Systematic review of positive youth development programs for adolescents with chronic illness.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The Positive Youth Development (PYD) framework has been successfully used to support at-risk youth. However, its effectiveness in fostering positive outcomes for adolescents with chronic illness has not been established. We performed a systematic review of PYD-consistent programs for adolescents with chronic illness. METHODS: Data sources included PubMed, CINAHL, and PsychINFO. Guided by an analytic framework, we searched for studies of PYD-consistent programs serving adolescents and young adults aged 13 through 24 with chronic illness. References were screened iteratively with increasing depth until a focused cohort was obtained and reviewed in full. The authors separately reviewed the studies using structured analysis forms. Relevant study details were abstracted during the review process. RESULTS: Fifteen studies describing 14 programs were included in the analysis. Three comprehensive programs included all 3 core components of a PYD program, including opportunities for youth leadership, skill building, and sustained connections between youth and adults. Four programs were primarily mentoring programs, and 7 others focused on youth leadership. Programs served youth with a variety of chronic illnesses. The quality and type of evaluation varied considerably, with most reporting psychosocial outcomes but only a few including medical outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: The PYD-consistent programs identified in this review can serve as models for the development of youth development programs for adolescents with chronic illness. Additional study is needed to evaluate such programs rigorously with respect to both psychosocial and health-related outcomes. PYD-consistent programs have the potential to reach youth with chronic illness and promote positive adult outcomes broadly.
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