Exposure to severe caregiver conflict and associated stress is detrimental to adolescent mental health. While there has been interest in factors that protect the mental health of affected adolescents, this interest has rarely accounted for how the situational and cultural context influence the positive impact of specific protective factors associated with resilience. This study investigated the interplay of home routines and comforting beliefs for the mental health of adolescents living in western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) versus less-WEIRD communities and exposed to severe caregiver conflict. The sample comprised adolescents (14–24 years (M = 18.54), 65.6% women) from Canada (CA, n = 152) and South Africa (SA; n = 150) from the Resilient Youth in Stressed Environments project. Adolescents were recruited from economically challenged communities; the SA community was also characterized by structural disadvantage and social disorder. A robust moderated moderation model was estimated. Mental health was indicated by self-reported symptoms of depression. When comforting beliefs were present, depression scores did not differ between samples regardless of the absence/presence of daily routines. When comforting beliefs were absent, a daily routine heightened vulnerability to depression for the SA adolescents but was protective for Canadian adolescents. Comforting beliefs have similar protective effects on adolescent mental health across the studied contexts. However, context shapes the protective effect of home routines when comforting beliefs are absent. These findings inform a call for greater attention to how context shapes the protective value of interacting resilience resources and the optimal design of mental health interventions in stressed environments.
The economic and social well-being of rural, “resource-cursed” communities can depend on the boom-bust cycles of a single industry like oil and gas. This study used a constructivist, inductive approach to identify the challenges placed on families in one such community and the processes that strengthen family resilience. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 35 adult residents (30–76 years old, 19 women) from a community in Alberta, Canada, that has specialized in oil and gas extraction for 70 years and experienced its worst economic downturn while the study was underway. Results showed that many families have experienced an endless cycle of poor work–life balance and income instability throughout the economic cycle. Family life often lacked social cohesion as a consequence of demanding work schedules and economic pressures. Additional challenges were the perceived negative effects of rigid gender roles, substance abuse, family conflicts, and domestic violence. Crucial strengthening processes for family resilience were fundamental financial and living standard adaptations (e.g., living within or below one’s economic means; having both spouses become earners), maintaining regular contact by having a flexible home routine, and mutually agreeing to change roles during busts (former earners take responsibility for caregiving and running of the household and vice versa). Alternatively, accepting economic volatility and its impact on normal family life processes were essential for family resilience. Findings suggest the need for clinicians to help families foster resilience in communities that depend on resource extraction industries with concurrent adaptations required by individuals, families, and socio-political and economic systems.
Youth resilience is the product of multiple systems. Still, the biological, psychological, social, and environmental system factors that support youth resilience are incompletely understood. How these factors interact, and the situational and cultural dynamics shaping their interconnectedness, are also under-researched. In response, we report a multi-site case study that is instrumental to understanding multisystemic resilience. It draws on the insights of 52 youth from stressed, oil and gas communities in South Africa (13 young men; 8 young women; average age: 20.28) and Canada (19 young women, 12 young men; average age: 20.77). Deductive and inductive analyses show that youth resilience is informed by a biopsychosocial-ecological system of interacting resources that fit situational and cultural dynamics. This has implications for society’s championship of youth adaptation to stressed environments, including less emphasis on individual resources and more on contextually responsive, systemic changes that will facilitate meso- and macro-system resistance to significant stress.
