The Positive Perspective on Youth Development

Research BriefHealthJun 1 2005

How can we promote the mental health of children and adolescents? In decades of focus on psychopathology, clinical psychology, psychiatry, and allied disciplines have begun the task of improving the lives of young people and the adults they will become. Effective treatment strategies and risk-based prevention programs such as those described earlier in this volume are among our most notable scientific achievements. But they represent a journey just begun. In recent years, these traditional approaches—all based on a disease model in which well-being is defined only by the absence of distress and disorder—have been challenged. Calls have been made for balanced attention to the positive aspects of human development as well as the negative ones.