Skip to main content

Social Ecologies and Their Contribution to Resilience

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
The Social Ecology of Resilience

Abstract

The chapter begins with a detailed expression of resilience that defines it as a set of behaviors over time that depends on the opportunities that are available and accessible to individuals, their families, and communities. Building on the research of other scholars and the Resilience Research Centre (Dalhousie University), the author shows the importance of understanding resilience as a contextually and culturally embedded construct and the need to capture what people mean when they say “doing well when facing adversity.”

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 169.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

References

  • Anthony, E. J. (1987). Children at high risk for psychosis growing up successfully. In E. J. Anthony & B. J. Cohler (Eds.), The invulnerable child (pp. 147–184). New York, NY: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Antonovsky, A. (1987). The salutogenic perspective: Toward a new view of health and illness. Advances, Institute for Advancement of Health, 4(1), 47–55.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191–215.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barber, J. G. (2006). A synthesis of research findings and practice and policy suggestions for promoting resilient development among young people in crisis. In R. J. Flynn, P. M. Dudding, & J. G. Barber (Eds.), Promoting resilience in child welfare (pp. 418–429). Ottawa, ON: University of Ottawa Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an ecology of mind. New York, NY: Ballantine Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beckett, C., Maughan, B., Rutter, M., Castle, J., Colvert, E., Groothues, C., et al. (2006). Do the effects of early severe deprivation on cognition persist into early adolescence? Findings from the English and Romanian adoptees study. Child Development, 77(3), 696–711.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Benson, P. L. (2003). Developmental assets and asset-building community: Conceptual and empirical foundations. In R. M. Lerner & P. L. Benson (Eds.), Developmental assets and asset-building communities: Implications for research, policy, and practice (pp. 19–46). New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bierman, K. L., Coie, J. D., Dodge, K. A., Foster, E. M., Greenberg, M. T., Lochman, J. E., et al. (2004). The effects of the Fast Track program on serious problem outcomes at the end of elementary school. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33, 650–661.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blackstock, C., & Trocmé, N. (2005). Community-based child welfare for Aboriginal children: Supporting resilience through structural change. In M. Ungar (Ed.), Handbook for working with children and youth: Pathways to resilience across cultures and contexts (pp. 105–120). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bottrell, D. (2009). Understanding ‘marginal’ perspectives: Towards a social theory of resilience. Qualitative Social Work, 8(3), 321–340.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bottrell, D., Armstrong, D., & France, A. (2010). Young people’s relations to crime: Pathways across ecologies. Youth Justice, 10, 56–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). Ecology of human development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brown, B. B., & Lohr, M. N. (1987). Peer-group affiliation and adolescent self-esteem: An integration of ego-identity and symbolic-interaction theories. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(1), 47–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bruner, J. (1997). A narrative model of self-construction. In J. G. Snodgrass & R. L. Thompson (Eds.), The self across psychology (pp. 145–161). New York, NY: New York Academy of Sciences.

    Google Scholar 

  • Caspi, A., Taylor, A., Moffitt, T. E., & Plomin, R. (2000). Neighborhood deprivation affects children’s mental health: Environmental risks identified in a genetic design. Psychology Science, 11(4), 338–342.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Castro, F. G., & Murray, K. E. (2010). Cultural adaptation and resilience: Controversies, issues, and emerging models. In J. W. Reich, A. J. Zautra, & J. S. Hall (Eds.), Handbook of adult resilience (pp. 375–403). New York, NY: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chauhan, P., Reppucci, N. D., Burnette, M., & Reiner, S. (2010). Race, neighborhood disadvantage, and antisocial behavior among female juvenile offenders. Journal of Community Psychology, 38(4), 532–540.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Croghan, R., Griffin, C., Hunter, J., & Phoenix, A. (2008). Young people’s constructions of self: Notes on the use and analysis of the photo-elicitation methods. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 11(4), 345–356.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dawes, A., & Donald, D. (2000). Improving children’s chances: Developmental theory and effective interventions in community contexts. In D. Donald, A. Dawes, & J. Louw (Eds.), Addressing childhood adversity (pp. 1–25). Cape Town, SA: David Philip.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dotterer, A. M., McHale, S. M., & Crouter, A. C. (2009). Sociocultural factors and school engagement among African American youth: The roles of racial discrimination, racial socialization, and ethnic identity. Applied Developmental Science, 13(2), 61–73.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dovidio, J. F., Piliavin, J. A., Schroeder, D. A., & Penner, L. A. (2006). The social psychology of prosocial behaviour. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  • Drengson, A. (2000). Education for local and global ecological responsibility: Arne Naess’s cross-cultural, ecophilosophy approach. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 5(Spring), 63–76.

