Peter L. Benson's research while affiliated with Minneapolis Institute of Arts and other places

Publications (64)

Article
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In this article, we draw on the theoretical and empirical literature to name what appear to be core dimensions of successful young adult development. We also describe some possible indicators and measures of those dimensions and sketch the kinds of developmental relationships and opportunities young people need in adolescence to effectively transit...
Chapter
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This chapter explores the intersection of spirituality and positive youth development outcomes to shed a new perspective on our understanding of youth well-being. The lion’s share of the literature on the spiritual development of young people has been based on Western, mostly Christian samples. Although a small but significant linkage has been docu...
Chapter
This chapter examines the interrelationships among the evolving field of youth development, Search Institute's developmental asset framework, and public policy for youth. The chapter describes the strength-based youth development approach in large part by comparing it to and contrasting it with the deficit-based orientation to successful developmen...
Article
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Save the Children International Kishoree Kontha ("Adolescent Girls' Voices") was implemented in Bangladeshi villages to build the developmental assets (e.g., support from others, social competencies) of rural girls through peer education in social skills, literacy, and school learning. The Developmental Assets Profile (DAP) measured the project's i...
Article
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This article describes a new conceptual approach to youth spiritual development, positing it as a universal aspect of positive youth development, and presents initial empirical evidence for the cross-cultural validity of this theory. Based on an international survey with 6725 youth in eight countries, it provides a global portrait of the spiritual...
Article
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The role of community in child and adolescent development is emerging as a significant area of theoretical inquiry, research, and application. This article describes the development and utilization of a comprehensive community change effort designed to increase the attention of all community members toward strengthening core developmental processes...
Article
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The framework of developmental assets posits a theoretically-based and research-grounded set of opportunities, experiences, and supports that are related to promoting school success, reducing risk behaviors, and increasing socially-valued outcomes including prosocial behavior, leadership, and resilience. A considerable body of literature on develop...
Article
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Although most social science research on adolescence emphasizes risks and challenges, an emergent field of study focuses on adolescent thriving. The current study extends this line of inquiry by examining the additive power of identifying and nurturing young people's "sparks," giving them "voice," and providing the relationships and opportunities t...
Article
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Examining how spirit develops as part of identity development can deepen our understanding of how meaning, purpose, connectedness, and authentic living contribute to human thriving – and what happens when they go awry. However, research in this field has been limited by a conflation of “religion” and “spirituality” both theoretically and empiricall...
Article
A literature review of the relation between religiousness and adolescent well-being is presented, along with new analyses from a large adolescent data base. It is found that the average level of religiousness of U.S. adolescents has not declined recently, although it does appear to decrease on average across the years of adolescence. African Americ...
Article
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We describe ‘thriving’ as an under-utilized construct that can add value to theory, research, and application in adolescent development. We draw on developmental systems theories to suggest that thriving represents the dynamic and bi-directional interplay of a young person intrinsically animated and energized by discovering his/her specialness, and...
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Both individual and ecological influences are implicated as factors linked to youth violence. In this paper, we conduct analyses on several databases of 6th-12th grade students in the United States, to explore the linkage of positive relationships, opportunities, skills, and values, called Developmental Assets, to prevention of youth aggressive and...
Article
Building on a developmental framework positing five types of assets or inputs needed for children's development, referred to as promises, we investigated the extent to which American children and youth experience the five Promises articulated by the America's Promise Alliance. These are: (1) Caring Adults, (2) Safe Places and Constructive Use of Ti...
Article
Addressing the spiritual development of young people has the potential to strengthen youth work and its outcomes. Spiritual development matters because it is an intrinsic part of being human and because young people themselves view it as important. This article reviews the research that points to positive impacts of spiritual development for youth...
Article
The links between prosocial action and health in adolescence have not been a central area of inquiry in the social sciences. Nevertheless, there is a growing body of literature that provides some hint about this intersection. This is partly due to the relatively recent national interest in volunteerism and the forms of it mandated or encouraged by...
Chapter
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This chapter describes positive youth development (PYD) as an emerging arena of applied developmental science. We show how PYD is both rooted in the theoretical traditions of developmental psychology, and fueled by newer emphases on nurturing the potentialities of youth more than addressing their supposed deficits, and on addressing and helping to...
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A sample of 370 students in the 7th-9th grades in 1998 was followed for 3 years through the 10th-12th grades in order to investigate the relation of "developmental assets"--positive relationships, opportunities, skills, values, and self-perceptions--to academic achievement over time, using actual GPA as the key outcome variable. The greater the num...
Article
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The contribution of nonfamily adults to young people's well-being was explored using both a cross-sectional national sample of 614 12- to 17-yearolds and a longitudinal sample of 370 students followed from 6th–8th grades through 10th–12th grades. Both variable- and person-centered analyses were employed. Young people's involvement in volunteering,...
