What Is Positive Identity?

A youth’s internal sense of positive self-worth and self-efficacy as they explore who they are.

Why Does Positive Identity Matter?

A positive identity is important for youth to feel empowered to make decisions for themselves and develop resiliency in the face of challenges. Positive identity is correlated with higher confidence and reduced behavioral problems (McLaughlin, 2000).

How Can Programs Boost Positive Identity?

Prioritize Young People: Express to youth often that you expect them to try hard and do their best.

Facilitate Peer-to-Peer Engagement: Make sure your program includes opportunities for youth to work together in groups with other youth they’ve never met.

Coach Young People to Set and Achieve Their Goals: Help youth set personal goals and create plans to complete them. Encourage youth to take risks and push themselves and try activities/projects, especially when something was hard. 

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Associated Research 

McLaughlin, M. W. (2000). Community Counts: How Youth Organizations Matter for Youth Development.

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