    Google Scholar 

  • Driscoll, A., Russell, S. T., & Crockett, L. J. (2008). Parenting styles and youth well-being across immigrant generations. Journal of Family Issues, 29(2), 185–209.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • DuMont, K. A., Widom, C. S., & Czaja, S. J. (2007). Predictors of resilience in abused and neglected children grown-up: The role of individual and neighborhood characteristics. Child Abuse & Neglect, 31, 255–274.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Elliott, D. S., Menard, S., Rankin, B., Elliott, A., Wilson, W. J., & Huizinga, D. (2006). Good kids from bad neighborhoods: Successful development in social context. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Emond, R. (2010). Caring as a moral, practical and powerful endeavour: Peer care in a Cambodian Orphanage. British Journal of Social Work, 40(1), 63–81.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gilgun, J. F., & Abrams, L. S. (2005). Gendered adaptations, resilience, and the perpetration of violence. In M. Ungar (Ed.), Handbook for working with children and youth: Pathways to resilience across cultures and contexts (pp. 57–70). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hecht, T. (1998). At home in the street: Street children of Northeast Brazil. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Henry, B., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., Harrington, H., & Silva, P. (1999). Staying in school protects boys with poor self-regulation in childhood from later crime: A longitudinal study. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 23(4), 1049–1073.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hooper, L. M., Marotta, S. A., & Lanthier, R. P. (2008). Predictors of growth and distress following childhood parentification: A retrospective exploratory study. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 17, 693–705.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hudziak, J. J., & Bartels, M. (2008). Genetic and environmental influences on wellness, resilience, and psychopathology: A family-based approach for promotion, prevention, and intervention. In J. J. Hudziak (Ed.), Developmental psychopathology and wellness: Genetic and environmental influences (pp. 267–286). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. (2002). Studies of integrated holistic programmes with children and youth: Child labour in Nepal. New York, NY: IUAES.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jurkovic, G. J., Morrell, R., & Casey, S. (2001). Parentification in the lives of high-provile individuals andthier families: A hidden source of strength and distress. In B. E. Robinson & N. D. Chase (Eds.), High performing families: Causes, consequences, and clinical solutions (pp. 129–155). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kaplan, H. B. (1999). Toward an understanding of resilience: A critical review of definitions and models. In M. D. Glantz & J. L. Johnson (Eds.), Resilience and development: Positive life adaptations (pp. 17–84). New York, NY: Kluwer/Plenum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kidd, S., & Shahar, G. (2008). Resilience in homeless youth: The key role of self-esteem. The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 78(2), 163–172.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Larson, R. (2006). Positive youth development, wilful adolescents, and mentoring. Journal of Community Psychology, 34(6), 677–689.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Latimer, J., & Foss, L. C. (2005). The sentencing of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth under the young offenders act: A multivariate analysis. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 47(3), 481–500.

    Google Scholar 

  • Laub, J. H., & Sampson, R. J. (2003). Shared beginnings, divergent lives: Delinquent boys to age 70. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Law, J. H. J., & Barker, B. K. (2006). Neighborhood conditions, parenting, and adolescent functioning. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 14(4), 91–118.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Leadbeater, B., Dodgen, D., & Solarz, A. (2005). The resilience revolution: A paradigm shift for research and policy. In R. D. Peters, B. Leadbeater, & R. J. McMahon (Eds.), Resilience in children, families, and communities: Linking context to practice and policy (pp. 47–63). New York, NY: Kluwer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Leadbeater, B., & Way, N. (Eds.). (2007). Urban girls: Resisting stereotypes, creating identities. New York, NY: New York University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lemery-Chalfant, K. (2010). Genes and environments: How they work together to promote resilience. In J. W. Reich, A. J. Zautra, & J. S. Hall (Eds.), Handbook of adult resilience (pp. 55–80). New York, NY: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lerner, R. M. (2006). Resilience as an attribute of the developmental system: Comments on the papers of Professors Masten & Wachs. In B. M. Lester, A. S. Masten, & B. McEwen (Eds.), Resilience in children (pp. 40–51). Boston, MA: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lerner, R. M., Dowling, E. M., & Anderson, P. M. (2003). Positive youth development: Thriving as the basis of personhood and civil society. Applied Developmental Science, 7(3), 172–180.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lesko, N. (2001). Act your age: A cultural construction of adolescence. New York, NY: Routledge Falmer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lewin, K. (1951). Defining the “field at a given time”. In D. Cartwright (Ed.), Field theory in social science (pp. 43–59). New York, NY: Harper & Brothers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lewis, M. D., Granic, I., & Lamm, C. (2006). In B. M. Lester, A. S. Masten, & B. McEwen (Eds.), Behavioral differences in aggressive children linked with neural mechanisms of emotion regulation. (pp. 164–177). Boston, MA: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Liborio, R., & Ungar, M. (2010). Children’s perspectives on their economic activity as a pathway to resilience. Children and Society, 24, 326–338.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Liebel, M. (2004). A will of their own: Cross cultural perspectives on working children. London, UK: Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Luthar, S. S., Cicchetti, D., & Becker, B. (2000). The construct of resilience: A critical evaluation and guidelines for future work. Child Development, 71(3), 543–562.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lyons, J. S. (2004). Redressing the emperor: Improving our children’s public mental health system. Westport, CT: Praeger.