Article
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Three large and diverse data sets were used to study the relations among 6th?12th grade students' community service and service-learning experiences, academic success, and socioeconomic status (SES). Principals in high-poverty, urban, and majority nonwhite schools were more likely to judge service-learning's impact on student attendance, engagement...
Book
The Handbook of Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence breaks new ground by articulating the state of knowledge in the area of childhood and adolescent spiritual development. Featuring a rich array of theory and research from an international assortment of leading social scientists in multiple disciplines, this book represents work from...
Chapter
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Spiritual development and adolescent well being and thriving Perhaps one of the reasons adolescent spirituality has begun to capture the attention of the public and the academy is the growing body of research associating spirituality and religion with positive adolescent development (Bridges & Moore, 2002; Eccles & Gootman, 2002; Scales & Leffert,...
Chapter
Interest in adolescent religious and spiritual development has gained momentum in the last decade. This trend is likely because of a combination of scientific, political, and societal factors. The interdisciplinary field of positive youth development (Benson & Pittman, 2002) has recently identified religious engagement as a developmental resource t...
Chapter
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Spiritual development in childhood and adolescence: Moving to the scientific mainstream Around the world, there appears to be a growing concern with spirituality in the general public as well as among scholars. Whether one looks at the list of best-selling books, searches the Web, watches contemporary movies or TV shows, or reads general-interest m...
Article
Search Institute's decade-plus emphasis on the elements of positive human development and community approaches to asset building can make a meaningful contribution to the field of child welfare. The institute's framework of developmental assets identifies a set of interrelated experiences, relationships, skills, and values that are associated with...
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Alexander von Eye Michigan State Using two randomly selected separate subsamples of 50,000 middle or high school stu-dents drawn from the 1999 to 2000 Search Institute Profiles of Student Life Attitudes and Behavior survey, first-and second-order factors of items assessing internal and external assets were identified. In both samples, first-order e...
Article
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This study assesses if correspondence existed between concepts scholars use to discuss positive youth development (PYD) and terms used by practitioners, parents, and youth to discuss exemplary PYD, or thriving. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of 173 interviews about the meaning of thriving found no significant commonality between the terms us...
Chapter
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The adolescent does not find challenge or help from the church in the turmoil of growing up, but a more radical secular view of Christianity might be effective
Article
Unrelated adults play potentially important roles in the positive socialization of children and youth, but studies of adolescents suggest the majority of adults do not engage positively with young people on an intentional, frequent, and deep basis. As a result, only a minority of young people report experiencing key developmental assets that have b...
Article
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The authors report on a telephone poll with a nationally representative sample of 1,425 U.S. adults in which they investigated how parental status and age of child might affect patterns of adult engagement with children and youth outside their own families. Compared to nonparents, parents considered 12 of 20 ways of being involved with young people...
Article
The articles in this issue each contribute uniquely to the growing field of adolescent religious and spiritual development. Together, they also illustrate important themes in the field, including the multidimensionality of the domain of religious and spiritual development and a growing emphasis on themes consistent with developmental systems theory...
Article
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Sustained attention to spiritual development during childhood and adolescence in the social and developmental sciences has the potential to significantly enrich and strengthen the understanding of the core processes and dimensions of human development. This article seeks to set the stage for such an inquiry by exploring 6 themes for building a mult...
Article
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Religious involvement is associated with a variety of positive developmental outcomes including restraint from risk, increased coping, and prosocial values and behavior. This study examines a model that explains religious influence on these positive outcomes through the mediating effects of developmental resources important in adolescence. Tests of...
Article
The concept of developmental assets was premiered in 1990 (Benson, 1990) and quickly became linked with other theories and models of developmental strengths, including resiliency (Garmezy 1991), protective factors (Hawkins, Catalano, & Miller, 1992), and positive youth development (Benson & Pittman, 2001). In 1997, the Presidents’ Summit for Americ...
Article
The issue that frames this volume is the strengthening of the human development infrastructure in American communities. This infrastructure is concerned with the patterns and rhythms of relationships, resources, opportunities, and experiences—and the programs and policies that undergird them—for raising competent, connected, and successful children...
Book
Developmental Assets and Asset-Building Communities examines the relationships of developmental assets to other approaches and bodies of work. It raises challenges about the asset-building approach and offers recommendations for how this approach can be strengthened and broadened in impact and research. In doing so, this book extends the scholarly...
Article
Search Institute's integrated program of research on the linkages among community, developmental assets, and health outcomes is discussed. Recommendations are made for building a science that is dedicated to exploring pathways to developmental success.
Article
A recent telephone survey of 1,425 adults and 614 youth aged 12 to 17 is part of an ongoing effort to better understand adult engagement with young people and the impact of these relationships on the development of children and youth. The survey reveals agreement about some fundamental principles for relationships between unrelated youth and adults...
