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Resilience Powered By Docstoc
Protective factors within the person
   supported by the community
Bonnie Benard

• “For over 20 years, Bonnie Benard
  has helped children and youth live
  healthier, drug-free lives. She
  develops resources, provides
  training and professional
  development, and presents to
  national and international
  audiences best practices in the
  field of prevention and
  resilience/youth development
  theory and policy.”
“Fostering Resiliency in Kids

• Protective factors in the Family, School,
  and Community.”
• Available from:
• National Resilience Resource Center
• University of Minnesota
History of prevention

•   Traditionally look for risk factors.
•   Alcoholism:
•   Genetics
•   Personality (impulsive, risk-taking)
•   Social settings (family and friends)
•   Predict who will be affected.
Biological factors

•   Biological susceptibility
•   Genetic evidence
•    Family history
•   Children of alcoholics (COA)
•   If father alcoholic,
•   25% sons affected
•   General population rate of 5-10%
Positive View

            • Pathological (negative) view
              states that 25% affected.
            • Positive view wants to know
              about the other 75%.
            • More likely to be resilient.
            • Look for protective factors.
            • What lowers the risk?
            • Use as prevention strategy.
Humanistic View

• “Human personality is
  viewed as a self-righting
  mechanism that is
  engaged in active,
  ongoing adaptation to
  the environment.”
-Urie Bronfenbrenner
Category of Protective factors

• 1) Individual personality attributes
• 2) Family characteristics
• 3) Environmental influences (peers, school
  and community)
Profile of the Resilient Child

•   1)   Social competence
•   2)   Problem-solving skills
•   3)   Autonomy
•   4)   Sense of purpose and future
Social Competence

            • “Resilient children are
              considerably more
              responsive (and elicit
              more positive responses
              from others), more
              active, and more flexible
              and adaptable.”
            • Bonnie Benard
Comic relief

• More likely to have a good sense of humor.
• Alternative ways of looking at things.
• Ability to laugh at themselves and
  ridiculous situations.
• Humor as transcendent strength.
• Cleaning up the mess at Micky D’s.
Problem solving skills

• Ability to think abstractly and flexibly.
• Rutter study of abused and neglected girls
  in British slums.
• Good planning skills led to good marriages.
• Didn’t repeat the cycle of abuse.
• Street kids have to negotiate the demands of
  their world to survive.

•   Sense of one’s own identity.
•   Ability to act independently.
•   Exert control over one’s environment.
•   “Stand away” from sick parent.
•   Adaptive distancing from alcoholic parent.
•   Know they are not the cause of illness.
Sense of purpose and future

• Healthy expectancies, achievement
  motivation, persistence, hope.
• Strongest predictor of positive outcome.
• Education aspirations better predictor than
  academic achievement.
• Children of alcoholics pin success on sense
  of the future.
Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention

• Marian Edelman of Children’s
  Defense Fund:
• “A bright future is the best
• Responsibility for their ability to
  influence the future.
• Antidote for learned helplessness.
Children develop in social setting.

• Social competence
  based on interactions
  with other people.
• Care giving also a
  powerful predictor of
• Look next at
  protective factors
  within the family.
1. Families: Caring and Support

• Most resilient children
  can identify one adult
  who provided them
  stable care and gave
  appropriate attention.
• Early years important.
Erik Erickson (1902-1994)

• Stage of psychosocial
• Birth to 18 months:
• Trust vs mistrust.
• The infant must form a first
  loving, trusting relationship
  with the caregiver, or
  develop a sense of mistrust.
Powerful predictor

              • Care giving during the
                first year of a child’s life
                is the most powerful
                predictor of resiliency in
              • Constant feedback from a
                few adults early in life,
                not necessarily the
Resilience in troubled families

• Michael Rutter (1979) in UK.
• Children with supportive
  parent: 25% had conduct
• Children without: 75% had
  conduct disorder.
• Aggressive behavior, bullying,
  cruel behavior toward people
  and pets, destructive behavior,
  lying, truancy, vandalism and
2. Families: High Expectations

        • Parental attitudes can help offset
          impoverished environment.
        • Parents support maturity, common
          sense, learning and well-being in
          children of Miami housing projects
          (Mills, 1990).
        • Encourage moral development.
        • Family rules that maintain order.
Faith practices

