The 40 Assets

Bringing parents the 40 Youth Development Assets™

Parenting Partners™ is a university-affiliated program bringing parents the best practices in youth development. Our research partner, the Search Institute, has identified 40 Developmental Assets through their research on more than two million youth – these are the real life practices of youth who succeed in school and resist negative influences such as drugs.

Parenting Partners™ gives parents the skills to build these 40 Assets in their children. Parents are empowered by this research and the practical power of the assets to promote their children’s success.

The Search Institute has selected Parenting Partners™ as its training resource across North America for parent engagement with the 40 Assets.

To learn more about The Search Institute visit

Research on the 40 Youth Development Assets™

The Search Institute and universities such as Stanford, The University of Minnesota, Tufts, and Fuller Seminary School of Psychology are continually conducting new research on the impact of the 40 Youth Assets.

Search Institute’s Insights & Evidence is a Web-based publication that presents the latest research from Search Institute on healthy children and youth in a format that is useful to educator, parents , and community leaders. Recent research demonstrates the power of Assets to improve academic performance and drug resistance. These studies are summarized below.

Assets and GPA

Increasing the number of Youth Developmental Assets increases GPA. Youth with 10 or fewer Assets earned a 2.1 GPA, but GPA rose to 2.7 for those with 11-20 Assets. Youth who crossed the 21-Asset threshold (21-30 Assets) earned a 3.0 GPA.

The study also found that high levels of Assets trump socio-economic factors. “Students from all racial/ethnic backgrounds with high levels of assets (31-40) are about five to 12 times as likely as those with few assets (0-10) to be successful in school.”

For a one page summary of the study:

For the complete study:

Building assets to strengthen substance abuse prevention

“Because of the power of developmental assets in young people’s lives, Asset building offers innovative strategies for building community capacity to ensure that fewer young people engage in substance abuse and other high-risk behaviors, and that more young people thrive.”

Simply stated, young people with high levels of Assets lose interest in drugs, alcohol, drinking and driving, cigarette use, etc.

For a one page summary of the study:

For the complete study:

For more recent 40 Asset research visit:

What are assets?

Research by the Search Institute has identified 40 concrete, positive experiences and qualities called Developmental Assets that have a tremendous influence on young people’s lives.

These building blocks of healthy development help young people group up healthy, caring, and responsible. The Assets are grouped in eight categories:

  • Support
  • Empowerment
  • Boundaries and Expectations
  • Constructive Use of Time
  • Commitment to Learning
  • Positive Values
  • Social Competencies
  • Positive Identities

The more assets young people have, the better! Assets have a powerful effect on a young person. Assets promote actions (also called thriving behaviors) that we hope for in our children and youth:

  • Succeeding in school
  • Helping others
  • Valuing diversity
  • Maintaining good health
  • Exhibiting leadership
  • Resisting danger
  • Overcoming adversity

Developmental assets

Search Institute has identified the following building blocks of healthy development that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. Percentages of young people who experience each asset represent over 217,000 6th to 12th grade youth surveyed in 318 communities and 33 states during the 1999-2000 school year.

Asset Type
Asset Name
External Assets Support 1. Family Support Family life provides high levels of love and support. 70%
2. Positive family communication Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively.Young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parent(s). 30%
3. Other adult relationship Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults. 45%
4. Caring neighborhood Young person experiences caring neighbors. 40%
5. Caring school climate School provides a caring, encouraging environment. 29%
Empowerment 6. Parent involvement in schooling Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school. 34%
7. Community values youth Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth. 25%
8. Youth as resources Young people are given useful roles in the community. 28%
9. Service to others Young person serves in the community one or more hours per week. 51%
10. Safety Young person feels safe at home, at school and in the neighborhood. 51%
Boundaries and Expectations 11. Family boundaries Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts. 48%
12. School boundaries School provides clear rules and consequences. 53%
13. Neighborhood boundaries Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior. 49%
14. Adult role models Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior. 30%
15. Positive peer influence Young person’s best friends model responsible behavior. 65%
ConstructiveUse of Time 16. High expectations Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well. 49%
17. Creative activities Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater or other arts. 20%
18. Youth programs Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs or organizations at school and/or in the community. 58%
19. Religious community Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution. 63%
20. Time at home Young person is out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer nights per week. 52%
Internal Assets Commitmentto Learning 21. Achievement motivation Young person is motivated to do well in school. 67%
22. School engagement Young person is actively engaged in learning. 61%
23. Homework Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day. 53%
24. Bonding Young person cares about his or her school. 54%
25. Reading for pleasure Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week. 23%
Positive Values 26. Caring Young person places high value on helping other people. 50%
27. Equality and social justice Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty. 52%
28. Integrity Young person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs. 68%
29. Honesty Young person “tells the truth, even when it is not easy” 67%
30. Responsibility Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility. 63%
Social Competencies 31. Restraint Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs. 47%
32. Planning and decision-making Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices. 30%
33. Interpersonal competence Young person has empathy, sensitivity and friendship skills. 47%
34. Cultural competence Young person has knowledge of, and comfort with, people of different cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds. 42%
35. Resistance skills Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations. 42%
Positive Identity 36. Peaceful conflict resolution Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently. 45%
37. Personal power Young person feels he or she has control over “things that happen to me.” 44%
38. Self-esteem Young person reports having high self-esteem. 52%
39. Sense of purpose Young person reports that “my life has a purpose.” 59%
40. Positive view of personal future Young person is optimistic about his or her personal future. 74%

Permission to reproduce this chart is granted for educational, non-commercial purposes only. Copyright © 2000 by Search Institute, 615 First Avenue NE, Ste.125, Minneapolis, Minn. 55413. For information on Asset building and Search Institute’s national Healthy Communities • Healthy Youth initiative, call 1 (877) 240-7251. Used by permission.

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