Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research

2014 Edition
| Editors: Alex C. Michalos

Developmental Assets

  • Claire ToppingEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_3444



A developmental asset is an internal or external resource that assists any child or young person to achieve health and well-being, i.e., thrive.


Developmental assets encompass a wide range of concepts such as relationships, opportunities, and personal qualities and can be explored at the level of the individual, family, or community settings such as schools. The term youth asset is also sometimes used when referring to older children and/or adolescents.

Much of the research related to developmental assets has taken place in North America, with an emerging evidence base regarding interventions.

Through the systematic collation of survey data across several decades, the Search Institute has identified 40 developmental assets which are subdivided into 20 internal and external assets (Benson, 2006; Scales & Leffert, 1999).

Cross-sectional studies from the Search Institute...

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  1. Benson, P. L. (2006). All kids are our kids: What communities must do to raise caring and responsible children and adolescents (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  2. Fenton, C., Brooks, F., Spencer, N. H., & Morgan, A. (2010). Sustaining a positive body image in adolescence: An assets-based analysis. Health & Social Care in the Community, 18(2), 189–198.Google Scholar
  3. Scales, P. C., & Leffert, N. (1999). Developmental assets: A synthesis of the scientific research on adolescent development. Minneapolis, MN: Search Institute.Google Scholar
  4. Sesma, A., Jr., Roehlkepartain, E. C., Benson, P. L., & Van Dulmen, M. (2003). Unique strengths, shared strengths: Developmental assets among youth of color. Search Institute Insights & Evidence, 1(2), 1–13.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Whittington HealthLondonUK