Measuring Positive Youth Development: The Development of a State Benchmark


  • Robert J. Nystrom Oregon Department of Human Services
  • Adriana Prata Oregon Department of Human Services
  • Sarah Knipper Ramowski Oregon Department of Human Services



Public health benchmarks are indicators for well-being and health status that help inform program planning and policy development. In Oregon, recent efforts by a group of state agencies and community partners led to the adoption of a Positive Youth Development (PYD) benchmark by the Oregon Progress Board in 2006. In this paper, we describe the process of creating the state benchmark and present research evidence showing strong relationships that link high levels of PYD to reduced levels of risk behaviors and increased levels of positive, healthy behaviors among Oregon youth. The creation of this benchmark allows better planning, development and monitoring of PYD programs by state agencies, schools and community partners. In addition, results reinforce the finding that the promotion of programs that boost one or more elements of PYD may help reduce risky behaviors and improve positive, healthy behaviors among adolescents.






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