Rethinking Asset Theory: Applicability to the Survival of Homeless Youth

By Brenda Elizabeth Munro, Patti LaBoucane-Benson and Lia Ruttan.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Researchers have assessed the attitudes, behaviours, and the number of Developmental Assets related to lower risk and health behaviours of young people (i.e. These 40 assets are: 1) Internal - Commitment to learning, Positive values, Social Competencies, Positive Identity and 2) External - Support, Empowerment, Boundaries and Expectations, Constructive Use of Time). These studies have revealed a strong and consistent relationship between a higher number of assets present in the lives of young people and positive and healthful ways of living. Thus past research has been focused on how to keep youth out of trouble and involved in healthy behaviours. Of interest in the present research are the Asset needs of homeless youth, including an over representation of aboriginal youth. The needs of homeless youth are unique as they are already characterized as having a myriad of physical, emotional, and sometimes spiritual problems. Thus the purpose of the present research was to determine the number and types of Assets homeless youth need to survive (Survival Assets) and the assets that aid youth in transitioning (Transitioning Assets) from homelessness to homefulness? The assets were identified through focus groups and interviews with homeless youth and service providers working with homeless youth. Program development is also discussed.

Keywords: Adolescents, Homelessness, Developmental Assets

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.219-226. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 535.673KB).

Dr. Brenda Elizabeth Munro

Professor, Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Dr. Brenda Munro is a professor in the Department of Human Ecology. She teaches and conducts research in the areas of intimate relationships and youth at risk. Her current research projects include work with homeless youth and theatre the use of interactive theatre in working with youth who are thirteen to fourteen years old. Theoretical perspectives that have been applied in this research are identity development and attachment theory.

Patti LaBoucane-Benson

Director of Research and Evaluation, Research, Native Counselling Services of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Patti LaBoucane-Benson is a Métis PhD candidate who grew up in St. Paul, Alberta. Her dissertation research is about Aboriginal Family Resilience, and she expects to complete June 2008. Patti’s research has received a number of awards including a Social Sciences and Research Council Doctoral Fellowship and a Doctoral Scholarship from the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation. She has worked for Native Counselling Services of Alberta for 10 years, and is currently the Director of Research and Communication. Patti has initiated and led of many community-based, applied research projects within the Aboriginal community in Canada, including a Costs Benefit Analysis in Hollow Water First Nation, the on-going evaluation of the Community Solution to Gang Violence and Alberta Aboriginal Legal Education Centre. She has also been part of the development of healing program curriculum for NCSA, and is the co-editor of the periodical Pimatisiwin: A Journal of Indigenous and Aboriginal Community Health Research.

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