Youth development or adolescent development is the process through which adolescents (alternately called
youthor young adults) acquire the cognitive, social, and emotional skills and abilities required to navigate life. The experience of adolescence varies for every youth: culture, gender, and socioeconomic classare important influences on development. This development occurs throughout a young person's life, including formal and informal settings such as home, church, or school; and similar relationships, such as peer friendships, work, parenting, teaching, or mentoring.
Youth is an important developmental period described in, most psychological theories of
human developmentfrom Sigmund Freud's theory of psychosexual development, Carl Jung, and in particular Erik Erikson.
Erikson's stages of psychosocial development identified adolescence is a time of
identity formation). During each stage, behavior changes in response to biological maturation and changes in the social environment. The process of entering adulthood entails many decisions both conscious and not. The examination of this stage of life is rooted in the child developmenttheories of John Dewey, Jean Piaget, and Erik Erikson.
Margaret Meadalso added a great deal of understanding to this field. Regarding the successive evolution of youthas a social phenomenon, Mead reportedly wrote,:"As long as any adult thinks that he, like the parents and teachers of old, can become introspective, invoking his own youth to understand the youth before him, he is lost."
Youth development has been at the core of the mission of many
youth organizationsfor almost 100 years. It is increasingly identified as an important component of school reform, led primarily by initiatives of the Carnegie Corporationand the Forum for Youth Investment. Other important international organizations include The European Knowledge Centre for Youth Policyand the Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies.
The sociological field of study that examines youth development is separated into myriad political examinations of young people, including
positive youth development, or PYD, and community youth development, or CYD. Each of these entails particular connotations of the particular relevance or importance of young people to their families, schools, and communities. Important factors in each of these theories include youth/adult partnershipsand youth voice. CYD also places high value on youth leadershipand civic engagement.
PYD is the idea that all young people need support, guidance, and opportunities during
adolescence. It also looks toward creating supportive communities for all young people and at the same time, engaging youth to contribute to the well-being of the larger community.
Various organisations use this 'youth development' process to empower individuals; one such organisation is
Academic and scholarly journals
New Directions for Youth Development" [ [http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/97015503 New Directions for Youth Development] . Wiley. Retrieved 5/20/07.]
The Prevention Researcher" [ [http://www.tpronline.org/ The Prevention Researcher] . Retrieved 5/20/07.]
Erikson's stages of psychosocial development
High school subcultures
* [http://www.nae4ha.org/profdev/joyd/index.html "Journal of Youth Development"]
* [http://home.earthlink.net/~mmales/yt-mead.htm "Coming of Age in America"] - An article by sociologist
Mike Malessituating Margaret Mead's perspectives on youth in the 20th century to the youth in the 21st.
* [http://www.nydic.org/nydic National Youth Development Information Center]
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