Encyclopedia of Adolescence

2011 Edition
| Editors: Roger J. R. Levesque

Thriving and Sparks

  • Peter L. BensonEmail author
  • Peter C. Scales
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1695-2_199


For adolescents, the predominant criterion for judging developmental success, for most of the history of the psychology of adolescence, has been, until quite recently, whether young people avoid mortality and morbidity in the form of a litany of specific risk behaviors, ranging from avoidance of school failure, to avoidance of substance abuse, antisocial behavior and violence, and irresponsible sexual behavior. Only in the last 20 years or so has the growing movement called Positive Youth Development (PYD), with its focus on promoting desirable attitudes and behaviors and not only preventing undesirable ones, gained such sufficient traction that PYD can now be said to be a principal theoretical and applied framework for understanding and working with adolescents. In this essay, the authors describe the development of a comprehensive theory and measurement of a new element of PYD, adolescent thriving, as most recently advanced by Benson and Scales (2009), including the central...

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The authors acknowledge the generous support of the Thrive Foundation for Youth, whose financial support and conceptual contributions have made possible Search Institute’s work since 2002 on sparks and thriving, including the writing of this essay.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Search InstituteMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Search InstituteManchesterUSA