In contexts of exposure to atypical stress or adversity, individual and collective resilience refers to the process of sustaining wellbeing by leveraging biological, psychological, social and environmental protective and promotive factors and processes (PPFPs). This multisystemic understanding of resilience is generating significant interest but has been difficult to operationalize in psychological research where studies tend to address only one or two systems at a time, often with a primary focus on individual coping strategies. We show how multiple systems implicated in human resilience can be researched in the same study using a longitudinal, six-phase transformative sequential mixed methods study of 14- to 24-year-olds and their elders in two communities dependent on oil and gas industries (Drayton Valley, Canada, and Secunda/eMbalenhle, South Africa). Data collection occurred over a 5-year period, and included: (1) community engagement and the identification of youth health and well-being priorities; (2) participatory youth-centric qualitative research using one-on-one semi-structured interviews and arts-based methods; (3) survey of 500 youth at three time points to assess psychosocial health indicators and outcomes; (4) collection of hair samples to assess stress biomarkers (cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone-DHEA) over time; (5) youth-led ecological data collection and assessment of historical socio-economic development data; and (6) community resource mapping with community elders. Analyzing data from these multiple systems will allow us to understand the interrelationship and impact of PPFPs within and across systems. To date, we have undertaken thematic and narrative qualitative analyses, and descriptive analyses of the preliminary ecological and survey data. As we proceed, we will combine these and grounded theory approaches with innovative techniques such as latent transition analysis and network analysis, as well as modeling of economic conditions and spatial analysis of human geographies to understand patterns of PPFPs and their inter-relationships. By analyzing the complexity of data collected across systems (including cultural contexts) we are demonstrating the possibility of conducting multisystemic resilience research which expands the way psychological research accounts for positive development under stress in different contexts. This comprehensive examination of resilience may offer an example of how the study of resilience can inform socially and contextually relevant interventions and policies.
Women remain vastly underrepresented in the oil and gas workforce. As such, they are subject to gender-based discrimination and harassment, perpetuated by a hyper masculine work culture, yet little is known about their experiences working on the front lines. Guided by feminist interpretive inquiry, the purpose of this research was to understand the experiences of young women in blue collar and administrative positions within the oil and gas industry, in a small Canadian town. One-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 women ages 18–30 between February 2018 and March 2019. Data were analyzed using an inductive thematic content analysis, and findings were validated by a Local Advisory Committee. Participating women experienced gender-based discrimination and harassment. Still, many women enjoyed their work, took pride in defying gender-based expectations, and tended to persevere by having ‘tough skin’. Women’s coping mechanisms tended to reinforce the masculine culture that perpetuates the gender-based challenges they face. Findings suggest that industry practices must adapt to create a safe and inclusive workplace.
More research is needed to properly represent social-ecological system (SES) interactions that support the integrity of biological and cultural, i.e., biocultural, relationships in places experiencing environmental, economic, and social change. In this paper we offer a novel methodology to address this need through the development of place-based indicators and engagement of young people as coresearchers in two communities that rely on resource extraction industries (specifically, oil and gas) in Canada and South Africa. Young people’s SES experiences were explored through a suite of participatory qualitative methods, including Q methodology, visioning exercises, ESRI Survey 123, participatory mapping and photography, and spatial image capture via unmanned aerial vehicles, i.e., drones. These methods support a biocultural approach to SES research that seeks to better understand the significant SES relationships at stake in changing environmental, economic, and social context. Here we present our research process and conclude that a focus on place supports the feedback loop between existing SES frameworks and local experiences. We suggest that this methodology can be amended for diverse localities and unique populations to support the development of efficacious policies, SES management, and community efforts toward building resilience, sustainability, and well-being of both humans and natural environments.
How do residents of small towns that depend on oil and gas extraction or processing industries withstand economic boom and bust cycles? To answer this question, this article reports on a narrative analysis of residents’ life stories gathered from 37 adults of a small town on the Canadian prairies dependent on the oil and gas industry, employing the theories of narrative inquiry and narrative identity. Participants aged 30 to 76 were interviewed and their experiences of living in an unstable economy that is dependent mostly on a single resource extraction industry were explored. Specifically, we asked participants about the effect of economic change on factors related to resilience like family interactions, work choices, educational pathways, and the quality of their social lives. Our analysis of adult narratives looked for patterns in the relationship between risk exposure, promotive and protective factors at multiple systemic levels (individual, relational, cultural), and functional outcomes such as individual coping, community cohesion, and social and economic sustainability. Results show that a strong identity, in particular expressions of personal agency, communion, and engagement in meaning making are contributing factors to adult resilience in a context of economic change. Our results also highlight how positive attitudes towards a better future may inadvertently undermine the need for residents of oil and gas-dependent towns to commit to economic diversification and other potential resilience-promoting strategies.