Chapter
Developmental assets represent a theoretical construct that weaves together a set of developmental experiences, resources, and opportunities that enhance health outcomes for children and adolescents. The intent of the framework is to encourage the mobilization of asset-building efforts within many settings of a child's life and to increase those ef...
Article
Unrelated adults play potentially important roles in the positive socialization of children and youth, but studies of adolescents suggest the majority of adults do not engage positively with young people on an intentional, frequent, and deep basis. As a result, only a minority of young people report experiencing key developmental assets that have b...
Article
To study associations between binge/purge and weight loss behaviors and "developmental assets" among adolescent girls and boys. The Search Institute's Profile of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors self-report questionnaire was administered to 48,264 girls and 47,131 boys in grades 6 through 12 at schools in 213 cities or towns across the United...
Article
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This article investigated the contribution of developmental assets to the prediction of thriving behaviors among adolescents. The study was based on a sample of 6,000 youth in Grades 6-12 evenly distributed across 6 ethnic groups. Investigated were the effects of gender, grade, and levels of youth assets on 7 thriving indicators: school success, le...
Article
This report presents both a framework for understanding positive factors that contribute to the healthy development of young people, termed "developmental assets," and a portrait of 6th-to-12th-grade youth based on that framework. The report analyzes and interprets data from 99,462 youth in 213 communities collected during the 1996-97 school year....
Article
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A problem-focused paradigm tends to dominate theory, research, and practice and has been traditionally used to plan, organize, and implement prevention policies, programs, and practices. An emerging paradigm focuses on conceptualizing core elements of human development to enhance health and well-being. This article describes the research instrument...
Article
The role of community in child and adolescent development is emerging as a significant area of theoretical inquiry, research, and application. This article describes the development and utilization of a comprehensive community change effort designed to increase the attention of all community members toward strengthening core developmental processes...
Article
Using data from a national sample of 715 United States adoptive families, comparisons were made between adopted adolescents and birth adolescents (children born to the adoptive parents) on the Youth Self-Report (Achenbach), 8 psychological and behavioral adjustment factor scales from the Attitudes and Behaviors survey (Benson), and an identity scal...
Article
Using data from a national sample of 715 United States adoptive families, comparisons were made between adopted adolescents and birth adolescents (children born to the adoptive parents) on the Youth xSelf-Report (Achenbach), 8 psychological and behavioral adjustment factor scales from the Attitudes and Behaviors survey (Benson), and an identity sca...
Article
A sample of 4682 adolescent adoptees were divided into four groups, according to self-reported age at adoption: [adopted at] age 0–1 (infants), 2–5 years, 6–10 years, and above age 10. Comparisons among these four groups and a matched control group of nonadoptees were made on 12 factors of emotional and behavioral adjustment and family functioning....
Article
An sample of adoptees in the adolescence (n = 4682) was compared to a matched control group of 4682 nonadoptees on nine factors of emotional and behavioral adjustment and three factors of family functioning. Adoptees showed small but consistently lower levels of adjustment on 9 of the 12 scales. Adoptees showed significantly higher levels of prosoc...
Article
The influence of shared environmental factors on adolescent adjustment was investigated in a sample of 667 adoptive families. Correlations between parental ratings of family functioning and adolescent ratings of adjustment were generally higher for birth offspring than for adoptive offspring, suggesting passive genotype-environment processes. For a...
Article
Although adolescent alcohol use has been consistently associated with parental drinking behavior, sibling drinking behavior and family functioning, the extent to which these associations owe to genetic or shared environmental influences has not been previously investigated. Using an adoption study design, we sought to determine whether the familial...
Book
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This four-year study was conducted in order to gain in-depth knowledge of the mental health and service needs of adoptive families with adolescents who were adopted as infants. Four key questions shaped this research: * Do adolescents who were adopted as infants have mental health problems that differ from non-adopted youth? If so, how are they mo...
Article
This report provides a composite look at public schools in the first 111 communities that conducted the 152-item survey titled "Search Institute Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors" through the RespecTeen program. Chapter 1 presents a vision of what is wanted for children, then attempts to evaluate how well this vision is being met. I...
Article
Although most of the national concern about violence has focused on major cities, no community is free from violence. Violent acts in suburbs, small towns, and rural areas may not be as severe as in urban areas, yet they exist. The Profiles of Student Life survey of 47,000 students in grades 6-12 included questions about violent behavior. The stude...
Article
Summarizes findings from "The Troubled Journey: A Portrait of 6th-12th Grade Youth," a study of society's role in youth development. Highlights missing supports, destructive influences, at-risk behaviors, and promising strategies (e.g., reduce deficits/increase assets, strengthen youth-oriented institutions, involve youth in caring for others, beco...
