Manual At-Risk Children and Youth: Resiliency Explored

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But how can we engage and capacitate young people so they become leaders and empowered climate agents? This session aims to address this question by providing examples of meaningful engagement of youth in climate change dialogues using arts-based methodologies. Art has the capacity to not only raise awareness but also enable creative ways to address sensitive issues, support reflexivity and act as a conduit for cultural renewal. Artists are often at the forefront of innovation for the novel ways of addressing problems, free from disciplinary constraints.

Arts-based methodologies have the potential to challenge current thinking on climate change, presenting new ways of approaching complex problems and engage youth. Creative ways of integrating the practical, personal and political dimensions of climate change contribute to more successful social transformation and adaptation to climate change. This session, which intersects arts and science, bridges three areas of complementary literature Environmental Education, Visual Arts and Participatory Action Research and links research across Canada, Brazil and Portugal.

This session is directed to researchers, practitioners and policy-makers. It presents and discusses tools and approaches for meaningful engagement of young people in processes of climate change adaptation. Researchers and practitioners interested in arts-based methods, youth engagement and empowerment can gain new insights from the presentation of different case-studies and share their own experiences and address questions of interest in the following interactive discussion.

Each speaker will address the audience as a whole for 5 minutes, when they will introduce themselves and highlight the most relevant aspects of their research key findings. This will allow the audience to choose whatever topic is more appealing to them for more intimate, informal, and in depth conversation with the speakers.

The audience may choose to rotate tables following other speakers. The table sessions will run for 40 minutes. We found no neurobiological research on military children, hence the review of the civilian literature. Special attention is given to recent resilience research, which looks at the neurobiological, behavioral, cognitive, and emotional processes that might underpin resilience.

The chapter concludes with a discussion of evidence-based interventions 1 to promote childhood resilience, highlighting prevention programs whose. In this section, the committee provides an overview of what is known about the specific effects of severe stressors on child development.

Risk and Resilience in Pediatric Chronic Pain: Exploring the Protective Role of Optimism.

Because overall development, and especially brain development, is so rapid and dynamic over the first two decades of life Lenroot and Giedd, , and because a large body of evidence has demonstrated the detrimental impact on later development of stressful early-life experiences, we focus on the impact of stress on childhood and adolescent development.

While we are aware of no research on the ways typical military family life contributes to stress and stress-related outcomes, extensive research on the development of stress regulatory systems can significantly aid in understanding how military-specific stressors affect development among children in service families. While a certain amount of stress is necessary and even optimal for healthy functioning, excessive stress has been shown to impair functioning at multiple levels—epigenetic, biological, physiological, and behavioral—and to increase risk for later pathology.

However, there is significant variability across individuals in how stress is perceived, with temperamental, biological, and social factors affecting both the experiences and the expressions of stress. The effects on children of deployments and related military family transitions, such as extended occupationally related separations and relocations, are more likely mediated through their impact on parents and the caregiving system Meadows et al.

Similarly, increases in the risk. However, the broader child development literature can be informative in this context, in particular the study of how development goes awry, a field known as developmental psychopathology Cicchetti, In general terms, severe stressors affect youth through physiological, biological, genetic, behavioral, affective, and cognitive mechanisms. These stressors can include maltreatment, exposure to a threat of violence or death, or prolonged separation from a primary caregiver at a very young age, among others. Pre-existing risks and vulnerabilities, such as psychopathology, genetic vulnerability, or environmental risks such as poverty, may potentiate the impact of stress and trauma on development, while protective factors, such as effective caregiving, may lessen them.

Diathesis-stress and differential susceptibility hypotheses offer explanations for how individuals differ in their responsiveness to stress. Diathesis-stress models suggest that some youth are more vulnerable than others to their caregiving environments; these youth fare worse in stressful circumstances but fare as well as others in routine, low-risk environments e. The concepts of multifinality and equifinality Cicchetti and Rogosch, also illustrate the complexity of understanding the impact of a particular stressor on youth.

Multifinality refers to the finding that one stressor, such as physical abuse, can have many different negative effects on development. For example, it may contribute to PTSD, anxiety, behavior problems, poor academic functioning, and social challenges, and that not all individuals will experience the same negative outcomes. Equifinality refers to the obverse—that the same single outcome, such as anxiety, social challenges, or poor academic functioning, can be evident following exposure to disparate stressor events, such as prolonged parental separation, relocation, or bullying.

