The Role of Nature in Children’s Resilience: Cognitive and Social Processes

  • Nancy M. WellsEmail author


This chapter examines the convergence of two literatures: one addressing human resilience, the other focused on the natural environment and human well-being. Research evidence suggests that views of and access to nearby nature serve as protective factors, bolstering the resilience of youth. However little effort has been made to explicitly integrate resilience or positive psychology with nature and well-being research and theory. First, a brief historical overview of childhood resilience literature is presented with a focus on the evolution from protective factors to protective mechanisms. Second, the chapter presents research connecting nature to positive outcomes, particularly in the context of stress, adversity, and other risk factors. Third, we consider two particularly viable, well-grounded mechanisms linking nature to resilience: social relationships and cognitive functioning. Lastly, directions for future research are presented. Further examination of the intersection of resilience and the natural environment holds promise for theory as well as practice, and has the potential to substantially influence the lives of children facing the challenges of life in a red zone.


Children Nature Resilience 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, College of Human Ecology, MVR HallCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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