Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 247–260 | Cite as

A preventive intervention for enhancing resilience among highly stressed urban children

  • Emory L. Cowen
  • Peter A. Wyman
  • William C. Work
  • Miriam R. Iker
Articles

Abstract

Describes the development and evaluation of a pilot 12-session, school-based preventive intervention designed to enhance resilience among inner-city children who have experienced major life stress. Thirty-six 4th–6th grade children participated in the intervention in groups of 5–8 co-led by school personnel. The curriculum focussed on understanding feelings in oneself and others, perspective-taking, social problem-solving, dealing with solvable and unsolvable problems, and building self-efficacy and esteem. Pre-post evaluation showed significant improvement among participants on teacher-rated indices of learning problems and task orientation and on child ratings of perceived self-efficacy, realistic control attributions and anxiety. Program limitations and factors that restrict generalization are considered and new directions for program development and research are proposed.

Key Words

Resilience preventive intervention children 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anthony, E. J. & Cohler, B. J., Eds. (1987).The invulnerable child. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  2. Cicchetti, D. (1984). The emergence of developmental psychopathology.Child Development, 55, 1–7.Google Scholar
  3. Cicchetti, D. (1989). Developmental psychopathology: Some thoughts on its evolution.Development and Psychopathology, 1, 1–4.Google Scholar
  4. Cowen, E. L. (1984). A general structural model for primary prevention program development in mental health.Personnel and Guidance Journal, 62, 485–490.Google Scholar
  5. Cowen, E. L. (1991). In pursuit of wellness.American Psychologist, 46, 404–408.Google Scholar
  6. Cowen, E. L. (1994). The enhancement of psychological wellness: Challenges and opportunities.American Journal of Community Psychology, 22 (In press).Google Scholar
  7. Cowen, E. L., & Work, W. C. (1988). Resilient children, psychological wellness and primary prevention.American Journal of Community Psychology, 16, 591–607.Google Scholar
  8. Cowen, E. L., Work, W. C., Hightower, A. D., Wyman, P. A., Parker, G. R., & Lotyczewski, B. S. (1991). Toward the development of a measure of perceived self-efficacy in children.Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 20, 169–178.Google Scholar
  9. Cowen, E. L., Work, W. C., Wyman, P. A., Parker, G. R., Wannon, M. & Gribble, P. A. (1992). Test comparisons among stress-affected, stress resilient and nonclassified 4th–6th grade urban children.Journal of Community Psychology, 20, 200–214.Google Scholar
  10. Cowen, E. L., Wyman, P. A., Work, W. C., & Parker, G. R. (1990). The Rochester Child Resilience Project (RCRP): Overview and summary of first year findings.Development and Psychopathology, 2, 193–212.Google Scholar
  11. Garmezy, N. (1982). Foreword. In E. E. Werner & R. S. Smith,Vulnerable but invincible: A study of resilient children (pp. xii-xix). Nw York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  12. Garmezy, N., Masten, A. S., & Tellegen, A. (1984). Studies of stress-resistant children: A building block for developmental psychopathology.Child Development, 55, 97–111.Google Scholar
  13. Garmezy, N., & Nuechterlein, K. (1972). Invulnerable children: The fact and fiction of competence and disadvantage.American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 42, 328–329.Google Scholar
  14. Garmezy, N., & Tellegen, A. (1984). Studies of stress-resistant children: Methods, variables and preliminary findings. In F. Morrison, C. Ford, & D. Keating (Eds.),Advances in Applied Developmental Psychology, Vol. 1, (pp. 1–52). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  15. Gribble, P. A., Cowen, E. L., Wyman, P. A., Work, W. C., Wannon, M., & Raoof, A. (1993). Parent and child views of the parent child relationship and resilient outcomes among urban children.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 34, 507–519.Google Scholar
  16. Hightower, A. D., Work, W. C., Cowen, E. L., Lotyczewski, B. S., Spinell, A. P., Guare, J. C., & Rohrbeck, C. A. (1986). The Teacher-Child Rating Scale: A brief objective measure of elementary children's school problem behaviors and competencies.School Psychology Review, 15, 393–409.Google Scholar
  17. Iker, M. R. (1990). Evaluation of a school-based preventive intervention for at-risk urban children. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.Google Scholar
  18. Masten, A. S. (1989). Resilience in development: Implications of the study of successful adaptation for developmental psychopathology. In D. Cicchetti (Ed.),Rochester Symposium on Developmental Psychopathology, Vol. 1, (pp. 261–294). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  19. Masten, A. S., Best, K. M., & Garmezy, N. (1990). Resilience and development: Contributions from the study of children who overcome adversity.Development and Psychopathology, 2, 425–444.Google Scholar
  20. Parker, G. R., Cowen, E. L., Work, W. C., & Wyman, P. A. (1990). Test correlates of stress affected and stress resilient outcomes among urban children.Journal of Primary Prevention, 11, 19–35.Google Scholar
  21. Rutter, M. (1987). Psychosocial resilience and protective mechanisms.American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 57, 316–331.Google Scholar
  22. Spielberger, C. D. (1973).State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children: Preliminary manual. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  23. Wannon, M. (1990)Children's control beliefs about controllable and uncontrollable events: Their relationship to stress resilience and psychosocial adjustment. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Rochester.Google Scholar
  24. Weissberg, R. P. & Elias, M. J. (1993). Enhancing young people's social competence and health behavior: An important challenge for educators, scientists, policy makers and funders.Applied and Preventive Psychology, 2, 179–190.Google Scholar
  25. Werner, E. E. (1993). Risk, resilience and recovery: Perspectives from the Kauai longitudinal study.Development and Psychopathology, 5, 503–515.Google Scholar
  26. Werner, E. E., & Smith, R. S. (1982).Vulnerable but invincible: A study of resilient children. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  27. Werner, E. E. & Smith, R. S. (1992).Overcoming the odds: High risk children from birth to adulthood. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Work, W. C., Cowen, E. L., Parker, G. W., & Wyman, P. A. (1990). Test correlates of stress affected and stress resilient outcomes among urban children.Journal of Primary Prevention, 11, 19–35.Google Scholar
  29. Wyman, P. A., Cowen, E. L., Work, W. C., & Parker, G. R. (1991). Developmental and family milieu interview correlates of resilience in urban children who have experienced major life-stress.American Journal of Community Psychology, 19, 405–4266.Google Scholar
  30. Wyman, P. A., Cowen, E. L., Work, W. C., Raoof, A., Gribble, P. A., Parker, G. R., & Wannon, M. (1992). Interviews with children who experienced major life stress: Family and child attributes that predict resilient outcomes.Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 31, 904–910.Google Scholar
  31. Yoshikawa, H. (1994). Prevention as cumulative protection: Effects of early family support and education on chronic delinquency and its risks.Psychological Bulletin, 115, 28–54.Google Scholar
  32. Zigler, E., Taussig, C., & Black, K. (1992). A promising preventative for juvenile delinquency.American Psychologist, 47, 997–1006.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emory L. Cowen
    • 1
  • Peter A. Wyman
  • William C. Work
  • Miriam R. Iker
  1. 1.University of Rochester Center for Community StudyRochester

Personalised recommendations