In this review, we aim to synthesize the available data on the relationship between BD and SS in teenagers and emerging adults. Therefore, a search on three electronic databases was conducted (Web of Science, PsycInfo and PubMed). Articles were screened using eligibility criteria in line with the investigation question and the methodological quality of the studies were reported. Data were analyzed using a narrative synthesis approach. Cross-sectional and longitudinal data suggested that SS is associated with the onset, frequency, and intensity of BD; this relation varies with age, gender, and source of support (family or peers). From developmental and socio-cognitive points of view, the following conclusions were reached: (a) effects beyond the detrimental consequences of BD must be considered in order to interpret the data, and (b) social support should be taken into consideration in intervention strategies. Full article
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