This paper reports on the changing dynamics of a small town’s social-ecological system (SES) concerning oil and gas industry boom-bust economic cycles and both the vulnerability and resilience of the town over the past 30 years. With the goal to understand how resource-based single industry impact social-ecological systems, we developed indicators of human and environmental well-being and assessed them. Seven indicators include labor force distribution, education, oil price, household income, water quality, air quality, and land cover land use. Over this period, Drayton Valley, Canada quadrupled in size, with more than 20% of the population working in the oil and gas sector. Median income rose to 42% above the national average despite the population lagging national benchmarks for educational attainment. There have also been dramatic fluctuations in levels of fluoride, phosphorus, and other chemicals in water quality samples, implying a correlation with fossil fuel extractive activities over this period. Land cover land use change analysis shows a decreased area of water bodies, wetland, and forests, and increased built capital and agricultural land. While economic boom cycles have led to cash inflows, an exclusive focus on the benefits of the oil and gas industry may leave those dependent on the industry vulnerable to social and environmental risk factors during bust cycles that are beyond their control in the everchanging global oil economy. This phenomenon which has been referred to as the “resource curse” suggests the need to anticipate cyclical (or more sustained) periods of low levels of oil and gas production. These results suggest that single boom-bust economies impact every aspect of social-ecological systems. Therefore, a sustainable development plan that comprehensively considers not only economic growth, but also diversification, environment protection, and strategic land use planning is indispensable to ensure the long-term development of communities that depend upon extractive industries.
To investigate young people’s experiences of living in a community dependent on resource extraction and processing industries during boom-bust economic cycles, we used a qualitative multi-method approach to engage 50 youth ages 13–24 in a study of resilience and well-being. As part of our analysis of resilience processes, we examined how young people’s perceptions of their community’s identity affect the strategies young people use to cope with stress and access supports. Data collection took place in a small town in western Canada dependent on oil and gas extraction. Applied thematic analysis indicated that young people participate in the co-construction of their community’s social, economic, and place-based identities and that these co-constructions shape the decisions young people make with regard to education, work, and relationships. We discuss implications for policies which can help youth cope with changing economic environments in rural communities dependent on a single extractive industry.
What enables the resilience of African emerging adults who live in sub-Saharan Africa and must contend with an everyday reality that is characterized by structural disadvantage and related hardship? This question directed the exploratory qualitative research that we report in this article. Its genesis was the relative inattention to the resilience of African emerging adults—that is, young people living in sub-Saharan Africa, aged 18–29. To answer this question, 16 South African participants (average age 21) from a significantly stressed community participated in group interviews and generated digital stories. A deductive analysis of the content yielded the understanding that the self is central to emerging adult resilience. Family members mattered too, but there was scant reference to any other social or ecological resource. These findings urge attention to the dangers to resilience if social ecologies are not resourced to better co-facilitate positive outcomes for disadvantaged emerging adults.
Despite the increasing popularity of discussions of resilience in disciplines as diverse as ecology, psychology, economics, architecture, and genetics (among many others), researchers still lack a conceptual model to explain how the resilience of one system relates to the resilience of other cooccurring systems. Models that explain resilience within a single system are more robust and better studied. Although some researchers argue that both ontological and epistemological weaknesses prevent such an integrated model from being developed (the incommensurability hypothesis), others have carried out metasyntheses using techniques like network citation analysis to identify common principles and processes that are associated with resilience across disciplines. Although useful, metasyntheses have yet to identify sufficient commonalities across bodies of research to account for a single model of resilience. This paper adapts methods used for the thematic synthesis of qualitative data to critically analyze metasyntheses of resilience and identify principles that explain patterns of resilience of different systems (biological, psychological, social, cultural, economic, legal, communication, and ecological systems are all considered). Sixteen purposefully selected published syntheses were reviewed, along with dozens of other supporting peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, supplemented by consultations with knowledge experts. Seven common principles across systems were identified. These include: (1) resilience occurs in contexts of adversity; (2) resilience is a process; (3) there are trade-offs between systems when a system experiences resilience; (4) a resilient system is open, dynamic, and complex; (5) a resilient system promotes connectivity; (6) a resilient system demonstrates experimentation and learning; and (7) a resilient system includes diversity, redundancy, and participation. Where evidence refutes a principle, discordant findings are highlighted. Together, these principles account for resilience as a sequence of systemic interdependent interactions through which actors (whether persons, organisms, or ecosystems) secure the resources required for sustainability in stressed environments.
