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The 40 Assets

Table of Contents


The Developmental Assets are a set of 40 positive qualities, skills, experiences, and opportunities that are critical in the lives of children and youth.

Based on more than four decades of research on youth development, these assets paint a picture of the positive things young people need to grow into competent, capable, caring and healthy people.



Young people need to be surrounded by people who love, care for, appreciate, and accept them.

1. Family Support:

Family life provides high levels of love and support.

2. Positive Family Communication:

Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parents.

3. Other Adult Relationships:

Young person receives support from three or more nonparent 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.


Young people need to feel valued and valuable.

This happens when youth feel safe, when they believe they are liked and respected, and when they contribute to their families, schools, and communities.

7. Community Values Youth:

Young person perceives that adults in community value youth.

8. Youth as Resources:

Young people are 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.


Young people need the positive influence of peers and adults who encourage them to be and do their best.

Youth also need clear rules about appropriate behavior and consistent, reasonable consequences for breaking those rules.

11. Family Boundaries:

Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors young person’s whereabouts.

12. School Boundaries:

School provides clear rules and consequences.

13. Neighborhood Boundaries:

Neighbors take responsibility 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.


Young people need opportunities to learn and develop new skills and interests.

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.



Young people need a variety of learning experiences, including the desire for academic success, a sense of the lasting importance of learning, and a belief in their own abilities.

21. Achievement Motivation:

Young person is motivated to do well in school.

22. School Engagement:

Young person is actively engaging 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.


Young people need to develop strong guiding values, including caring about others, high standards for personal character, and believing in protecting their own well-being.

26. Caring:

Young person places high value on helping other people.

27. Equity 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.


Young people need the skills to interact effectively with others, to make difficult decisions and choices, and to cope with new situations.

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.


Young people need to believe in their own self-worth, to feel they have control over the things that happen to them, and to have a sense of purpose in life.

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 that “my life has a purpose.”

40. Positive View of Personal Future:

Young person is optimistic about his or her personal future.