University of California Santa Barbara

Project Covitality


The covitality principle emphasizes the importance of developing social and psychological skills and assets in young people. Research shows that having multiple skills can significantly contribute to positive childhood experiences and better developmental outcomes. Similarly, the cumulative risk principle in risk and resilience research highlights that a single risk factor does not solely determine adverse outcomes. Still, the accumulation of risks increases the likelihood of facing negative consequences. Previous studies have demonstrated that having social and psychological assets has a cumulative positive effect, leading youths to report health-promoting behaviors and positive mental well-being. Conversely, youths with fewer covitality assets are more likely to report negative developmental experiences, including high psychological distress, physical and relational victimization, and fears of being victimized.