• Religious beliefs and practices
  promoted resiliency.
• Provide stability and meaning in
  times of adversity.
• Things will work out in the end.
• Child survivors of the Nazi
  Holocaust: faith gave sense of
  hope. Learn to love and show
  compassion even in terrible
  situation (Moskovitz, 1983).
3. Families: Encourage Children’s Participation

           • Opportunities for children to
             contribute in meaningful ways.
           • Chores, care of siblings, part time
             work to help family.
           • Productive roles of responsibility.
           • Family acknowledges contribution.
           • Child has important role in family.
           • Supports social competence,
             problem solving, autonomy.
Families and communities

• Families exist within communities.
• Communities have important role to play in
  supporting families.
• Power of school to influence the outcome of
  children from high-risk environments.
• Protective factors within the school.
Protective factors within schools

• Researchers have found parallels with
  factors found in the family.
• Caring and support
• High expectations
• Youth participation and involvement
Schools: Caring and support

• Fewer studies exploring the role of teachers.
• Not just a instructor but a confidant and role
  model for personal identification.
• Children of concentration camps sent to
  therapeutic nursery schools in England.
• All resilient children “considered one woman to
  be the most potent influence in their lives. The
  nursery school teacher who provided warmth
  and caring and taught them to behave
  compassionately (Moskovitz, 1983).”
Peer and friends

• Often overlooked role in
  school and community
• Positive peer pressure
  and support.
• Particularly effective in
  reducing drug and
  alcohol use.
• High risk behavior.
Schools: High expectations

• In studies on resiliency, successful schools
  had an academic emphasis
• Challenging curriculum
• Clear expectations from teachers
• High level of student participation
• Many, varied alternative resources:
• Library, voc ed, art and music
Negative power of labels

• “Children of alcoholics”
• May get special services.
• Also negative consequences
  of labeling.
• Create powerful expectations.
• Low expectations internalized
  by child.
Schools: Participation

         • Resiliency enhanced by student
           involvement in activities.
         • Students given responsibility and
           react accordingly.
         • Participate in organized activities.
         • Sports, music, clubs.
         • Take leadership roles.
         • Activities that they value and take
           and active role in running.

• “When one has no stake in the way
  things are, when one’s needs or opinions
  are provided no forum, when one sees
  oneself as the object of unilateral actions,
  it takes no particular wisdom to suggest
  that one would rather be elsewhere
  (Seymour Sarason, 1990).”
• Psychologist, expert in education reform.
Protective factors within the community

• Children socialized in family and school.
• Community also important.
• Profound influence on the “lives” of
  families and schools.
• Capacity of community to build resilience is
  called community competence.
Social Cohesiveness

• Competent community
  depends on the
  availability of social
• Provide links within the
• Networks on campus,
  extended family, musical
  groups, friends.
Access to community resources

• Resources necessary to healthy human
• Health care, childcare, housing, education,
  job training, employment and recreation.
• Guard against risk factors of social isolation
  and poverty.
• Build social bonds that link individuals and
  organizations to resources.
Cultural norms

• Expectations of community.
• Community expectations of youth: resource
  or source of problems?
• Youth must view themselves as
  stakeholders in the community.
• Actively involved in organizations and
• Society set guidelines for youth.
Alcoholism is low in cultures where

• Children learn alcohol is a
• Served in dilute forms.
• Abstain okay.
• Parents model moderate
• Getting drunk not seen as
• Everyone knows ground
Alcoholism is higher in cultures where

• No ground rules.
• Mixed messages from different individuals
  and groups.
     Getting drunk okay? Funny?
• Heavy drinking is encouraged.
• Drinking a sign of masculinity or adulthood.
Media images of alcohol

• Ireland has highest
  heavy drinking rates in
• Youth bombarded
  with alcohol ads.
• Have begun to restrict
• Change the culture.
Community Participation

• Cross-cultural studies have shown that
  “youth participation in socially and/or
  economically useful tasks is associated with
  heightened self-esteem, enhanced moral
  development, increased political activism
  and the ability to create and maintain
  complex social relationships (Kurth-Schai,
Full participation needed

• “Society needs the full
  participation and
  creativity of youth to
  address the social and
  environmental problems
  of the present and
Effective prevention

           • Reinforces the “natural social
             bonds between young and old,
             between siblings, between
             friends that give meaning to
             one’s life and a reason for
             commitment and caring.
           • To neglect these bonds is to risk
             the survival of a culture (Werner
             and Smith, 1982)”.

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