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Community-based Approaches for Supporting Positive Development in Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions
Social Work Faculty Publications and Presentations
  • Janet S. Walker, Portland State University
  • L. Kris Gowen, Portland State University
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Publication Date
  • Youth with disabilities -- Services for,
  • Young adults with disabilities -- Services for,
  • Community-based social services -- United States

Our goal in this chapter is to describe empirically- supported and promising community-based programs or approaches that are designed to promote positive development and to achieve better outcomes for young people with SMHC. We begin by providing more detail regarding the nature of the challenges that these young people face, as well as some of the challenges that systems and providers currently face in trying to serve the population. We then go on to describe recent theory and research on positive development, particularly as it applies to older adolescents and young or “emerging” adults. The next sections of the chapter describe a series of empiricallysupported and promising programs, including programs specifically designed to serve highly vulnerable populations of transition-age young people, such as those who are homeless and those who are transitioning out of the juvenile justice system. Throughout these sections, we describe how these various approaches are connected to central themes in the research and theory on positive development during late adolescence and early adulthood. Finally, we review some questions and implications raised by considering programs and interventions from a positive development perspective


This material in this publication has been incorporated into a chapter for M.L. Wehmeyer & K.W. Webb (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent transition education for youth with disabilities, that was published in early 2012 by Routledge.

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Walker, J. S. & Gowen, L. K. (2011). Community-based approaches for supporting positive development in youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions. Portland, OR: Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University.