Healthy youth development: Science and strategies

Debra Hilkene Bernat, Michael D Resnick

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    90 Scopus citations


    Research over the past decade indicates that healthy youth development strategies-the deliberate process of providing all youth with the support, relationship experiences, resources, and opportunities needed to become successful and competent adults-are promising approaches for preventing or reducing a wide range of adolescent health-risk behaviors. In this article, we describe the history, science, and practice of healthy youth development. First, a brief overview of barriers to healthy youth development including obstacles the United States will face in the coming decades for meetings the needs of all youth is provided. We present the history of resiliency research that illuminated the concepts "risk factors," "protective factors," and "healthy youth development," and provide definitions of each of these concepts. Next, we discuss select empirical evidence supporting youth development strategies and highlight the events and experiences in the lives of youth that have been consistently shown to protect youth against a broad range of health-risk behaviors. Finally, we describe elements of effective interventions for promoting the healthy development of all young people.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)S10-S16
    JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
    Issue numberSUPPL. 6
    StatePublished - Nov 2006


    • Adolescents
    • Health-risk behaviors
    • Healthy youth development
    • Protective factors
    • Risk factors


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