Systematic Review of Positive Youth Development
Brief on Low- and Middle-Income Countries
The Systematic Review drew upon peer-reviewed and grey literature published in English, Spanish, and French after 1989. Using a systematic search strategy for peer-reviewed papers, a purposive search in repositories, and a survey disseminated to youth-serving organizations, development agencies, and universities, the YouthPower Learning team identified 21,576 peer-reviewed papers and 3,705 grey literature documents. These reports and papers were screened in a three-step process to select the final documents to be included in the data extraction. The 108 (44 peer reviewed literature, 64 grey literature) documents included in the meta-review are all based on evaluations of programs that either the authors or the review team classified as PYD. Programs were considered to be “PYD” if they engaged young people (10-29 years of age) and incorporated at least two outcomes within the PYD framework. The quality of the evidence presented in papers was assessed by reviewing their respective research design, measures, and analysis. One-third of all papers reported results from randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The review also included papers reporting other research designs, such as quasi-experimental, pre-post non-experimental, mixed methods, qualitative, and post-test quantitative or qualitative designs.
This brief synthesizes the key findings of the Systematic Review, assesses the impact of PYD in LMICs, provides examples of PYD programs with positive outcomes, and presents recommendations centered on program design, programmatic investment, and evaluation and learning.