Case studies of 43 youth with experience in child welfare, mental health, and correctional settings examined how resilience is socially constructed by participants and their caregivers. The deviant behaviors of these youth are explained as ways they successfully cope with the risk factors they face. Placement in institutions and community-based residential programs offers to high-risk youth “forums” in which to create continuities or discontinuities in their identity stories. Getting placed, surviving inside, and going home are experienced by high-risk youth as opportunities to enhance their discursive empowerment in the social discourse which defines them as either vulnerable or resilient. Collaboration between service partners can have a negative or positive impact on the development of healthy identities in high-risk youth depending on whether care providers participate in the construction of problem-saturated or health-enhancing identities. Support for this understanding of healthy deviance can be found in a number of studies of high-risk adolescent populations.
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Ungar, M. The Social Construction of Resilience Among “Problem” Youth in Out-of-Home Placement: A Study of Health-Enhancing Deviance. Child & Youth Care Forum 30, 137–154 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1012232723322
- residential treatment
- identity–social construction