Article
The anthropological study of childhood first docu-ments and accounts for the variety of childhoods found around the world; second, uses the comparative ethnographic record to test hypotheses about human development; and, third, studies the mechanisms in child, family, and community life for the acquisition, internal transformations, sharing, and in...

Citations

... Psychological presence of birth parents was measured using an item taken from the Adoption Dynamics Questionnaire (Benson et al., 1994). The item used asked participants to indicate how frequently they think about both their birth parent on a scale ranging from never (1) to every day (7). ...
... Research has documented that spirituality and religious activity can enhance well-being and people's coping ability when experiencing adverse life events such as cancer, heart problems, death of a close family member, divorce, or injury (Ano & Vasconcelles, 2005;Pargament, 2001). Religious faith is also associated with resilience, optimism, and ego strength (Benson et al., 2019;Markstrom, 1999), as well as better self-control (Laird et al., 2011). ...
... This approach focuses on productive activities rather than on trying to cure and treat maladaptive tendencies. The agenda is to maximize the potential of the individual and to reduce the potential of hazardous, destructive, and antisocial behaviors (Lerner & Benson, 2003). The period of adolescence is a particularly important developmental stage since social, emotional, and cognitive processes are involved in attempts to navigate increasingly complex relationships (Blakemore & Mills, 2014). ...
... Spiritual intelligence can add adolescents' yearning to seek meaning and purpose in life within an ecological context of family, peers, community. (Benson et al. 2003). Spiritual intelligence will help adolescent girls to develop themselves by exploring, clarifying and recognizing their sense of personal calling, values and commitments for their own future. ...
... Although marginal, the significant role of fathers' education compared to the non-significant influence of gender in the multivariate analysis is implied in the Norwegian Public Reports (Norges offentlige utredninger, 2019) that showed that parents' educational background had a greater effect on children's school performance than gender. As for age, the observation that younger participants reported more of the assets and thriving indicators than older participants has been consistently reported in prior studies (Benson et al., 1998;Scales et al., 2000;Wiium, 2017). One possible explanation for this age difference may be due to the positive correlations between age, maturity and independence such that, due to their maturity and search for independence, older youth may not have access to or find some assets as relevant compared to younger youth. ...
... Zie 5.3) en de uitgangspunten van wat in Nederland de pedagogische civil society wordt genoemd Kesselring, 2013) waarbij het gaat om de gemeenschappelijke verantwoordelijkheid van volwassenen in een wijk voor het grootbrengen van kinderen in de buurt. Wat de programma's van het SI extra lijken te hebben ten opzichte van De Vreedzame Wijk is: de nadruk op de 40 assets als theoretisch fundament van de programma's en uitkomsten-indicator die een gemeenschappelijke taal creëert (Benson & Scales, 2011). Deze strategie lijkt doeltreffend en theoretisch goed gefundeerd (Nakkula et al., 2010). ...
... (Ungar, 2018, p. 4). In a resilience framework, positive outcomes are not just the mere absence of problems, but the presence of strengths (Afifi & MacMillan, 2011;Benson & Scales, 2011), such as individual assets (e.g., knowledge, skills) and interpersonal resources (e.g., social support, social networks). ...
... One protective health asset with ancient roots but with the potential for contemporary application is spiritual health (Fisher, 2011;Miller & Thoresen, 2003). Spiritual health has long been studied in relation to perceptions of well-being and is integral in many indigenous traditions (King et al., 2009;Montenegro & Stephens, 2006;Tse et al., 2005) and holistic models of health (King & Benson, 2006). Inspired by these traditions, many have argued for the inclusion of spiritual health as a fourth domain in the World Health Organization's (WHO) definition of health (Chirico, 2016;Vader, 2006). ...
... Despite being individualized, these seekers are often part of certain social circles or social groups which provide a context of belonging with their unique language and culture, even though these social structures are often quite loose and fluid. Such self-initiated processes within the fluid, eclectic, and deregulated arena of alternative spirituality (Bruce, 1996;Sutcliffe, 2000) are for the most part voluntary (Roehlkepartain et al., 2006) and idiosyncratic (Kwilecki, 1999). Thus, individuals are faced with the challenge of personally constructing their own worldview and identity with less clear guidance from traditions and the support of stable structures and designated authorities to guide this process. ...
... Depressed adolescents may have low educational and socioeconomic expectations, engage in substance use, and lack the neurocognitive capabilities necessary for educational attainment (Conroy, Sandel, and Zuckerman 2010;Khantzian 1985). Conversely, low educational attainment is stressful for adolescents and may generate depressive feelings (Benson et al. 2006). However, to our knowledge, no study has investigated potential conjoint trajectory classes with different patterns of these co-occurring problems. ...