40 Developmental Assets

The 40 Assets | Research | Community Data | Asset Building Ideas

The 40 Assets

The 40 Developmental Assets were developed by the Search Institute, a non-profit organization based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Search Institute works to promote the well-being of children and adolescents throughout the nation. Since 1989, the Search Institute has been studying the role of Developmental Assets and their effect on the healthy growth and development of young people in communities around the country.

The list of the 40 Developmental Assets grew out of much reading, thinking, and discussion about what young people need to succeed. Once the list was made, researchers compiled a list of studies that support the choices of these assets. In addition, researchers constructed a survey that measures the number of assets in young people's lives, and found that the more assets young people have, the better off they seemed to be. Essentially, these 40 Developmental Assets are building blocks that young people need to grow up healthy, caring and productive citizens.

The 40 Developmental Assets are divided into two categories by their function - external and internal assets. In each asset category the assets are organized by asset type.

External assets are positive factors in the environment that provide structure and support for youth. They are relationships and opportunities that young people experience in their families, schools and communities.

Internal assets are commitments, values, competencies, and self-perceptions that provide a positive inner guide for young people. They are competencies and values that youth develop internally to guide behaviors and choices.

External Resources

(Click here to view the 40 Developmental Assets in Spanish -- Traducir en EspaƱol)


  1. Family Support

    Family life provides high levels of love and support. ACTION TIPS
  2. Positive Family Communication

    Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advise and counsel from parents. ACTION TIPS
  3. Other Adult Relationships

    Young person receives support from three or more non-parent adults. ACTION TIPS
  4. Caring Neighborhood

    Young person experiences caring neighbors. ACTION TIPS
  5. Caring School Climate

    School provides caring, encouraging environment. ACTION TIPS
  6. Parent Involvement in Schooling

    Parent(s) are actively involved in helping the child succeed in school. ACTION TIPS
  7. Empowerment

  8. Community Values Youth

    Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth. ACTION TIPS
  9. Youth as Resources

    Young people are given useful roles in the community. ACTION TIPS
  10. Service to Others

    Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week. ACTION TIPS
  11. Safety

    Young person feels safe at home, at school, and in the neighborhood. ACTION TIPS
  12. Boundries & Expectations

  13. Family Boundries

    Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person's whereabouts. ACTION TIPS
  14. School Boundries

    School provides clear rules and consequences. ACTION TIPS
  15. Neighborhood Boundries

    Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people's behavior. ACTION TIPS
  16. Adult Role Models

    Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior. ACTION TIPS
  17. Positive Peer Influence

    Young person's best friends model responsible behavior. ACTION TIPS
  18. High Expectations

    Some text explaining the asset. ACTION TIPS
  19. Constructive Use of Time

  20. Creative Activities

    Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice of music, theater, or other arts. ACTION TIPS
  21. Youth Programs

    Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school or in community organizations. ACTION TIPS
  22. Religious Community

    Young person spends one hour or more per week in activities in a religious institution. ACTION TIPS
  23. Time at Home

    Young person is out with friends "with nothing special to do" two or fewer nights per week. ACTION TIPS
  24. Internal Assets

    Commitment to Learning

  25. Achievement Motivation

    Young person is motivated to do well in school. ACTION TIPS
  26. School Engagement

    Young person is actively engaged in learning. ACTION TIPS
  27. Homework

    Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day. ACTION TIPS
  28. Bonding to School

    Young person cares about her or his school. ACTION TIPS
  29. Reading for Pleasure

    Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week. ACTION TIPS
  30. Positive Values

  31. Caring

    Young person places a high value on helping other people. ACTION TIPS
  32. Equality and Social Justice

    Young person places a high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty. ACTION TIPS
  33. Integrity

    Young person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs. ACTION TIPS
  34. Honesty

    Young person tells the truth even when it's not easy. ACTION TIPS
  35. Responsibility

    Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility. ACTION TIPS
  36. Restraint

    The young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs. ACTION TIPS
  37. Social Competencies

  38. Planning and Decision Making

    Young person knows how to plan ahead and to make choices. ACTION TIPS
  39. Interpersonal Competence

    Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills. ACTION TIPS
  40. Cultural Competence

    Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. ACTION TIPS
  41. Resistance Skills

    Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations. ACTION TIPS
  42. Peaceful Conflict Resolution

    Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently. ACTION TIPS
  43. Positive Identity

  44. Personal Power

    Young person feels he or she has control over "things that happen to me". ACTION TIPS
  45. Self-Esteem

    Young person reports having high self-esteem. ACTION TIPS
  46. Sense of Purpose

    Young person reports that "my life has a purpose." ACTION TIPS
  47. Positive View of Personal Future

    Young person is optimistic about her or his personal future. ACTION TIPS