As disasters escalate in frequency and severity, children and youth are among those most at risk for resulting adverse psychological, social, health, and educational effects. Although there is growing interest in the vulnerabilities and capacities of youth who have experienced disaster, research focusing on their lived experiences during the recovery period remains sparse. In response to this knowledge gap, youth between the ages of 13–22 were invited to participate in workshops spanning one to four days, where they used art, music, photography, videography, and other means to articulate their experiences of post-disaster recovery. The research took place in four disaster-affected communities in the United States and Canada, including Joplin, Slave Lake, Calgary, and High River. Youth stories revealed key people, places, and activities that supported their recovery, and the mechanisms through which those supports had a positive impact. Examining youth perspectives is important to concretize and contextualize theories of disaster recovery.
As research on young people’s disaster experiences is accumulating, one important yet understudied factor underlying their vulnerability and resilience is their connection to certain places. Youth affected by the 2013 floods in Southern Alberta, Canada, provided photographs of places important to their flood experiences and engaged in peer-to-peer interviews to discuss place loss and place-based strength. Damaged or changed places disrupted youth’s reliance on place for activities, resources, social ties, sense of continuity, and a connection to the past. Places provided strength when they offered escape from the postdisaster chaos, enabled youth to contribute to recovery, supported physical and psychological need satisfaction, and symbolized strength, renewal, or hope. These findings demonstrate the relevance of place to youth’s disaster experiences and inform future qualitative and quantitative work in this area.
The theory of differential susceptibility is helping to explain how genetic, neurological and personality factors affect individual mental and physical health and why interventions work better with certain populations. As social workers, however, our focus is more on the impact of the social determinants of health found in people’s environments and the nuanced way external factors influence psychological treatment outcomes and human development over time rather than genotypes and phenotypes. This article discusses differential impact theory (DIT) as a complementary theory to differential susceptibility in an effort to make both theories relevant to social work practice. After a brief summary of the differential susceptibility research, I draw from studies of psycho-social interventions and Person × Environment interactions to show that responsibility for positive adaptation resides within the systems that surround individuals just as much as, and possibly more than, within individuals themselves. DIT provides a more balanced explanation than differential susceptibility theory alone for why clinical and community interventions and changes to social policy can have a positive influence on psycho-social outcomes. The implications of DIT are discussed with regard to the design and delivery of psychological and social interventions.
Youth have historically been understudied in disaster research and largely excluded in practice. Yet, a growing body of evidence suggests that they want to be actively engaged, and when they are, can contribute in myriad ways to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery processes. This field report describes the Youth Creating Disaster Recovery and Resilience (YCDR2) project—a Canadian-United States applied research initiative aimed at learning from and with youth ages 13–22 about their disaster experiences. The project used creative and arts-based methods to engage youth in participatory workshops held in disaster-affected communities. Key findings, research and implementation challenges, successes, and lessons learned are discussed.
OBJECTIVES: To provide opportunities for intergenerational knowledge sharing for healthy lifestyles; to facilitate youth and Elder mentorship; and to increase the self-esteem of youth by celebrating identity, cultural practices and community connection through the creation and sharing of digital stories.
PARTICIPANTS: A youth research team (8 youth) aged 13–25, youth participants (60 core participants and 170 workshop participants) and Elders (14) from First Nations communities.
SETTING: The project was conducted with participants from several communities on Vancouver Island through on-site workshops and presentations.
INTERVENTION: Youth and Elders were invited to a 3-day digital story workshop consisting of knowledge-sharing sessions by Elders and digital story training by the youth research team. Workshop attendees returned to their communities to develop stories. The group re-convened at the university to create digital stories focused on community connections, family histories and healthy lifestyles. During the following year the research team delivered instructional sessions in communities on the digital story process.
OUTCOMES: The youth involved reported increased pride in community as well as new or enhanced relationships with Elders.
CONCLUSIONS: The digital stories method facilitated intergenerational interactions and engaged community members in creating a digital representation of healthy lifestyles. The process itself is an intervention, as it affords critical reflection on historical, cultural and spiritual ideas of health and what it means to be healthy in an Aboriginal community. It is a particularly relevant health promotion tool in First Nations communities with strong oral history traditions.