Providing tailored, adaptive, or personalized family-based programs, services, and supports makes it possible to respond to individual differences in risk and vulnerability Collins and Varmus, ; Nahum-Shani and Militello, Chapter 8 provides examples of these adaptive interventions, including just-in-time adaptive interventions JITAIs , that harness the potential of mobile health mHealth or mobile technologies to respond to individual child and family needs and preferences.

What are the main factors needed for resilience to develop?

As discussed above, there is significant variability in what is perceived as stressful and how individuals react to stressful situations, with physical, genetic, developmental, and psychosocial factors affecting these reactions Sapolsky, as well as prior experiences Cicchetti and Walker, The impact of stress varies in regard to timing and duration see Chapter 1 of this report for a discussion of these concepts.

The experience of extreme stress during development likely increases vulnerability to. In a review highlighting the differential effects of stress across development, Lupien and colleagues describe how the effects of both chronic and acute stressors may vary depending on the areas of the brain that are developing at the time of the stress exposure. For example, prenatal stress affects the development of regions of the brain associated with the development of the HPA axis i.

The hippocampus develops from birth to age two; thus, stress during infancy might increase hippocampal vulnerability e. In contrast, the amygdala and frontal cortex continue to develop throughout childhood and adolescence; stress during this time period might then be associated with reductions in amygdala volume.

Adolescents are very vulnerable to the impact of stress, likely because of increases in frontal cortex volume that occur at this stage, as well as protracted glucocorticoid responses that continue into emerging adulthood Lupien et al. Although emerging and early adulthood is not the focus of this chapter, neurobiological development, particularly in the prefrontal cortex, continues into the late 20s and beyond Giedd et al. Impulse control, self-regulation, and the ability to delay gratification all continue to develop throughout adolescence and emerging adulthood, with the capacity to plan and anticipate consequences peaking only by age 25 Giedd et al.

These findings are highly relevant for understanding and effectively serving younger service members and their families. Extensive research on child abuse and neglect has demonstrated how child victims develop ideas of the world as a place that is dangerous and unpredictable, resulting in enhanced appraisals of threat, increasing risk for both anxiety and aggression-related psychopathology Shackman and Pollak, For example, child maltreatment is consistently associated with disruptions in the functioning of the HPA axis Loman et al.

Additionally, a recent study of the effects of child maltreatment found epigenetic changes to the glucocorticoid receptor gene in the whole blood of 56 young adolescents ages 11 to Compared with children who had not been maltreated, those who had been exposed to physical abuse showed greater methylation within the NR3C1 promoter region 2 and the NGFI-A nerve growth factor binding site of the gene.

This increased methylation 3 likely contributes to fewer glucocorticoid receptors in the brain and blood, disrupting the physiology of stress regulation among these youth Romens et al. Youth age 13 whose mothers experienced postnatal depression evidenced higher and more variable levels of morning cortisol than those whose mothers did not experience depression Halligan et al.

Strategies to promote resilience in children

These cortisol differences at age 13 were associated with subsequent depression at age 16 Halligan et al. Children living in poverty show worse psychological and physical outcomes than children in higher-SES environments, partly due to poorer HPA axis regulation Koss and Gunnar, However, attachment status appears to buffer the detrimental impact of poverty: secure but not insecure attachment was associated with lower healthier basal cortisol in a sample of very young children ages 12 to 22 months attending immunization appointments Johnson et al.

Using multiple-method and informant data to examine stress and health outcomes from childhood into adulthood, Farrell and colleagues assessed stress in children using coder-rated interviews at five developmental stages: early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and age They also observed parenting quality at seven time points from birth through age Early childhood, adolescent, and concurrent stress were associated with poorer physical health at age 32, but higher parenting quality measured as maternal sensitivity protected against these relationships Farrell et al.

For example, the impact of prenatal stress on infants is often moderated by the quality of postnatal caregiving Austin et al. Hypocortisolism, 4 a disorder that emerges in response to severe abuse and neglect, has been shown to be reversible with subsequent sensitive and supportive caregiving Flannery et al. Moreover, as noted above, there is significant variability across individuals in how stress is perceived, with temperamental, biological, and social factors affecting experiences of stress. And for military families, the effects of deployments and related military family transitions are mediated through their impact on parents and the caregiving system Creech et al.

Severe stressors e. It should be noted, too, that the vast majority of the parenting literature in this area focuses on mothers, while far less research has been done on fathers and fathering Lamb, Systematic, theory-driven research on resilience among youth has been ongoing since the s. Resilience researchers initially focused on variations in adaptation among children—that is, on how, among children experiencing high-risk conditions in the family and broader environment, some children fared better than their peers.

