Youth programs are important spaces for emotional learning

Reed W. Larson, Natalie Rusk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Emotional skills are now widely recognized to be essential skills for young people to survive and thrive across all aspects of their lives. Teens become able to develop powerful new skills for understanding and managing their emotions. They also are able to learn skills for using the valuable functions of emotions. But this learning isn't automatic; it depends on experience. In this commentary, we highlight key elements of youth programs that make them important contexts for youth's active engagement in emotional learning. We present examples from research on how program staff facilitate youth development of skills to manage and use emotions. We conclude with suggestions on practices and policies that support emotional learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-225
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Youth Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Emotional learning
  • Staff practices
  • Youth programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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