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What are the 40 Developmental Assets?

The 40 developmental assets are positive experiences and qualities that young people need to help them to make healthy decisions. Grounded in scientific research conducted by the Search Institute, these assets aim to protect youths from high risk behaviors and help become healthy, productive, and responsible adults. Parents and others who have contact with children on a regular basis contribute and help build these assets. The 40 developmental assets are broken down into external and internal assets which include support, empowerment, boundaries and expectations, constructive use of time.


External Assets

  • Support (family support, positive family communication, other adult relationships, caring neighborhood, caring school climate)
  • Empowerment (community values youth, youth as resources, service to others, safety)
  • Boundaries and Expectations (family boundaries, school boundaries, neighborhood boundaries, adult role models, positive peer influence, high expectations)
  • Constructive Use of Time (creative activities, youth programs, religious community, time at home)

Internal Assets

  • Commitment to Learning (achievement motivation, school engagement, homework, bonding to school, and reading for pleasure)
  • Positive Values (caring, equality and social justice, integrity, honesty, responsibility, restraint)
  • Social Competencies (planning and decision making, interpersonal competence, cultural competence, resistance skills, peaceful conflict resolution)
  • Positive Identity (personal power, self-esteem, sense of purpose, positive view of personal future)

What Difference Does Developmental Assets Make?


There are many things influencing the way children grow up and the choices they make. Some things will lead them down a path to success and some will take them to a destruction and disappointment. With things being so busy these days, it is easy to forget the important foundations that help kids stay on the right path to positive choices. One organization that has never stopped fighting the children of our nation for the past 50 years is the Search Institute. Through much research, they have created a framework of Developmental Assets that offers a positive and practical strategy for making a difference in the lives of our kids.


Why do Developmental Assets matter?

Research shows that the more Developmental Assets young people experience, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors including underage drinking, violence, illicit drug use, sexual activity, gambling, eating disorders and school truancy. 


Learn more by visiting the Search Institute