Three outcome areas: capacity to learn, capacity to feeling and capacity to behave

Thriving defined

Thriving during adolescence is assisted by being physically healthy and developing the capacity to learn, the capacity to feel good about one’s self, and the capacity to behave well socially and societally.

The academic categories for these capacities are often described as cognitive/learning, emotional/psychological, and behavioural/social. Many youth organizations translate these terms into easy to remember words like head, heart, feet or hands.

Although the strongest determinants of adolescent health worldwide are structural factors in society such as income inequality and access to education, effective youth programs can contribute to positive outcomes for youth, who in turn positively impact their communities.

Thriving can be seen through school success, leadership, helping others, maintenance of physical health, delay of gratification, valuing diversity, and overcoming adversity. These short- and medium-term outcomes are often used as indicators of health and thriving.

Thriving in adolescence generally leads to long-term health and well-being in adulthood. Young people who thrive during adolescence are more likely to feel psychologically and physically healthy, contribute to their communities, achieve success in education and employment, maintain strong relationships, and be satisfied with their lives as adults.