Research Library: Youth Development

Youth development refers to developmental outcomes that occur across the lifespan, including cognition skills and function; motor skills and coordination; social and emotional patterns; leadership skills; environmental identity; and play behaviors or styles. Research focused on developmental outcomes might explore memory retention, creativity, self-esteem, or language development, to name a few.

Below you can search and find research summaries related to cognitive and motor functions; social, emotional, and leadership development; environmental identity; and play behavior-related outcomes.

Youth Development

(attention, memory, creativity, language, executive)

(fine and gross motor skills, coordination)

(pro-social behavior, self-regulation, social connectedness, self-esteem/confidence, spiritual)

Differently designed playgrounds and preschooler’s physical activity play

Study suggests that outdoor play environments for young children should incorporate features of natural and traditional playgrounds to serve all activity levels

Citation:
Luchs, A., & Fikus, M.. (2018). Differently designed playgrounds and preschooler’s physical activity play. Early Child Development and Care, 188(3), 281-295. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2016.1213726
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'Love honey, hate honey bees': Reviving biophilia of elementary school students through environmental education program

Integrating cognitive and emotional goals in environmental education program significantly improved affinity toward nature

Citation:
Cho, Y., & Lee, D.. (2018). 'Love honey, hate honey bees': Reviving biophilia of elementary school students through environmental education program. Environmental Education Research, 24(3), 445-460. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2017.1279277
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The meaning of participation in school ground greening: A study from project to everyday setting

Children’s participation in school ground greening planning influences functionality; participation in management phases results in student engagement and satisfaction

Citation:
Jansson, M., Mårtensson, F., & Gunnarsson, A.. (2018). The meaning of participation in school ground greening: A study from project to everyday setting. Landscape Research, 43(1), 163-179. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01426397.2017.1306623
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"We can keep the fire burning": Building action competence through environmental justice education in Uganda and Germany

Multi-national projects can be effective in building on cultural and social diversity to help young people become confident and capable environmental actors

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Ethnographic understandings of ethnically diverse neighbourhoods to inform urban design practice

Ethnographic scholarship can be used to improve cultural literacy and support social justice in urban design practice

Citation:
Rishbeth, C., Ganji, F., & Vodicka, G.. (2018). Ethnographic understandings of ethnically diverse neighbourhoods to inform urban design practice. Local Environment, 23(1), 36-53. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2017.1385000
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Children love their pets: Do relationships between children and pets co-vary with taxonomic order, gender, and age?

Young children develop strong relationships with pets behaviorally similar to humans; older children’s pet attachments include other pet species

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Propensity-score-weighted population-based study of the health benefits of dogs and cats for children

The health benefits of dogs and cats for children are not supported in a large population-based study

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Exploring the spatial-temporal relationships between a community greening program and neighborhood rates of crime

Urban greening programs may be effective in reducing crime

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The trends and influential factors of children's use of outdoor environments: A review

Individual, physical and social factors influence children’s place preferences and play behaviors in outdoor environments

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Aziz, N. F., & Said, I.. (2017). The trends and influential factors of children's use of outdoor environments: A review. Asian Journal of Environment-Behaviour Studies, 2(5), 97-108. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.21834/aje-bs.v2i5.226
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Exploring the relations between childhood experiences in nature and young adults' environmental attitudes and behaviours

Positive childhood experiences in nature are associated with pro-environmental attitudes in adults, but not necessarily with environmentally-friendly behaviors

Citation:
Broom, C. (2017). Exploring the relations between childhood experiences in nature and young adults' environmental attitudes and behaviours. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 33(1), 34-47. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/aee.2017.1
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'If there's no sustainability our future will get wrecked': Exploring children's perspectives of sustainability

Children’s ideas about sustainability are developed through experiential, investigative, sensorial and place-oriented ways of learning

Citation:
Green, M. (2017). 'If there's no sustainability our future will get wrecked': Exploring children's perspectives of sustainability. Childhood, 24(2), 151-167. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0907568216649672
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Tomorrow's leaders and today's agents of change? Children, sustainability education and environmental governance

Engaging children as “agents of change” for the environment should be based on a consideration of structural and relational dimensions of environmental knowledge transmission

Citation:
Walker, C. (2017). Tomorrow's leaders and today's agents of change? Children, sustainability education and environmental governance. Children & Society, 31, 72-83. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/chso.12192
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Wilderness therapy, therapeutic camping and adventure education in child and youth care literature: A scoping review

A review of the research on the convergence of child and youth care practice with outdoor adventure reveals a credible evidence-base with robust positive outcomes

Citation:
Harper, N. J. (2017). Wilderness therapy, therapeutic camping and adventure education in child and youth care literature: A scoping review. Children and Youth Services Review, 83, 68-79. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.10.030
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Children's independence and affordances experienced in the context of public open spaces: A study of diverse inner-city and suburban neighbourhoods in Auckland, New Zealand