Background: Children and youth emerge as key populations that are impacted by energy resource activities, in part because of their developmental vulnerabilities, as well as the compounding effects of energy systems on their families, communities, and physical environments. While there is a larger literature focused on fossil fuel emissions and children, the impacts of many aspects of energy systems on children and youth remain under examined and scattered throughout the health, social science, and environmental science literatures. Objectives: This systematic interdisciplinary review examines the biological, psychosocial, and economic impacts of energy systems identified through social science research – specifically focused on household and industrial extraction and emissions – on children and youth functioning. Methods: A critical interpretive search of interdisciplinary and international social sciences literature was conducted using an adaptive protocol focusing on the biopsychosocial and economic impacts of energy systems on children and youth. The initial results were complemented with a purposeful search to extend the breadth and depth of the final collection of articles. Discussion: Although relatively few studies have specifically focused on children and youth in this context, the majority of this research uncovers a range of negative health impacts that are directly and indirectly related to the development and ongoing operations of natural resource production, particularly oil and gas, coal, and nuclear energy. Psychosocial and cultural effects, however, remain largely unexamined and provide a rich avenue for further research. Conclusions: This synthesis identifies an array of adverse biopsychosocial health outcomes on children and youth of energy resource extraction and emissions, and identifies gaps that will drive future research in this area.
Children and youth often demonstrate resilience and capacity in the face of disasters. Yet, they are typically not given the opportunities to engage in youth-driven research and lack access to official channels through which to contribute their perspectives to policy and practice during the recovery process. To begin to fill this void in research and action, this multi-site research project engaged youth from disaster-affected communities in Canada and the United States. This article presents a flexible youth-centric workshop methodology that uses participatory and arts-based methods to elicit and explore youth’s disaster and recovery experiences. The opportunities and challenges associated with initiating and maintaining partnerships, reciprocity and youth-adult power differentials using arts-based methods, and sustaining engagement in post-disaster settings, are discussed. Ultimately, this work contributes to further understanding of the methods being used to conduct research for, with, and about youth.
- Increased interest in managing resilience has led to efforts to develop standardized tools for assessments and quantitative measures. Resilience, however, as a property of complex adaptive systems, does not lend itself easily to measurement. Whereas assessment approaches tend to focus on deepening understanding of system dynamics, resilience measurement aims to capture and quantify resilience in a rigorous and repeatable way.
- We discuss the strengths, limitations and trade-offs involved in both assessing and measuring resilience, as well as the relationship between the two. We use a range of disciplinary perspectives to draw lessons on distilling complex concepts into useful metrics.
- Measuring and monitoring a narrow set of indicators or reducing resilience to a single unit of measurement may block the deeper understanding of system dynamics needed to apply resilience thinking and inform management actions.
- Synthesis and applications. Resilience assessment and measurement can be complementary. In both cases it is important that: (i) the approach aligns with how resilience is being defined, (ii) the application suits the specific context and (iii) understanding of system dynamics is increased. Ongoing efforts to measure resilience would benefit from the integration of key principles that have been identified for building resilience.
Place attachment is important for children and youth’s disaster preparedness, experiences, recovery, and resilience, but most of the literature on place and disasters has focused on adults. Drawing on the community disaster risk reduction, recovery, and resilience literature as well as the literature on normative place attachment, children and youth’s place-relevant disaster experiences are examined. Prior to a disaster, place attachments are postulated to enhance children and youth’s disaster preparedness contributions and reinforce their pre-disaster resilience. During a disaster, damage of, and displacement from, places of importance can create significant emotional distress among children and youth. Following a disaster, pre-existing as well as new place ties can aid in their recovery and bolster their resilience moving forward. This framework enriches current theories of disaster recovery, resilience, and place attachment, and sets an agenda for future research.
