Handbook of Resilience in Children

pp 17-37

Resilience Processes in Development

Fostering Positive Adaptation in the Context of Adversity
  • Margaret O’Dougherty WrightAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Miami University
  • , Ann S. MastenAffiliated withInstitute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

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How do children and adolescents “make it“ when their development is threatened by poverty, neglect, maltreatment, war, violence, or exposure to oppression, racism, and discrimination? What protects them when their parents are disabled by substance abuse, mental illness, or serious physical illness? How do we explain the phenomenon of resilience-children succeeding in spite of serious challenges to their development-and put this knowledge to work for the benefit of all children and society? The scientific study of resilience emerged about 30 years ago when a group of pioneering researchers began to notice the phenomenon of positive adaptation among subgroups of children who were considered “at risk” for developing later psychopathology (Masten, 2001).