    Google Scholar 

  • Martin, A. J., & Marsh, H. W. (2006). Academic resilience and its psychological and educational correlates: A construct validity approach. Psychology in the Schools, 43(3), 267–281.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Martin, A. J., & Marsh, H. W. (2009). Academic resilience and academic buoyancy: Multidimensional and hierarchical conceptual framing of causes, correlates and cognate constructs. Oxford Review of Education, 35(3), 353–370.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Masten, A. S., & Obradović, J. (2006). Competence and resilience in development. In B. M. Lester, A. S. Masten, & B. McEwen (Eds.), Resilience in children (pp. 13–27). Boston, MA: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Masten, A. S., & Wright, M. O. (2010). Resilience over the lifespan: Developmental perspectives on resistance, recovery, and transformation. In J. W. Reich, A. J. Zautra, & J. S. Hall (Eds.), Handbook of adult resilience (pp. 213–237). New York, NY: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mikami, A. Y., & Hinshaw, S. P. (2006). Resilient adolescent adjustment among girls: Buffers of childhood peer rejection and attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34, 825–839.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moffitt, T. E. (1997). Adolescents-limited and life-course-persistent offending: A complimentary pair of developmental theories. In T. P. Thornberry (Ed.), Developmental theories of crime and delinquency (pp. 11–54). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., Rutter, M., & Silva, P. A. (2001). Sex differences in antisocial behaviour. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Moore, K. A., Lippman, L., & Brown, B. (2004). Indicators of child well-being: The promise for positive youth development. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 591, 125–145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Munford, R., & Sanders, J. (2005). Borders, margins and bridges: Possibilities for change for marginalized young women. Community Development Journal, 42, 317–329.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Murphy, L. B. (1962). The widening world of childhood: Paths toward mastery. New York, NY: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Murphy, L. B., & Moriarty, A. E. (1976). Vulnerability, coping, and growth from infancy to adolescence. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Murray, C. (2010). Conceptualizing young people’s strategies of resistance to offending as ‘active resilience’. British Journal of Social Work, 40(1), 115–132.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Naess, A. (1989). Ecology, community and lifestyle: Outline of an ecosophy (D. Rothenberg, Trans.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nagin, D., & Tremblay, R. E. (1999). Trajectories of boys’ physical aggression, opposition and hyperactivity on the path to physically violent and non-violent juvenile delinquency. Child Development, 70, 1181–1196.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nguyen-Gillham, V. (2008). Normalising the abnormal: Palestinian youth and the contradictions of resilience in protracted conflict. Health & Social Care in the Community, 16(3), 291–298.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Obradović, J., Bush, N. R., Stamperdahl, J., Adler, N. E., & Boyce, W. T. (2010). Biological sensitivity to context: The interactive effects of stress reactivity and family adversity on socioemotional behavior and school readiness. Child Development, 81(1), 270–289.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parke, R. D., Coltrane, S., Duffy, S., Buriel, R., Dennis, J., Powers, J., et al. (2004). Economic stress, parenting, and child adjustment in Mexican American and European American families. Child Development, 75(6), 1632–1656.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Phelps, E., Balsano, A. B., Peltz, J. S., Zimmerman, S. M., Lerner, R. M., & Lerner, J. V. (2007). Nuances in early adolescent developmental trajectories of positive and of problematic/risk behaviors: Findings from The 4-H study of positive youth development. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 16(2), 473–496.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Poulin, C., Hand, D., & Boudreau, B. (2005). Validity of a 12-item version of the CES-D used in the National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth. Chronic Diseases in Canada, 26(2/3), 65–72.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rutter, M. (1987). Psychosocial resilience and protective mechanisms. The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 57, 316–331.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rutter, M. (2008). Developing concepts in developmental psychopathology. In J. J. Hudziak (Ed.), Developmental psychopathology and wellness: Genetic and environmental influences (pp. 3–22). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sampson, R. J. (2003). The neighbourhood context of well-being. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 43(3), S53–S64.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schoon, I. (2006). Risk and resilience: Adaptations in changing times. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Shoveller, J. A., Johnson, J. L., Langille, D. B., & Mitchell, T. (2003). Socio-cultural influences on young people’s sexual development. Social Science & Medicine, 59, 473–487.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sloboda, Z., Stephens, R. C., Stephens, P. C., Grey, S. F., Teasdale, B., Hawthorne, R. D., et al. (2009). The Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention Study: A randomized field trial of a universal substance abuse prevention program. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 102, 1–10.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Spencer, J. M., Zimet, G. D., Aalsma, M. C., & Orr, D. P. (2002). Self-esteem as a predictor of initiation of coitus in early adolescents. Pediatrics, 109(4), 581–584.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sroufe, L. A., Egeland, B., Carlson, E. A., & Collins, W. A. (2005). The development of the person: The Minnesota study of risk and adaptation from birth to adulthood. New York, NY: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Theokas, C., & Lerner, R. M. (2006). Observed ecological assets in families, schools, and neighbourhoods: Conceptualisation, measurement and relations with positive and negative developmental outcomes. Applied Developmental Science, 10(2), 61–74.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Theron, L., Cameron, A., Lau, C., Didkowsky, N., Ungar, M., & Liebenberg, L. (2011). A ‘day in the lives’ of four resilient youths: Cultural roots of resilience. Youth and Society. DOI: 10.1177/0044118X11402853.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tiet, Q. Q., Bird, H. R., Davies, M., Hoven, C., Cohen, P., Jensen, P., et al. (1998). Adverse life events and resilience. Journal o the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 37(11), 1191–1200.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ungar, M. (2005). Pathways to resilience among children in child welfare, corrections, mental health and educational settings: Navigation and negotiation. Child and Youth Care Forum, 34(6), 423–444.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ungar, M. (2007). Playing at being bad: The hidden resilience of troubled teens. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ungar, M. (2008). Resilience across cultures. British Journal of Social Work, 38(2), 218–235.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ungar, M. (2010a). Researching culturally diverse pathways to resilience: Challenges and solutions. In H. M. McCubbin, K. Ontai, L. Kehl, L. McCubbin, I. Strom, H. Hart, & J. Matsuoka (Eds.), Multiethnicity and multiethnic families (pp. 253–276). Honolulu, HI: Le’a Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ungar, M. (2010b). What is resilience across cultures and contexts? Advances to the theory of positive development among individuals and families under stress. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 21(1), 1–16.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ungar, M. (2011a). Counseling in challenging contexts: Working with individuals and families across clinical and community settings. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ungar, M. (2011b). The social ecology of resilience. Addressing contextual and cultural ambiguity of a nascent construct. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 81, 1–17.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ungar, M., Brown, M., Liebenberg, L., Othman, R., Kwong, W. M., Armstrong, M., et al. (2007). Unique pathways to resilience across cultures. Adolescence, 42(166), 287–310.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ungar, M., Liebenberg, L., Boothroyd, R., Kwong, W. M., Lee, T. Y., Leblanc, J., et al. (2008). The study of youth resilience across cultures: Lessons from a pilot study of measurement development. Research in Human Development, 5(3), 166–180.

