The Five Cs of Positive Youth Development: Configurations of Thriving in Four U.S. Adolescent Samples. Academic Article uri icon


  • Positive youth development (PYD) models are widespread, but the empirical evidence for them is primarily nomothetic (i.e., investigations of universal patterns). Contemporary developmental theory suggests that concepts and processes within PYD models should also be explored with respect to specificity. This study demonstrates how the Five Cs Model, a predominant PYD model, can be advanced using group-differential methods. Secondary data from four studies of adolescents were used to test: (1) Whether there were subgroups who varied in their patterns of scores across the Five Cs, and (2) Whether subgroups also varied in Contribution behaviors. Unexpectedly, the four data sets used could not be combined, yielding an opportunity to discuss consistencies and inconsistencies in findings across the four data sets through contextual and sample differences. Findings demonstrate how understanding specificity in theorized concepts and processes in PYD models can complement studies of universal patterns, which are both necessary to advance PYD research and practice.

published proceedings

  • J Res Adolesc

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Johnson, S. K., & Ettekal, A. V.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Johnson, Sara K||Ettekal, Andrea Vest

publication date

  • June 2023