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Resilience is the ability to learn to live with or in the face of ongoing fear and uncertainty. It can be characterized by words such as the ability to bounce back or handle setbacks. According to Bernard (1995) resilience is the ability to adapt and live a successful and adjusted lives despite of the challenges they may have experienced early on such as abuse, surgery or premature birth.

Some of the factors within a family that can foster and promote resilience include the availability of a strong supportive and sustained relationship with an adult who also acts as a good role model. According to Masten & Reed (2002) children who lack a close bond to a caring and competent adult may struggle to develop resilience because they have to learn it as a first order of business. The advantage of having a relationship with an adult who is affectionate is it creates strong supportive systems for the child. This close relationships within the family can act as buffers for children especially against depressive symptoms that set during adolescence stage.

Another factor that promotes resilience is authoritative parents who are supportive and warm but also set firm rules and expectations of their children. Such parents monitor their children’s behavior and their peers, and communicate their high expectations of their children in various ways. One risk factor that has influence on the resilience of children is low-social economic status and single motherhood. According to Carlson (1995) children of young poor mothers are likely to have behavioral problems, have limited opportunities and are less likely to find employment. This means that such children are less likely to be resilient compared to the peers that are born in more stable families.

Community ecological have a great impact on both risk and protective factors as it relates to resilience. An example is neighborhood crime, in area characterized by violence and crime the resilience of children of children is likely to be very low because of the traumatizing effects of violence on them. As Doll and Lyon(1998) indicated children from tougher neighborhoods have much tougher road towards achieving adult success On the other hand communities that have strong parental structures, friendships and mentorship are likely to have children that can adapt to whatever life throws at them because of the strong support structures that exist in their communities. Thus depending on the communities that one is from and the prevailing circumstances and background has an influence on both risk and protective factors that determine resilience.


Bernard, B. (1995). Fostering resiliency in kids: Protective factors in the family, school and community. San Francisco: Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development.

Carlson, C. (1995). Best practices in working with single-parent and stepfamily systems. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best Practices in School Psychology, Third Edition, (p. 1097-1110). Washington, DC: National Association of School Pscyhologists.

Doll, B., & Lyon, M. A. (1998). Risk and resilience: Implications for the delivery of educational and mental health services in schools. School Psychology Review.

Masten, A. S., & Reed, M. G. (2002). Resilience in development. In S. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), The handbook of positive psychology. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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