Five core competencies are emphasized:
- a positive sense of self
- decision–making skills
- a moral system of belief
- and a prosocial connectedness.
The chapter authors summarize the empirical literature linking these competencies to each risk behavior, providing examples from developmental and prevention research. They highlight programs and policies in the United States and internationally that have changed one or more dimensions the core competencies through efforts designed to build individual skills, strengthen relationships, and enhance opportunities and supports across multiple developmental contexts.
This is the 122nd volume of the Jossey–Bass quarterly report series <a href="[external URL] Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. The mission of New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development is to provide scientific and scholarly presentations on cutting edge issues and concepts in the field of child and adolescent development. Each volume focuses on a specific bnew directionb or research topic, and is edited by an expert or experts on that topic.
This introductory chapter describes a set of core competencies (a positive sense of self, self–control, decision–making skills, a moral system of belief, and prosocial connectedness) that are important for promoting positive youth development and reducing at–risk behavior in youth.
2. Core Competencies and the Prevention of School Failure and Early School Leaving (Catherine P. Bradshaw, Lindsey M. O Brennan, Clea A. McNeely)
The authors highlight the importance of prosocial connectedness to the school environment, other youth, and parents in promoting success at school.
3. Core Competencies and the Prevention of Youth Violence (Terri N. Sullivan, Albert D. Farrell, Amie F. Bettencourt, Sarah W. Helms)
The authors use a social–cognitive perspective to frame the role of the core competencies in the prevention of aggressive and violent behavior.
4. Core Competencies and the Prevention of Adolescent Substance Use (Tamara M. Haegerich, Patrick H. Tolan)
This chapter adopts a developmental–ecological perspective and emphasizes the importance of a positive sense of self and self–control in reducing problem use of drugs and alcohol.
5. Core Competencies and the Prevention of High–Risk Sexual Behavior (Vignetta Eugenia Charles, Robert Wm. Blum)
Research is summarized to illustrate the importance of effective decision making, a positive sense of self, and prosocial connectedness for the promotion of healthy romantic relationships in adolescence.
6. Programs and Policies That Promote Positive Youth Development and Prevent Risky Behaviors: An International Perspective (Sophie Naudeau, Wendy Cunningham, Mattias K. A. Lundberg, Linda McGinnis)
The authors identify challenges that youth face in developing countries and recommend a set of policies and programs that are effective within these contexts.
7. Future Directions for Research on Core Competencies (Catherine P. Bradshaw, Nancy G. Guerra)
This concluding commentary discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the core competency approach and suggests directions for future research and prevention programming.
CATHERINE P. BRADSHAW is an assistant professor and the associate director for the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.