Recognition for positive behavior as a positive youth development construct: Conceptual bases and implications for curriculum development

Howard C.H. Cheng, Man Hong Andrew Siu, Mana C.M. Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Recognition of positive behavior has gained momentum as the focal perspective in understanding the needs of growth and development among youth. Parents, teachers, youth workers, and other helping professions are encouraged to recognize the strength and potential of young people instead of merely attending to problem behaviors of the youth. Implementing the concepts and practice of recognizing positive behaviors involves both explicit, implicit or symbolic positive reinforcements. Effective recognition of positive behaviors involves the consideration and the combination of different reinforcement strategies that would help young people develop appropriate values and attitudes towards life. Within the Chinese culture, Hong Kong parents are very practical and place strong emphasis on academic achievement. Discipline is the most frequently used method to correct misbehaviors; whereas recognition of positive behaviors is rarely utilized. Consequently, curriculum design needs to encompass contents that help teachers, parents and students understand the importance of positive behaviors, and learn how to promote positive behaviors. The ultimate goal is to help young people internalize positive behaviors, develop a more positive self-perception and to be more active and pleasant in relating to others, and to feel that helping others is self-fulfilling and rewarding. The curriculum programme described in this article is designed for the PATHS-Project, supported by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-473
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


  • Adolescent positive behavior
  • Hong Kong
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Reward system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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