IntroductionThis paper presents a national profile of youth problems and a literature review that focuses on the causes of each of the problem areas and reviews what is known about preventive measures and the effectiveness of existing intervention strategies. Conclusions from this review encourage a paradigm shift in perspective away from a focus on correcting "deficits" in individual youths toward enhancing the potential for healthy youth development in all youths in the community.
Enactment of a youth development vision requires a communitywide collaborative effort among public officials, current service providers, primary institutions (such as churches, recreational facilities, libraries, and schools), and citizens (including youths themselves). In the past few years, several "comprehensive community initiatives" have begun across the country. This paper discusses several of these. Although they have not existed long enough to amass conclusive evaluation results, their attempts to forge collaborative relationships can provide lessons for other communities.
Risk factors for Youth Leadership substance abuse exist at both the environmental and individual levels (Hawkins, Catalano, & Associates, 1992; Hawkins, Catalano, & Miller, 1992).
These include economic and social deprivation, low neighborhood attachment and community disorganization, transitions and mobility, community norms, attitudes favorable toward drug use, drug and alcohol availability, family history of alcoholism or drug use, poor family management practices, academic failure, low commitment to school, early antisocial behavior and aggressiveness, association with drug-using peers, favorable attitudes toward drug and alcohol use, and early first use of drugs. Protective factors, which have been shown to prevent delinquency and violence, include strong attachments to adults, school, positive peers, and the community (Hawkins, Catalano, & Associates, 1992).
Interventions aimed at changing youths' attitudes toward drugs and enhancing their social skills to make them more resistant to peer pressure have not achieved a sustained reduction in the use of drugs and...