Public open spaces are children’s favorite destinations for play in their neighborhood, but parental restrictions and safety concerns often limit children’s independent mobility

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Geographies of children's play in the context of neoliberal restructuring in Istanbul

The presence of commercialized private playspaces reinforces the neglect of public play spaces in Istanbul and frames “good play” as being exclusive, secure and instrumental

Citation:
Sullu, B. (2017). Geographies of children's play in the context of neoliberal restructuring in Istanbul. Children's Geographies. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2017.1341972
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Attentional demands of executive function tasks in indoor and outdoor settings: Behavioral and neuroelectrical evidence

Children use greater cognitive resources while indoors than outdoors in nature to achieve the same level of performance on tasks requiring attention and inhibitory control

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Torquati, J., Schutte, A., & Kiat, J.. (2017). Attentional demands of executive function tasks in indoor and outdoor settings: Behavioral and neuroelectrical evidence. Children, Youth and Environments, 27(2), 70-92. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.7721/chilyoutenvi.27.2.0070
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Nature by design: Playscape affordances support the use of executive function in preschoolers

The affordances of natural play spaces can support the development of executive function in preschool children

Citation:
Carr, V., Brown, R. D., Schlembach, S., & Kochanowski, L.. (2017). Nature by design: Playscape affordances support the use of executive function in preschoolers. Children, Youth and Environments, 27(2), 25-46. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.7721/chilyoutenvi.27.2.0025
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Green space benefits for health and well-being: A life-course approach to urban planning, design and management

Environmental health research highlights the importance of targeting green space interventions to meet the needs of multiple user groups

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Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy for adolescents experiencing depression and/or anxiety: A therapist's perspective

Therapists using Equine Assisted Psychotherapy identify a range of positive outcomes for adolescents experiencing depression and/or anxiety

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Wilson, K., Buultjens, M., Monfries, M., & Karimi, L.. (2017). Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy for adolescents experiencing depression and/or anxiety: A therapist's perspective. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 22(1), 16-33. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1359104515572379
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Are young children's utterances affected by characteristics of their learning environments? A multiple case study

Preschool children use richer language in a natural environment than in indoor or outdoor classrooms

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Richardson, T., & Murray, J.. (2017). Are young children's utterances affected by characteristics of their learning environments? A multiple case study. Early Child Development and Care, 187(3-4), 457-468. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2016.1211116
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Evaluating a supported nature play programme, parents' perspectives

Nature play program provided families with enriched connections with each other and with nature, while also promoting the development and well-being of children and their parents

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Ward, T., Goldingay, S., & Parson, J.. (2017). Evaluating a supported nature play programme, parents' perspectives. Early Child Development and Care. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2017.1317764
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The contributions of familial and environmental factors to children's connection with nature and outdoor activities

Parental characteristics and attitudes predict children’s connection with nature and outdoor activities

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Ahmetoglu, E. (2017). The contributions of familial and environmental factors to children's connection with nature and outdoor activities. Early Child Development and Care. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2017.1314273
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Where do the children play?: An investigation of the intersection of nature, early childhood education and play

Interest in nature’s role in early childhood is gaining momentum after an uneven past

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Brown, J. M., & Kaye, C.. (2017). Where do the children play?: An investigation of the intersection of nature, early childhood education and play. Early Child Development and Care, 187(5-6), 1028-1041. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2016.1227325
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Social preference-based valuation of the links between home gardens, ecosystem services, and human well-being in Lefke Region of North Cyprus

Home gardens are valued for the ecosystem services they provide in promoting human health and well-being

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Green walls for a restorative classroom environment: A controlled evaluation study

A green wall can support children’s cognitive functioning and make the classroom a more attractive place for students

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van den Berg, A. E., Wesselius, J. E., Maas, J., & Tanja-Dijkstra, K.. (2017). Green walls for a restorative classroom environment: A controlled evaluation study. Environment and Behavior, 49(7), 791-813. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0013916516667976
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Nowhere to go and nothing to do but sit? Youth screen time and the association with access to neighborhood destinations

Neighborhoods with poor access to a mix of local destinations are associated with increased screen time in girls

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'Everything has to die one day:' children’s explorations of the meanings of death in human-animal-nature relationships

Children’s Connections Between Ecological Processes and the Death of Pets

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'I saw a magical garden with flowers that people could not damage!': Children's visions of nature and of learning about nature in and out of school

Children’s deep emotional connection with nature generates a strongly protective disposition

Citation:
Rios, C., & Menezes, I.. (2017). 'I saw a magical garden with flowers that people could not damage!': Children's visions of nature and of learning about nature in and out of school. Environmental Education Research, 23(10), 1402-1413. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2017.1325450
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