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16 Positive Youth Development and Relational-Developmental-Systems

Interests in the strengths of youth, the plasticity of human development, and the concept of resilience coalesced in the 1990s to foster the development of the concept of positive youth development (PYD). As discussed by Hamilton (1999), the concept of PYD was understood in at least three interrelated but nevertheless different ways: (1) as a developmental process; (2) as a philosophy or approach to youth programming; and (3) as instances of youth programs and organizations focused on fostering the healthy or positive development of youth. We use concepts drawn from relational developmental systems theories and the tripartite conception of PYD suggested by Hamilton as frames to review the literature on (a) the different theoretical models of the PYD developmental process; (b) philosophical ideas about, or conceptual approaches to, the nature of youth programming with a special emphasis on the model of PYD with the most extensive empirical support, the Five Cs Model of PYD; and (c) key instances of programs aimed at promoting PYD. We also discuss the conceptual and practical problems in integrating these three facets of PYD scholarship, and conclude by explaining why understanding complex development requires multimethod integration as well as an integration of ideographic and nomothetic perspectives.

 

16 Positive Youth Development and Relational-Developmental-Systems

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