Chapter

Handbook of Resilience in Children

pp 201-214

Date:

From Helplessness to Optimism: The Role of Resilience in Treating and Preventing Depression in Youth

  • Karen ReivichAffiliated withUniversity of Pennsylvania Email author 
  • , Jane E. GillhamAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Swarthmore College
  • , Tara M. ChaplinAffiliated withUniversity of Pennsylvania
  • , Martin E. P. SeligmanAffiliated withUniversity of Pennsylvania

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Abstract

Some of the most common psychological disorders in children and adolescents are internalizing disorders such as depression and anxiety. Research on the development of depression and anxiety suggests that internalizing disorders can be reduced, even prevented, by promoting more accurate cognitive styles, problem-solving skills, and supportive family relationships. Several cognitive–behavioral interventions have shown promise in treating and preventing depression and anxiety. We review the Penn Resiliency Program (PRP) as an example of such an intervention. We suggest that most of the skills covered in the PRP and similar preventive interventions are not specific to depression or anxiety and can be useful for increasing young people’s resiliency more generally. Interventions that teach and reinforce these skills can help children to navigate a variety of difficult situations they are likely to encounter during adolescence and adulthood.