Theories of youth resilience neglect youths’ lived experiences of what facilitates positive adjustment to hardship. The Pathways-to-Resilience Study addressed this by inviting Canadian, Chinese, Colombian, New Zealand and South African (SA) youths to share their resilience-related knowledge. In this article I report the challenges endemic to the rural, resource-poor, South African research site that complicated this Pathways ideal. I illustrate that blind application of a multi-country study design, albeit well-designed, potentially excludes youths with inaccessible parents, high mobility, and/or cellular telephone contact details. Additionally, I show that one-on-one interview methods do not serve Sesotho-speaking youths well, and that the inclusion of adult ‘insiders’ in a research team does not guarantee regard for local youths’ insights. I comment critically on how these challenges were addressed and use this to propose seven lessons that are likely to inform, and support, youth-advantaging qualitative research in similar majority-world contexts.
As both the societies and the world in which we live face increasingly rapid and turbulent changes, the concept of resilience has become an active and important research area. Reflecting the very latest research, this book provides a critical review of the ways in which resilience of social-ecological systems, and the ecosystem services they provide, can be enhanced. With contributions from leaders in the field, the chapters are structured around seven key principles for building resilience: maintain diversity and redundancy; manage connectivity; manage slow variables and feedbacks; foster complex adaptive systems thinking; encourage learning; broaden participation; and promote polycentric governance. The authors assess the evidence in support of these principles, discussing their practical application and outlining further research needs. Intended for researchers, practitioners and graduate students, this is an ideal resource for anyone working in resilience science and for those in the broader fields of sustainability science, environmental management and governance.
Extant theories of resilience, or the process of adjusting well to adversity, privilege the voices of minority-world young people. Consequently, the resilience of marginalized, majority-world youth is imperfectly understood, and majority-world social ecologies struggle to facilitate resilience in ways that respect the insights of majority-world youth and their cultural and contextual positioning. Accordingly, this article makes audible, as it were, the voices of 181 rural, Black, South African adolescents with the purpose of explicating which resilience-supporting processes characterize their positive adjustment to disadvantaged life-worlds, and how contextual and cultural realities shape such processes. Deductive and inductive analyses of a narrative and visual data set, generated in the qualitative phase of an explanatory mixed-methods study, revealed that universally occurring resilience-supporting mechanisms inform positive adjustment. Importantly, which mechanisms these youth prioritized, and the form these mechanisms take, are shaped by contextual realities of absent men and commonplace suffering, and a cultural reality of strong women, human and spiritual care, and valorization of education. Attention to these adolescents’ voices not only prompts specific, culturally and contextually relevant leverage points for resilience but also reinforces the importance of attending to young people’s preferred pathways of resilience in order to understand and champion resilience in socially just ways.
While we know much about patterns of family resilience, most of our research and clinical discussion has focused on microsystemic, intrafamilial protective processes. We have far fewer maps of the bidirectional interactions between families and other systems that contribute to successful family adaptation in challenging contexts. The purpose of this article is to address this gap in knowledge and present a map of family resilience that is both systemic and contextually and culturally responsive. Seven specific patterns of family resilience are reviewed. Combined, they account for the varied adaptational patterns families use to nurture and sustain resilience. The article concludes with reflection on how we can assess family resilience and the application of this map to family therapy.
This article describes the development and field testing of the Rural Resilience Index (RRI), an applied disaster resilience assessment index for use in rural and remote communities. The index was generated as part of the Rural Disaster Resilience Project. This community-centered action research project was designed to respond to the global emphasis on increasing the capacity of all communities, large and small, to meet the growing challenge of disasters, climate change, and other threats. The goals of the project were to produce resilience assessment and planning tools that could be used by communities to generate locally relevant data on their current resilience and be able to monitor and enhance their resilience over time. This article describes the development and field testing of the RRI, which is designed as a user-friendly, process-based, qualitative resilience assessment tool. The RRI emphasizes the value of citizen engagement in resilience planning and a whole-of-community approach to resilience addressing issues such as the quality and availability of local resources, expertise, skills, and services; governance issues; economic and employment issues; culture; disaster preparedness; and emergency management planning.
Objective To examine the perceptions of residents, nurses, and physicians about the effect of a regional family practice residency site on the delivery of health services in the community, as well as on the community health care providers.
Design Interviews and focus groups were conducted.
Setting Nanaimo, BC.
Participants A total of 16 residents, 15 nurses, and 20 physicians involved with the family practice residency training program at the Nanaimo site.
Methods A series of semistructured interviews and focus groups was conducted. Transcripts of interviews and focus groups were analyzed thematically by the research team.
