The Search Institute identifies 40 Developmental Assets that have a powerful, positive impact on young people. Research has shown that youth who have high levels of these assets get involved in fewer risky behaviors such as violence, alcohol and drug use and are much more likely to exhibit the positive values, such as leadership, good health, diversity, and success in school.
Understanding Developmental Assets
The 40 assets are grouped into two main groups: external and internal assets. The external assets are the good qualities young people get from the world around them. The internal assets are the traits, behaviors, and values that help kids make positive choices and be better prepared for challenging situations. Internal assets are like their moral compass. These two types of assets are divided into eight categories of human development that make it easier to think about activities to build them.
- Support: Young people need to be surrounded by people who love, care for, appreciate, and accept them.
- Empowerment: Young people need to feel valued and valuable. This happens when youth feel safe and respected.
- Boundaries and Expectations: Young people need clear rules, consistent consequences for breaking rules, and encouragement to do their best.
- Constructive Use of Time: Young people need opportunities—outside of school—to learn and develop new skills and interests with other youth and adults.
- Commitment to Learning: Young people need a sense of the lasting importance of learning and a belief in their own abilities.
- Positive Values: Young people need to develop strong guiding values to help them make healthy life choices.
- Social Competencies: Young people need the skills to interact effectively with others, to make difficult decisions, and to cope with new situations.
- Positive Identity: Young people need to believe in their own self-worth and to feel they have control over the things that happen to them.
Resources for the 40 Developmental Assets
Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them? Visit www.search-institute.org/assets.
Assets for Different Developmental Stages
These documents are provided, compliments of the Search Institute. Click on the links below to download PDF copies of 40 Developmental Assets lists for different developmental stages.
- 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents: What we term the “original” research
- 40 Developmental Assets for Early Childhood: Ages 3-5
- 40 Developmental Assets for Kindergarten Through Third Grade: Ages 5-9
- 40 Developmental Assets for Middle Childhood: Ages 8-12
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