Toward an Adaptation-Based Approach to Resilience

  • Bruce J. Ellis
Part of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network book series (CMSN)


Despite the well-established links between adversity and various social and health outcomes, there is also a counterpoint to these links: the large resilience literature. Some individuals thrive, or at least beat the odds, despite their high-risk backgrounds. This chapter explores the theory, practice, and implications of the adaptation-based approach to resilience in contrast to traditional approaches. Central to the adaptation-based approach is the specialization hypothesis in which harsh and unpredictable environments do not exclusively impair cognition but instead enhance problem-solving. Understanding the functional response to adversity is key to this approach. The more we understand these adaptations, the more effectively we can tailor education, policy, and interventions for children who grow up in harsh environments.


Stress conditions Adaptation Protective factors Unpredictable environments Child maltreatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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