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J Adolesc Health. 2002 Dec;31(6 Suppl):136-52.

Reasons to invest in adolescents.

Author information

1
Urban Institute, Washington, DC 20037, USA. mburt@ui.urban.org

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To discuss the frequent failure of the United States (and other countries) to make the types of investment in youth that would increase the future prospects of youth from high-risk backgrounds. I argue that these investments are worth making, and describe the types of research and knowledge dissemination that will be necessary to promote such investments.

APPROACH:

I begin with a framework for thinking about and working with adolescents. I review theories of youth development, the developmental tasks of adolescence, risk and resilience, and the strong tendency of current approaches to address single problems and symptoms rather than underlying conditions. A conceptual framework is presented that combines known elements of risk and protective factors, such as antecedents, system markers of current or potential difficulties, risk behaviors, and outcomes. I briefly review what we know about youth risk behavior and outcomes in various domains, including combined prevalence and patterning. I then examine what we know about the payoffs that we can expect from investing in activities that promote adolescent health. I end with a set of recommendations for researchers and practitioners, and discuss the information that they need to put these recommendations into practice.

PMID:
12470910
DOI:
10.1016/s1054-139x(02)00486-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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