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Understanding the Impact of Youth Engagement on Positive Youth Development

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Young people are increasingly becoming involved in developing services designed for them. While much has been researched about youth engagement best practices and organizational benefits, there has been little focus on how youth engagement initiatives benefit the well-being of involved youth. This Capstone research seeks to understand how youth engagement initiatives can promote youth well-being using the Positive Youth Development (PYD) framework within a Canadian context. This framework is composed of 6 constructs that promote positive developmental pathways for youth: 1) competence; 2) caring; 3) confidence; 4) connection; 5) character; and 6) contribution. A systematic search and review were conducted, and 35 articles were analyzed to assess the impact of youth engagement initiatives on these 6 constructs. Multiple elements of youth engagement initiatives were associated with positive short- and long-term outcomes for involved youth across various domains. Recommendations are made for how to integrate these practices into new or existing youth engagement initiatives to best promote youth well-being.
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