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Enhancing Theory and Methodology in the International Study of Positive Youth Development: A Commentary

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Abstract

Background

Enacting good science in pursuing the international study of positive youth development (PYD) requires using sound developmental theory to formulate questions that are tested through employing rigorous, change-sensitive measures, designs, and data analyses that are aimed at describing, explaining, or optimizing thriving among the diverse youth of the majority world.

Objective

We discuss the usefulness of theoretical models derived from relational developmental systems metatheory in framing such science, and we describe innovations in methodology that enable the specific pathways of development of majority-world youth to be understood and enhanced.

Methods

Literature review and theoretical commentary.

Results

We make recommendations for creating progress in the ways that the international study of PYD may contribute to policies and programs promoting lives of personal thriving and social contributions among the diverse youth of our world.

Conclusions

Advances in the international study of PYD rest upon the use of non-reductionist, dynamic, relational theories of human development in the conceptualization of research and upon the use of change-sensitive measures, research designs, and data analysis procedures in the studies derived from such theoretical conceptualizations.

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Correspondence to Paul A. Chase.

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The preparation of this paper was supported in part by grants from the John Templeton Foundation and the Templeton Religion Trust.

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Lerner, R.M., Chase, P.A. Enhancing Theory and Methodology in the International Study of Positive Youth Development: A Commentary. Child Youth Care Forum 48, 269–277 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-018-9485-7

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