The past two decades have seen increased attention to both the experiences of children and the resilience processes that facilitate their well-being and positive outcomes. Understanding the nuances in the similarities and differences of these processes across contexts and cultures is an imperative of our work as researchers and must inform our approach to research design. The inclusion of children in research as both collaborators and participants presents exciting opportunities to identify the obscured and unnamed processes that bolster their positive outcomes. This chapter discusses the use of mixed methods when conducting research with children across cultures and contexts. The focus is specifically on an iterative approach that integrates community comment into the design so as to enhance contextual relevance. Special focus is given to the integration of children’s perspectives in this process. We draw on the experiences of studies conducted at the Resilience Research Centre to illustrate the proposed process.
With growing interest in resilience among mental health care providers globally, there is a need for a simple way to consider the complex interactions that predict adaptive coping when there is exposure to high levels of adversity such as family violence, mental illness of a child or caregiver, natural disasters, social marginalization, or political conflict.
The contribution peer relationships make to positive adolescent development is well recognized. Accordingly, peer problem measures typically assess youth with few age-appropriate peers as having peer problems. Yet, youth facing high levels of personal and/or social adversity may reduce their association with antisocial peers as part of coping or risk mitigation strategies. While such strategies will result in higher scores on peer problem measures, they may also facilitate resilience and constitute a resource social workers can draw on in their work with youth. To test this proposition of peer adaptation as a risk mitigation strategy, mixed-methods data relating to two groups of youth who were exposed to different levels of adversity were compared on a standardized peer problem measure and a range of risk measures. Qualitative interviews extended this data and explored vulnerable youth perceptions of social withdrawal as a coping strategy. Results from the survey and qualitative data indicated that a subgroup of youth facing high levels of adversity restricted association with antisocial peers to reduce their behavioural risks. However, without adequate support from adults in both formal support systems and youths’ social ecologies to compensate for the loss of peer friendships, this strategy did not reduce behavioural risk in the medium term. The social withdrawal strategy also appeared to heighten mental health concerns for these youth. The implications of this finding for the development of policy and practice with vulnerable youth are discussed.
Very little research has examined the relationship between resilience, risk, and the service use patterns of adolescents with complex needs who use multiple formal and mandated services such as child welfare, mental health, juvenile justice, and special educational supports. This article reports on a study of 497 adolescents in Atlantic Canada who were known to have used at least 2 of these services in the last 6 months. It was hypothesized that greater service use and satisfaction with services would predict both resilience, and better functional outcomes such as prosocial behavior, school engagement and participation in community.
This article reviews the relationship between factors associated with resilience, and aspects of the individual’s social ecology (environment) that promote and protect against the negative impact of exposure to traumatic events. It is shown that the Environment × Individual interactions related to resilience can be understood using three principles: (1) Resilience is not as much an individual construct as it is a quality of the environment and its capacity to facilitate growth (nurture trumps nature); (2) resilience looks both the same and different within and between populations, with the mechanisms that predict positive growth sensitive to individual, contextual, and cultural variation (differential impact); and (3) the impact that any single factor has on resilience differs by the amount of risk exposure, with the mechanisms that protect against the impact of trauma showing contextual and cultural specificity for particular individuals (cultural variation). A definition of resilience is provided that highlights the need for environments to facilitate the navigations and negotiations of individuals for the resources they need to cope with adversity. The relative nature of resilience is discussed, emphasizing that resilience can manifest as either prosocial behaviors or pathological adaptation depending on the quality of the environment.
Biggs, R., Schlüter, M., Biggs, D., Bohensky, E.L., Burnsilver, S., Cundill, G., Dakos, V., Daw, T., Evans, L., Kotschy, K., Leitch, A., Meek, C., Quinlan, A., Raudsepp-Hearne, C., Robards, M., Schoon, M.L., Schultz, L., & West, P.C. (2012) Towards principles for enhancing the resilience of ecosystem services. Annual Review of Environment and Resources: 37, 421-448.
