Positive youth development as a guiding framework in sport research: Is it time to plan for a transition?

Publication Name

Psychology of Sport and Exercise


Positive youth development is a popular guiding framework for studying the psychosocial development of youth. In sport research, for more than two decades, this framework has enhanced our understanding of the mechanisms involved in successful shifts from youth to adulthood. Nonetheless, scholars have recently taken a more critical stance on the positive youth development framework by elucidating some of its shortcomings. To help determine whether it may be warranted to plan for a transition from the positive youth development framework in sport research, a critical commentary is offered. The purpose of this commentary lies in situating three ontologically distinct arguments that depict the shortcomings of the positive youth development framework, namely the operationalization argument, the social justice argument, and the posthumanist argument. This paper is offered as an open invitation to instigate dialogue on what may come next for youth development in sport research and whether planning for a transition is warranted.

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