In several early studies, as many as one-third of youth exposed to early stressors e. Youth who do as well as their low-risk peers, despite their exposure to stressful conditions in the home and the broader environment, are considered resilient. The processes involved in childhood resilience operate across multiple domains both within and beyond the child.

As such, there is no single resiliency trait Masten and Gewirtz, In parallel, then, there is no single measure of child resilience. Rather, measurement of childhood resilient outcomes is best accomplished via multi-dimensional assessments at multiple levels of analysis, using multiple methods e. Measuring resilience in children also requires an understanding of the developmental context. For example, developmental tasks for school-age children include functioning adequately in schools or in academics; functioning well with peers social competence ; and functioning well behaviorally and emotionally.


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Assessing resilience in school-age children, then, would require using reports and objective assessments of functioning, such as test scores and observations of playground behavior, across these domains, preferably based on observations from teachers, parents, children themselves, and even peers. Decades of resilience research has demonstrated that resilience is associated with core promotive and protective processes see Chapter 2 of this volume for definitions ; these processes galvanize positive adaptation across developmental domains.

Masten and Cicchetti , in their comprehensive review of childhood resilience and developmental psychopathology, outline six core correlates of resilience that have emerged. As discussed in earlier chapters, and consistent with the theoretical models outlined in this report, childhood resilience develops in multiple contexts: individual, family, school, and culture.

The primary focus in this chapter is on the key correlates of childhood resilience that are most proximal, that is, those that lie within the child and the family. First and foremost, sensitive, responsive, loving, predictable, and protective parents and caregivers help the development of a secure attachment relationship in infancy and early childhood Bowlby, Throughout childhood and adolescence, effective parents help their children to understand and navigate the world by teaching prosocial skills, providing safety, limits, and routines, monitoring behavior, and helping children make meaning of life Collins et al.

Early relationships with parents and other caregivers provide a template for how the child navigates later relationships with peers, noncaregiving adults such as teachers, and intimate partners Feldman et al.


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  • Caring relationships with nonparental adults also are important for youth e. A secure attachment relationship not only provides a child with an internal working model of healthy relationships, it also provides a secure base from which a child can explore and feel effective in the outside world Bowlby, Neurobiological and genetic research has uncovered the power of the attachment relationship; the hormone oxytocin and the oxytocin receptor gene OXTR , among others, appear to be implicated in the core promotive and protective processes of the parent-child relationship Feldman et al.

    The Youth Resilience Programme: Psychosocial support in and out of school | Resource Centre

    For example, in a longitudinal study of children and parents exposed to ongoing political violence and war, a combination of parenting and genetic risk predicted PTSD symptoms in young children Feldman et al. This is a crucial developmental task that begins to develop in early childhood and continues developing through emerging adulthood Zelazo and Carlson, Children with effective self-regulation are at lower risk for behavioral and emotional problems and are able to be more successful in school because they can follow and comply with teacher directions.

    Executive functioning, a key indicator of self-regulation, predicts both concurrent and future adjustment in children Zelazo et al. Effective self-regulation may be particularly important in high-risk settings Duckworth, ; Masten and Coatsworth, ; Rothbart et al.


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    Mastery-motivation is a third key correlate of resilience Masten et al. Mastery-motivation refers to feelings of mastery as a consequence of successful interactions with the outside environment. For example, in observing young children learning to walk one can see that successfully standing first, and then walking, is highly motivating to a child, reinforcing more practice and ultimately further success.

    In middle childhood, even small successes in school, academics, sports, or social activities motivate a child to further engage in the activity, resulting in yet more success and greater activation of the mastery-motivation system. Feelings of self-efficacy likely drive this positive cycle of practice and success Bandura, Among a sample of military parents, for example, a parenting intervention strengthened both maternal and paternal parenting self-efficacy, leading to subsequent gains in both parent and child positive adjustment Gewirtz et al.

    There is a relative dearth of research on this issue, but the limited available research suggests that feelings of self-efficacy may also drive persistence or perseverance of effort e. Across early to middle childhood, persistence also appears related to sensitive or effective parenting and to self-regulation Chang and Olson, Across multiple studies of high-risk children, cognitive abilities, typically assessed through tests of intelligence quotient IQ or problem-solving capacity, appear to be significantly associated with resilience Luthar et al.

    Cognitive skills also are associated with resources such as socioeconomic status, access to better education and more books at home, and competent parents Masten and Cicchetti, ; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Finally, hopefulness or positive outlook and meaning-making may also be associated with resilience, although less empirical research has been conducted on these two constructs.

    In both observations of resilient children after they have grown up and anecdotal accounts of resilience, hope or a positive perspective is a key theme Maholmes, ; Werner and.