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Positive Adaptation, Resilience and the Developmental Assets Framework

Abstract

Advances in our understanding of adaptation are rooted in the seminal work of Garmezy, Rutter, Werner, and others who “discovered” a not inconsiderable proportion of children who, thought to be at risk for current and future maladaptation, showed few or no signs of pathology and often exhibited high levels of competence (Garmezy, 1974; Rutter, 1979; Werner & Smith, 1982). Investigating what made a difference in this group of children’s lives led at first to descriptions of correlates of positive development among children living in high-risk contexts and has progressed to complex process models allowing for multiple causal effects across multiple ecologies (Masten, 1999a). Two of the great contributions from this line of work have focused on elucidating the mechanisms thought to underlie both adaptive and maladaptive developmental trajectories under conditions of adversity, as well as advancing the position that studies of positive adaptation and competence should be studied alongside the more dominant models of risk, pathology, and treatment (Garmezy, 1974; Rutter, 1979; Masten, 2001). These advancements in turn have been instrumental in current intervention and prevention practices (Rolf & Johnson, 1999).

Keywords

  • Young People
  • Grade Point Average
  • Youth Development
  • Positive Development
  • Positive Youth Development

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.

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Fig 25.1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Specifically, thriving may be understood as a developmental process of recursive cause and effect engagement with one’s ecology over time that repeatedly results in optimal outcomes as viewed at any one point in time. Thriving in this sense reflects processes that are unique to or more pronounced in particular stages of development, such as the successful navigation of rapidly expanding peer relationships in middle childhood, or the significant cognitive maturation in early adolescence that can radically affect, for better or worse, young people’s construction of supportive social environments.

  2. 2.

    Two early exceptions were two special issues of the Journal of Adolescent Research, one that was devoted to “positive aspects of adolescence” (Adams, 2001) and the other that called for youth social policy to focus on positive outcomes as much as it does on negative ones (Pittman, Diversi, & Ferber, 2002). Toward that end, for example, Child Trends, Inc., and the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, in collaboration with the US Department of Health and Human Services, also played an early leadership role by hosting a conference of state leaders in 2002 to suggest positive indicators of youth development (later released as a book (Moore & Lippman, 2005)). If added to state-level data collection, such indicators would better inform policymakers’ decisions about child, youth, and family policies and programs. But there are relatively few examples of studies or policy initiatives that go beyond measuring only negative or just adequate behavior among youth.

  3. 3.

    A thorough description of the evolution of the theory of thriving is found in Benson and Scales (2010).

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Correspondence to Arturo Sesma Jr. .

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Sesma, A., Mannes, M., Scales, P.C. (2013). Positive Adaptation, Resilience and the Developmental Assets Framework. In: Goldstein, S., Brooks, R. (eds) Handbook of Resilience in Children. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3661-4_25

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