Risk and Resilience

Risk and resilience have been conceptualized as opposite poles “of individual differences in people's response to stress and adversity” (Rutter, 1987, p. 316), with risk representing the negative pole (e.g., succumbing to adversity) and resilience the positive (e.g., overcoming adversity). Over the past five decades, a large and consistent body of research has shown that children's futures are made considerably dimmer by exposure to multiple, chronically adverse living conditions such as poverty, family dysfunction, parental illness or incompetence, abuse, and poor physical health. Negative outcomes of these conditions include (Doll & Lyon, 1998):

  • Increased delinquent activity/criminality
  • Lower measured intelligence
  • Increased educational and learning problems
  • Increased likelihood of physical and mental health problems
  • Increased likelihood of teenage parenthood
  • Increased likelihood of unemployment
  • Decreased likelihood of social competence

However, most of these ...

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