Using Strength And Challenges To Measure Youth Well-Being


A Land­scape Scan includes back­ground on the move­ment toward adopt­ing more strength-based approach­es in the field of psychology.

Tra­di­tion­al­ly, researchers have focused on the neg­a­tive forces youth face. This is a holdover from health research, built around mit­i­gat­ing risk fac­tors and pre­vent­ing harm. How­ev­er, researchers can’t get a com­plete pic­ture of a young person’s well-being by ask­ing only about sub­stance use, miss­ing school, drop­ping out of school, encoun­ters with police or vio­lence in their com­mu­ni­ties. Study­ing young people’s strengths and how they’re thriv­ing paints a more accu­rate pic­ture of their experiences.

“We want to com­pli­cate — in a good way — the data used to make deci­sions and deliv­er pro­gram­ming by adding those strength mea­sure­ments along with tra­di­tion­al approach­es of study­ing the poten­tial­ly neg­a­tive forces in their lives,” says Amir François, a senior research asso­ciate at Casey. François worked with Search Insti­tute researchers to devel­op the report.


The authors of A Land­scape Scan devel­oped a list of 33 strength mea­sures grouped into sev­en categories:

  • Sup­port­ive con­texts: oppor­tu­ni­ties and resources that exist in schools, com­mu­ni­ties and homes that help young peo­ple learn, grow and thrive.
  • Sup­port­ive rela­tion­ships: pos­i­tive rela­tion­ships with teach­ers, peers, men­tors and fam­i­ly members.
  • Atti­tudes, beliefs and mind­sets: inter­nal per­spec­tives and con­cepts around val­ues and beliefs and identity.
  • Skills: social, emo­tion­al and cognitive.
  • Per­for­mance: emo­tion reg­u­la­tion, self-man­age­ment, social aware­ness, cul­tur­al and lin­guis­tic com­pe­tence and crit­i­cal-think­ing skills.


Comments are closed.