    Google Scholar 

  • Von Bertalanffy, L. (1968). General system theory: Foundations, development, application. New York, NY: Braziller.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Walker, B., & Salt, D. (2006). Resilience thinking. Washington, DC: Island Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Walsh, W. A., & Banaji, M. R. (1997). The collective self. In J. G. Snodgrass & R. L. Thompson (Eds.), The self across psychology (pp. 193–214). New York, NY: New York Academy of Sciences.

    Google Scholar 

  • Werner, E. E., & Smith, R. S. (1982). Vulnerable but invincible: A longitudinal study of resilient children and youth. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  • Werner, E. E., & Smith, R. S. (1992). Overcoming the odds: High risk children from birth to adulthood. Ithaca, NY: Cornel University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wikström, P. H. (2005). The social origins of pathways in crime: Towards a developmental ecological action theory of crime involvement and its changes. In D. P. Farrington (Ed.), Integrated developmental & life-course theories of offending (pp. 211–246). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wyman, P. A. (2003). Emerging perspectives on context specificity of children’s adaptation and resilience: Evidence from a decade of research with urban children in adversity. In S. S. Luthar (Ed.), Resilience and vulnerability: Adaptation in the context of childhood adversities (pp. 293–317). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zautra, A. J., Hall, J. S., & Murray, K. E. (2010). Resilience: A new definition of health for people and communities. In J. W. Reich, A. J. Zautra, & J. S. Hall (Eds.), Handbook of adult resilience (pp. 3–34). New York, NY: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michael Ungar .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Ungar, M. (2012). Social Ecologies and Their Contribution to Resilience. In: Ungar, M. (eds) The Social Ecology of Resilience. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-0586-3_2

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics