Positive Youth Development Links to Satisfaction with life, Resilience and Internalizing and Externalizing Problems

Inga Truskauskaitė-Kunevičienė, Rita Žukauskainė, Goda Kaniušonytė


Positive youth development is a competence based developmental concept (Lerner, 2005), focused on the main assumption that the youth possesses particular strengths and has potential for healthy successful development (Lerner, 2000).
Life satisfaction is a cognitive component of subjective well-being, which is positively related to a variety of desirable psychological characteristics and physical health, as well negatively related to many negative outcomes, such as depression, anxiety and violent behavior (Park, 2004). A positive relation between PYD components and life satisfaction was show in a Chinese sample (Sun and Sheck, 2010, 2012). However, a wider research in different cultures is needed in order to understand the role of subjective well-being in positive youth development. One of the objectives of PYD programs is to foster resilience (Catalano et al., 2004). Nevertheless, there is a lack of researches testing the relation between PYD and resilience. It is also expected that the PYD is more effective than prevention in order to eliminate externalizing and internalizing problems in youth (Catalano, 2002). However, the relation between the PYD components and internalizing problems, such as anxiety/depressiveness and withdrawal/depressiveness, and externalizing problems, such as rule breaking and aggressive behavior, needs to be revealed.
There is also a lack of studies, taking into account positive and negative psychological outcomes together to investigate if they have opposite relation to the PYD components.
Method. This study investigates the relationship between all positive youth development components and life satisfaction, resilience, and internalizing and externalizing problems. The data used in this study is from an ongoing longitudinal Positive Youth Development study. Community sample was drawn from all high schools in one administrative region in Lithuania (all students from 9-12 grades). Data of 1787 students (participation rate – 98,9 %) participated in the first assessment (47.2 % were boys and 52.8 % were girls, aged 15-19 years (M=16.61, SD=1.24), which took place in spring, 2013. For this study, data of the participants who completely filled all questionnaires (N=1727) were used.
Results. The data showed that there is a positive relation between PYD components, such as confidence, competence, character, connection, and life satisfaction. Also, positive relations between resilience and PYD components, such as competence and confidence, and negative relations between resilience and caring and compation were found. Data analysis showed a negative relation between internalizing problems and PYD components, such as confidence, competence and connection. There was a positive relation found between internalizing problems and caring and compation. It was found that the relation between PYD components and externalizing problems is indirect.
To conclude, most of PYD components are positively related to positive outcomes and negatively related to negative outcomes. However, some exceptions have to be considered, as well.


positive youth development; 5Cs; satisfaction with life; resilience; internalizing and externalizing problems; teenagers

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13165/SD-14-13-1-06


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