Youth Resilience and Social Capital in a Disadvantaged Neighborhood: A Constructionist Interpretive Approach

Part of the Advances in Mental Health and Addiction book series (AMHA)



How resilience is conceptualized is central to resilience-building interventions. Informed by social constructionism and social capital theory, we explore the meaning of resilience for youth residing in a marginalized neighborhood in Canada’s largest metropolis. Data were gathered through separate focus groups held with male and female youth.


Participants shared viewpoints and experiences on what it means to grow up well (i.e., be/become resilient) in this neighbourhood and how they face challenges and try to keep healthy.


A constructionist interpretive lens supplemented by social capital theory informed key themes of participants’ perspectives and experience, including both conventional and distinctive understandings of resilience. On the one hand, attributes and common-sense strategies generally prevalent among adolescents were articulated, while on the other hand distinctive pathways of resilience in the context of disadvantage and marginality emerged.


Underscoring resilience as a phenomenon embedded in specific contexts and shaped by privilege and disadvantage, we argue for resources to support the resilience of marginalized youth.


Disadvantage Marginalization Racialization Resilience Social constructionism Social capital Youth 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of NursingYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of HealthYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Jane/Finch NeighbourhoodTorontoCanada

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