Skip to main content
National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Homeless Adolescents Perceptions of Positive Development: A Comparative Study

Dolenc Nott, B., Vuchinich, S.
Type new
Journal Article
Year published new
Journal Name

Child and Youth Care Forum

Volume new

This journal article describes a study that used an inductive approach to examine adolescents’ views on positive development and their personal strengths and well-being. The study investigated the qualitative differences in perspective from two youth samples: youth who were homeless and youth participating in a residential 4-H program. The study recruited 38 young people from homeless shelters and a 4-H program to participate in focus groups. After conducting a content analysis of the narrative responses, the researchers found differences between these two groups in the areas of happiness, family support, identity, personal strengths, and risk avoidance. The findings indicate that homeless youth adapt to limiting ecologies, such as non-supportive parents, by seeking supportive relationships elsewhere as well as adjusting their views of happiness. The homeless youth also demonstrated more internal self-awareness compared with the 4-H adolescents. The authors conclude that by recognizing and capitalizing on the unique perspectives and strengths of adolescents from divergent environments, positive youth development and strengths-based programs and theory can more effectively benefit youth from diverse backgrounds. (author abstract modified)


Full-text article available for download at:

Accession number
Electronically published journal article, but not part of an issue