Resilience Processes in Development: Four Waves of Research on Positive Adaptation in the Context of Adversity

  • Margaret O’Dougherty WrightEmail author
  • Ann S. Masten
  • Angela J. Narayan


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 children and society? The scientific study of resilience emerged around 1970 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, 2012).


Protective Factor Developmental Task Positive Adaptation Racial Socialization Protective Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The work of the authors on resilience has been supported over the years by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the William T. Grant Foundation, the University of Minnesota, and the Ohio Department of Mental Health. Preparation of this chapter was supported in part by a grant to Ann Masten from NSF (No. 0745643) and a predoctoral fellowship to Angela Narayan from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH; 5T32MH015755). The first two authors also express their deep and abiding appreciation for the wonderful mentorship of Norman Garmezy. Any opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this chapter are those of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret O’Dougherty Wright
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ann S. Masten
    • 2
  • Angela J. Narayan
    • 2
  1. 1.Miami UniversityOxfordUSA
  2. 2.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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