What are Developmental Assets?

The Developmental Assets® are 40 positive values, experiences, and qualities that help kids succeed. The assets influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible adults.


Studies of more than 2.2 million young people consistently show that the more positive values, experiences, and qualities  young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors and the more likely they are to thrive. Assets have power for all young people, regardless of their gender, economic status, family, or race/ethnicity, and are better predictors of high-risk involvement and thriving than poverty or being from a single-parent family.

Download a list of the assets.

Grounded in extensive research in youth development, resiliency, and prevention, the Developmental Assets represent the relationships, opportunities, and personal qualities that young people need to avoid risks and to lead successful lives. Because of its basis in research and its proven effectiveness, the Developmental Assets framework has become the single most widely used approach to positive youth development in the United States.

The Developmental Assets form the basis for all of ParentFurther.com, the only parenting site founded on assets. By building assets with and for your children, you can ensure that they will have the skills, tools, and experiences they need to grow into successful adults who make good decisions for themselves and positively influence those around them. Assets have power for all young people, regardless of gender, economic status, and race or ethnicity.

For more on Developmental Assets, see What Kids Need: Developmental Assets at Search Institute.


Studies of more than 2.2 million young people in the United States have shown that kids who experience more assets are less likely to get into trouble, use drugs, and engage in sexual activity, violence, gambling, and other high-risk behaviors. Theyre also more likely to be successful, do well in school, and help others.

See the charts below for examples of how assets affect children:

(The following information is based on surveys of almost 150,000 6th- to 12th-grade youth in 202 communities across the United States in calendar year 2003.1)

                                   0-10 Assets   11-20 Assets   21-30 Assets   31-40 Assets
Problem Alcohol Use       45%                  26%                 11%                   3%
Violence                            62%                  38%                 18%                    6%
Illicit Drug Use                  38%                 18%                    6%                   1%
Sexual Activity                 34%                  23%                  11%                   3%

                                       0-10 Assets   11-20 Assets   21-30 Assets   31-40 Assets
Exhibits Leadership         48%                 66%                  78%                   87%
Maintains Good Health    27%                 48%                  69%                   88%
Values Diversity               39%                 60%                  76%                   89%
Succeeds in School          9%                  19%                  34%                   54%

For more examples, see Developmental Assets Research at Search Institute.

1. Developmental Assets: A Profile of Your Youth (Minneapolis, MN: Search Institute, 2005), 2003 weighted aggregate dataset, unpublished report.