The 5 C's of Positive Youth Development

The 5 C's - The Goal of Positive Youth Development

The 5 C’s model was developed by Karen Pittman, Merita Irby and other colleagues in 2002. Their research theorised that young people whose lives contained lower levels of each of the 5 C’s would be more highly at risk for a developmental path that included personal, social and behavioural problems and risks. To develop and strengthen a young person with the 5 C’s you need to build their;


  • The ability and motivation for civic and social engagement, cultural engagement, physical health, emotional health, intellectual achievement and employability.


Having a sense of responsibility and autonomy.

Having a sense of spirituality and self-awareness.

Having an awareness of one’s own personality or individuality.



Membership and belonging.

Having a sense of safety and structure.



Having a sense of mastery and future.

Having a sense of self-efficacy.



Sense of being cared for and loved.

Ability to form strong friendships.

Desire to care for others; family, peers, community and global.


Psychologist Dr Richard Learner later stated that a young person who is strong in the 5 C’s will lead to the 6th C which is contribution;

  • to self.
  • to family.
  • to community.
  • to other aspects of society.

Hamilton, Hamilton & Pittman (2004)

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