40 Developmental Assets

40 Developmental Assets

Search Institute of Minneapolis, Minnesota, has identified the following building blocks of healthy development that help all young people grow up healthy, caring and responsible.

There are four categories in each of two groups:

External Assets

  • Support - Young people need to experience support, care, and love from their families and many others. They need organizations and institutions that provide positive, supportive environments.
  • Empowerment - Young people need to be valued by their community and have opportunities to contribute to others. For this to occur, they must be safe and feel secure.
  • Boundaries and Expectations - Young people need to know what is expected of them and whether activities and behaviors are "in bounds" or "out of bounds."
  • Constructive Use of Time - Young people need constructive, enriching opportunities for growth through creative activities, youth programs, congregational involvement, and quality time at home.

Internal Assets

  • Commitment to Learning - Young people need to develop a lifelong commitment to education and learning.
  • Positive Values - Youth need to develop strong values that guide their choices.
  • Social Competencies - Young people need skills and competencies that equip them to make positive choices, to build relationships, and to succeed in life.
  • Positive Identity - Young people need a strong sense of their own power, purpose, worth, and promise.

The following assets make up each category:


1. Family Support - Family life provides high levels of love and support.
2. Positive Family Communication - Young person and his or her parent(s) communicate positively, and your person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parents.
3.Other Adult Relationships - Young person receives support from three or more non-parent adults.
4. Caring Neighborhood - Young person experiences caring neighbors.
5. Caring School Climate - School provides a caring, encouraging environment.
6. Parent Involvement in Schooling - Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.


7. Community Values Youth - Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.
8. Youth as Resources - Young person is given useful roles in the community.
9. Service to Others - Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week.
10. Safety - Young person feels safe at home, school and in the neighborhood.

Boundaries and Expectations

11. Family Boundaries - Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person's whereabouts.
12. School Boundaries - School provides clear rules and consequences.
13. Neighborhood Boundaries - Neighbors take responsibilities for monitoring young people's behavior.
14. Adult Role Models - Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.
15. Positive Peer Influence - Young person's best friends model responsible behavior.
16. High Expectations - Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well.

Constructive Use of Time

17. Creative Activities - Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater or other arts.
18. Youth Programs - Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs or organizations at school and/or in the community.
19. Religious Community - Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution.
20. Time at Home - Young person is out with friends "with nothing special to do" two or fewer nights per week.

Commitment to Learning

21. Achievement Motivation - Young person is motivated to do well in school.
22. School Engagement - Young person is actively engaged in learning.
23. Homework - Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day.
24. Bonding to School - Young person cares about his or her school.
25. Reading for Pleasure - Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.

Positive Values

26. Caring - Young person places high value on helping other people.
27. Equality and Social Justice - Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.
28. Integrity - Young person acts on convictions and stands up for his or her beliefs.
29. Honesty - Young person "tells the truth even when it is not easy."
30. Responsibility - Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility.
31. Restraint - Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.

Social Competencies

32. Planning and Decision Making - Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices.
33. Interpersonal Competence - Young person has empathy, sensitivity and friendship skills.
34. Cultural Competence - Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.
35. Resistance Skills - Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
36. Peaceful Conflict Resolution - Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.

Positive Identity

37. Personal Power - Young person feels he or she has control over "things that happen to me."
38. Self-Esteem - Young person reports having a high self-esteem.
39. Sense of Purpose - Young person reports, "my life has purpose."
40. Positive View of Personal Future - Young person is optimistic about his or her personal future.

The list of 40 Developmental Asset® is reprinted with permission from Search Institute®. Copyright © 1997, 2006 by Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN; www.search-institute.org. All Rights Reserved.