Bringing parents the 40 Youth Development Assets™

Parenting Partners™ is a university-affiliated program bringing parents the best practices in youth development. Our research partner, the Search Institute, has identified 40 Developmental Assets through their research on more than two million youth – these are the real life practices of youth who succeed in school and resist negative influences such as drugs.

Parenting Partners™ gives parents the skills to build these 40 Assets in their children. Parents are empowered by this research and the practical power of the assets to promote their children’s success.

The Search Institute has selected Parenting Partners™ as its training resource across North America for parent engagement with the 40 Assets.

To learn more about The Search Institute visit their website.

Research on the 40 Youth Development Assets™

The Search Institute and universities such as Stanford, The University of Minnesota, Tufts, and Fuller Seminary School of Psychology are continually conducting new research on the impact of the 40 Youth Assets.

Search Institute’s Insights & Evidence is a Web-based publication that presents the latest research from Search Institute on healthy children and youth in a format that is useful to educator, parents, and community leaders. Recent research demonstrates the power of Assets to improve academic performance and drug resistance. These studies are summarized below.


Assets and GPA

Increasing the number of Youth Developmental Assets increases GPA. Youth with 10 or fewer Assets earned a 2.1 GPA, but GPA rose to 2.7 for those with 11-20 Assets. Youth who crossed the 21-Asset threshold (21-30 Assets) earned a 3.0 GPA.

The study also found that high levels of Assets trump socio-economic factors. “Students from all racial/ethnic backgrounds with high levels of assets (31-40) are about five to 12 times as likely as those with few assets (0-10) to be successful in school.”


Building assets to strengthen substance abuse prevention

“Because of the power of developmental assets in young people’s lives, Asset building offers innovative strategies for building community capacity to ensure that fewer young people engage in substance abuse and other high-risk behaviors, and that more young people thrive.”

Simply stated, young people with high levels of Assets lose interest in drugs, alcohol, drinking and driving, cigarette use, etc.

For a one page summary of the study:

For the complete study:

For more recent 40 Asset research visit:

What are assets?

Research by the Search Institute has identified 40 concrete, positive experiences, and qualities called Developmental Assets that have a tremendous influence on young people’s lives.

These building blocks of healthy development help young people group up healthy, caring, and responsible. The Assets are grouped in eight categories:

  • Support
  • Empowerment
  • Boundaries and Expectations
  • Constructive Use of Time
  • Commitment to Learning
  • Positive Values
  • Social Competencies
  • Positive Identities

The more assets young people have, the better! Assets have a powerful effect on a young person. Assets promote actions (also called thriving behaviors) that we hope for in our children and youth:

  • Succeeding in school
  • Helping others
  • Valuing diversity
  • Maintaining good health
  • Exhibiting leadership
  • Resisting danger
  • Overcoming adversity

Developmental assets

Search Institute has identified the following building blocks of healthy development that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. Percentages of young people who experience each asset represent over 217,000 6th to 12th grade youth surveyed in 318 communities and 33 states during the 1999-2000 school year.

Asset Type
Asset Name
External AssetsSupport1.Family SupportFamily life provides high levels of love and support.70%
2.Positive family communicationYoung person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively.Young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parent(s).30%
3.Other adult relationshipYoung person receives support from three or more nonparent adults.45%
4.Caring neighborhoodYoung person experiences caring neighbors.40%
5.Caring school climateSchool provides a caring, encouraging environment.29%
Empowerment6.Parent involvement in schoolingParent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.34%
7.Community values youthYoung person perceives that adults in the community value youth.25%
8.Youth as resourcesYoung people are given useful roles in the community.28%
9.Service to othersYoung person serves in the community one or more hours per week.51%
10.SafetyYoung person feels safe at home, at school and in the neighborhood.51%
Boundaries and Expectations11.Family boundariesFamily has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts.48%
12.School boundariesSchool provides clear rules and consequences.53%
13.Neighborhood boundariesNeighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior.49%
14.Adult role modelsParent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.30%
15.Positive peer influenceYoung person’s best friends model responsible behavior.65%
ConstructiveUse of Time16.High expectationsBoth parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well.49%
17.Creative activitiesYoung person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater or other arts.20%
18.Youth programsYoung person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs or organizations at school and/or in the community.58%
19.Religious communityYoung person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution.63%
20.Time at homeYoung person is out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer nights per week.52%
Internal AssetsCommitmentto Learning21.Achievement motivationYoung person is motivated to do well in school.67%
22.School engagementYoung person is actively engaged in learning.61%
23.HomeworkYoung person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day.53%
24.BondingYoung person cares about his or her school.54%
25.Reading for pleasureYoung person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.23%
Positive Values26.CaringYoung person places high value on helping other people.50%
27.Equality and social justiceYoung person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.52%
28.IntegrityYoung person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs.68%
29.HonestyYoung person “tells the truth, even when it is not easy”67%
30.ResponsibilityYoung person accepts and takes personal responsibility.63%
Social Competencies31.RestraintYoung person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.47%
32.Planning and decision-makingYoung person knows how to plan ahead and make choices.30%
33.Interpersonal competenceYoung person has empathy, sensitivity and friendship skills.47%
34.Cultural competenceYoung person has knowledge of, and comfort with, people of different cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds.42%
35.Resistance skillsYoung person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.42%
Positive Identity36.Peaceful conflict resolutionYoung person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.45%
37.Personal powerYoung person feels he or she has control over “things that happen to me.”44%
38.Self-esteemYoung person reports having high self-esteem.52%
39.Sense of purposeYoung person reports that “my life has a purpose.”59%
40.Positive view of personal futureYoung person is optimistic about his or her personal future.74%

Permission to reproduce this chart is granted for educational, non-commercial purposes only. Copyright © 2000 by Search Institute, 615 First Avenue NE, Ste.125, Minneapolis, Minn. 55413. For information on Asset building and Search Institute’s national Healthy Communities • Healthy Youth initiative, call 1 (877) 240-7251. Used by permission.