The ability to make choices about and take an active role in one's life path, rather than solely being the product of one's circumstances. Agency requires the intentionality and forethought to derive a course of action and adjust course as needed to reflect one's identity, competencies, knowledge and skills, mindsets, and values.
A sense of internal consistency of who one is across time and across multiple social identities (e.g., race/ethnicity, profession, culture, gender, religion). An integrated identity serves as an internal framework for making choices and provides a stable base from which one can act in the world.
The abilities that enable people to effectively perform roles, complete complex tasks, or achieve specific objectives. Successful young adults have sets of competencies (e.g., critical thinking, responsible decision-making, ability to collaborate) that allow them to be productive and engaged, navigate across contexts, perform effectively in different settings, and adapt to different task and setting demands.
The awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings, and the ability to manage one’s attention, emotions, and behaviors in goal-directed ways. Self-regulation has numerous forms, including cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and attentional regulation. Self-regulation is a key developmental task during early and middle childhood
Knowledge is the sets of facts, information, or understanding about oneself, others, and the world. Skills are the learned abilities to carry out a task with intended results or goals. Building academic knowledge and skills is a key developmental task during early and middle childhood, although it occurs through all stages of development.
Beliefs and attitudes about oneself, the external world, and the interaction between the two. They are the default lenses that individuals use to process everyday experiences. Mindsets reflect a person’s unconscious biases, natural tendencies, and past experiences. Though mindsets are malleable, they tend to persist until disrupted and replaced with a different belief or attitude.
Enduring, often culturally defined beliefs about what is good or bad, and what is important in life. Values include both the moral code of conduct one uses in daily activities (e.g., being kind, being truthful) and long-term “outcomes” of importance (e.g., getting an education, having a family, contributing to the community) that may not necessarily have a right or wrong valence. Values develop through a process of exploration and experimentation, where young people make sense of their experiences and refine what they believe in. Values are a key developmental task during middle adolescence and young adulthood