The 40 Basic Development Assets


The Search Institute identified the following as essential assets for positives development to help young people grow up healthy, interested in well-being, and responsible.


1. Family support – Family life provides high levels of love and support.
2. Positive family communication – Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parent(s).
3. Other adult relationships – Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults.
4. Caring neighborhood – Young person experiences caring neighbors.
5. Caring school climate – School provides a caring, encouraging environment.
6. Parent involvement in schooling – Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.


7. Community values youth – Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.
8. Youth as resources – Young people are given useful roles in the community.
9. Service to others – Young person serves in the community one or more hours per week.
10. Safety – Young person feels safe at home, at school, and in the neighborhood.

Boundaries and Expectations

11. Family boundaries – Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts.
12. School boundaries – School provides clear rules and consequences.
13. Neighborhood boundaries – Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior.
14. Adult role models – Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.
15. Positive peer influence – Young person’s best friends model responsible behavior.  
16. High expectations – Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well.

Constructive Use of Time

17. Creative activities - Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts.
18. Youth programs – Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school and/or in the community.
19. Religious community – Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution.
20. Time at home – Young person is out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer nights per week.

Commitment to Learning

21. Achievement motivation – Young person is motivated to do well in school.
22. School engagement - Young person is actively engaged in learning.
23. Homework - Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day.
24. Bonding to school - Young person cares about her or his school.
25. Reading for pleasure - Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.

Positive Values

26. Caring – Young person places high value on helping other people.
27. Equality and social justice – Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.
28. Integrity – Young person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs.
29. Honesty - Young person “tells the truth even when it is not easy.”
30. Responsibility - Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility.
31. Restraint- Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.

Social Competence

32. Planning and decision making – Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices.
33. Interpersonal competence – Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.
34. Cultural competence – Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.
35. Resistance skills – Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
36. Peaceful conflict resolution – Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.

Positive Identity

37. Personal power - Young person feels he or she has control over “things that happen to me.”
38. Self-esteem – Young person reports having a high self-esteem.
39. Sense of purpose – Young person reports that “my life has a purpose.”
40. Positive view of personal future – Young person is optimistic about her or his personal future.