Adolescent Thriving: The Role of Sparks, Relationships, and Empowerment
Although most social science research on adolescence emphasizes risks and challenges, an emergent field of study focuses on adolescent thriving. This study extends this line of inquiry by examining the power of identifying and nurturing young people’s passions or interests (“sparks”), empowering them to make civic contributions (giving them “voice”), and providing the relationships and opportunities that reinforce and nourish thriving.
In this report, a national sample of adolescents completed a survey that investigated their sparks, the opportunities and relationships they have to support pursuing those sparks, and their “voice”. The results indicate that linking one’s spark with a sense of voice and supportive opportunities and relationships strengthens concurrent outcomes in young people during the key developmental period of adolescence. The results demonstrate the value of focusing on thriving in adolescence, both to reframe our understanding of this age group and to highlight the urgency of providing adolescents the opportunities and relationships they need to thrive.
The 5 Promises
The 5 Promises represent conditions children need to achieve adult success. The collective work of the Alliance involves keeping these promises to America’s youth. This article relates to the promises highlighted below: