Positive Youth Development, Prevention And Positive Psychology: Commentary On "Positive Youth Development In The United States"

Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date


Published In

Prevention And Treatment


The review of positive youth development programs by R. F. Catalano, M. L. Berglund, J. A. M. Ryan, H. S. Lonczak, and J. D. Hawkins (2002) is an important milestone in positive psychology. It documents the potential power of building strengths and competencies in children. The present commentary explores the relationship of positive psychology to prevention and the broader field of positive psychology. We focus on (a) the ways in which positive youth development can benefit from research recommendations that are commonly made in the treatment and prevention literatures and (b) how prevention science can benefit by incorporating a positive youth development approach. Finally, we suggest that the current field of positive youth development is limited in that it focuses primarily on building strengths to reduce negative outcomes such as substance abuse, violence, teen pregnancy, and academic failure. An important and exciting goal for future programs is to foster an equally broad range of positive outcomes.

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