Development of Latino Youth: Implications for Park and Recreation Programs and Services


  • Ariel Rodríguez
  • Dale Larsen
  • Pavlína Látková
  • Sarah J. Mertel


Positive youth development, Latino youth, physical development, social development, cognitive development, emotional development, spiritual development


Youth population demographics have continued to change throughout the United States, and today, approximately one in every four youth in the United States is Latino. This has important implications for park and recreation program and service providers who are committed to providing quality positive youth development programs to all youth, including Latino youth. However, two issues have limited the amount of information available to service providers: a lack of Latino youth specific research and an overemphasis on a deficit-based model when Latino youth research has been conducted. Therefore, the problem addressed in this study was to ameliorate this gap in the literature by synthesizing key factors within important developmental domains that influence the provision of positive youth development programs and services for Latino youth. Overall, our review found Latino youth differed greatly from non-Latino youth in a number of key areas including inactivity, poverty, overweight, teen pregnancy, and education levels. However, their family dynamics, family cohesiveness, and spirituality provided for programming opportunities. Potential implications of these findings for park and recreation program and service providers are discussed.





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