Enhancing the resilience of ecosystem services (ES) that underpin human well-being is critical for meeting current and future societal needs, and requires specific governance and management policies. Using the literature, we identify seven generic policy-relevant principles for enhancing the resilience of desired ES in the face of disturbance and ongoing change in social-ecological systems (SES). These principles are (P1) maintain diversity and redundancy, (P2) manage connectivity, (P3) manage slow variables and feedbacks, (P4) foster an understanding of SES as complex adaptive systems (CAS), (P5) encourage learning and experimentation, (P6) broaden participation, and (P7) promote polycentric governance systems. We briefly define each principle, review how and when it enhances the resilience of ES, and conclude with major research gaps. In practice, the principles often co-occur and are highly interdependent. Key future needs are to better understand these interdependencies and to operationalize and apply the principles in different policy and management contexts.
The study of resilience adds support to an understanding of mental health as comprising two interdependent but crisscrossing dimensions of functioning: disorder (which includes mental illness and impaired abilities) and wellbeing (positive indicators of mental health like self-esteem, efficacy, and optimism)(Keyes, 2002; Reich and Zautra, 1988). A focus on resilience shifts attention from the suppression or treatment of disorder to the processes that enhance wellbeing among populations under stress.
In this paper we draw on the findings of a critical, multi-sited ethnographic study of two rural communities affected by a wildfire in British Columbia, Canada to examine the salience of place, identity, and social capital to the disaster recovery process and community disaster resilience. We argue that a reconfiguration of disaster recovery is required that more meaningfully considers the role of place in the disaster recovery process and opens up the space for a more reflective and intentional consideration of the disorientation and disruption associated with disasters and our organized response to that disorientation. We describe a social-psychological process, reorientation, in which affected individuals and communities navigate the psychological, social and emotional responses to the symbolic and material changes to social and geographic place that result from the fire’s destruction. The reorientation process emphasizes the critical importance of place not only as an orienting framework in recovery but also as the ground upon which social capital and community disaster resilience are built. This approach to understanding and responding to the disorientation of disasters has implications for community psychologists and other service providers engaged in supporting disaster survivors. This includes the need to consider the complex dynamic of contextual and cultural factors that influence the disaster recovery process.
Studies that focus on community-level factors associated with the resilience of youth and families reflect a shift in perspective from community deficits to the potential of communities to facilitate the mobilization of human and physical resources. Physical and social capital (both informal relationships and formal service provision) give communities the potential to recover from dramatic change, sustain their adaptability, and support new growth. This paper reviews key concepts such as these as they relate to how young people access informal supports and formal services that promote resilience. A discussion of the relevant research highlights the way protective processes function when children, youth and families are exposed to catastrophic human-made and natural events. Five principles are suggested to help promote community resilience. Implications for the design and implementation of interventions are discussed with a focus on making informal supports more available and formal services coordinated, continuous, co-located, negotiated, culturally relevant and effective.
More than two decades after E. E. Werner and R. S. Smith (1982), N. Garmezy (1983), and M. Rutter (1987) published their research on protective mechanisms and processes that are most likely to foster resilience, ambiguity continues regarding how to define and operationalize positive development under adversity. This article argues that, because resilience occurs even when risk factors are plentiful, greater emphasis needs to be placed on the role social and physical ecologies play in positive developmental outcomes when individuals encounter significant amounts of stress. Four principles are presented as the basis for an ecological interpretation of the resilience construct: decentrality, complexity, atypicality, and cultural relativity. These 4 principles, and the research upon which they are based, inform a definition of resilience that emphasizes the environmental antecedents of positive growth. This framework can guide future theory development, research, and the design of interventions that promote well‐being among populations who experience environments that inhibit resilience‐promoting processes.
Findings from a 14 site mixed methods study of over 1500 youth globally support four propositions that underlie a more culturally and contextually embedded understanding of resilience: 1) there are global, as well as culturally and contextually specific aspects to young people’s lives that contribute to their resilience; 2) aspects of resilience exert differing amounts of influence on a child’s life depending on the specific culture and context in which resilience is realized; 3) aspects of children’s lives that contribute to resilience are related to one another in patterns that reflect a child’s culture and context; 4) tensions between individuals and their cultures and contexts are resolved in ways that reflect highly specific relationships between aspects of resilience. The implications of this cultural and contextual understanding of resilience to interventions with at-risk populations are discussed.