About this Research Topic
In this Research Topic, our aim is to examine how personal resources related to competencies, skills, and self-perception as well as environmental, contextual, and relational features of the social contexts of diverse youth, directly or indirectly are important to mental health and psychological well-being. As previous research on young people has mainly focused on youth’s weaknesses rather than their strengths, our use of Positive Youth Development (PYD) in working with culturally diverse youth and their well-being in this Research Topic is novel.
We invite contributions from researchers that were initially presented their papers in a meeting that was held by research partners of the Cross-National Project on Positive Youth Development (CN-PYD), and who represent an international and multidisciplinary panel of experts on PYD. The CN-PYD was initiated in 2014 at the University of Bergen and has an ongoing data collection that involves approximately 10,000 minority and majority youth and emerging adults (ages 16 to 29) living in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and South America. CN-PYD uses a strengths-based approach to the conceptualization of youth as resources and agentic, which is in opposition to the view of the developmental period of adolescence as being a period inherently fraught with problems and risks. The goal of the cross-national project is to assess personal strengths and contextual resources, considering how these resources come together to facilitate youth thriving and to document how young people make positive and valued contributions to themselves and others. We also advance research on the complex interplay between personal and contextual resources and their connections with risk behaviors and problems, in essence, taking a perspective of the whole child, both in terms of strengths and problems.
We adopt an ecological theoretical approach as well as the use of PYD frameworks, such as Geldhof and colleagues’ 5Cs of PYD and the Search Institute’s Developmental Asset Profile in the study of mental health and psychological well-being among youth and emerging adults. Ecologically, we assess the contexts of the individual, peers, family, school, and community. The 5Cs of PYD translate to five positive outcomes of Competence (academic, social, and vocational skills), Confidence (sense of mastery, positive identity, and self-worth), Character (integrity, moral commitment, and personal values), Connection (healthy relation to community, friends, family, and school) and Caring (empathy and sympathy). Developmental assets reflect youth strengths and contextual resources that young people need to thrive.
For this Research Topic, authors are invited to focus their contributions on data that are collected from contexts where very little or no research on PYD has ever been conducted. As we know little empirically about these contexts, assets and resources may greatly differ from those experienced in the U.S. context, which is where many of the leading theories of PYD were originally developed. We believe that the collection in this Research Topic will exemplify PYD research from a truly cross-national perspective and highlights the application of PYD in key contexts.
Keywords: PYD, mental health, well-being, diverse youth, positive youth development, emerging adults
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.