Responsibility involves the dispositions and abilities to reliably meet commitments and fulfill obligations of challenging roles.

Related Domain


Responsibility is linked to school completion, lower antisocial behavior, positive health behaviors, and productivity. Responsibility emerges when youth have opportunities to take on increasingly difficult social obligations. The eight SEL Challenge programs provide optimal contexts for youth to develop responsibility by offering many experiences where youth take on substantive and difficult roles with obligations and demands, often within communally-valued activities and goals. Roles also come with additional benefits, including powers to exercise thought, choice, and action to fulfill necessary obligations, while fostering a sense of accountability among youth.

Part of the difficulty in helping young people develop responsibility is that substantive roles also have challenging demands that can be stressful and onerous for youth. Some youth may even buckle under the pressure. But effective out-of-school programs provide a set of scaffolded conditions that assist youth through new and sometimes demanding situations where they develop the skills they need to become more responsible. Opportunities are provided that are both meaningful to youth and give youth choice and direction. Through these experiences, youth cultivate a sense of shared ownership and obligation among peers, and staff provide structures and supports to help facilitate their experiences.

Key Youth Experiences

Staff Practices

Related Resource

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