Resilience: A Dynamic Perspective

  • Freitas A
  • Downey G
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Identifying characteristics that distinguish youth who achieve adaptive outcomes in the face of adversity from those who do not has furthered our understanding of developmental psychopathology. However, accumulating evidence indicates that particular characteristics rarely serve exclusively risk or protective functions, that individuals who seem resilient on one index often do not seem so on other indices, and that individuals often are not equally resilient across contexts. These ?ndings call for a dynamic conceptualisation of resiliency that can account for why the ways children cope with stressors vary across domain, development, and context. We organise resiliency research into a framework based on a recently proposed dynamic conceptualisation of personality (Mischel & Shoda, 1995). This framework assumes that understanding why some children show resilience in the face of adversity whereas others show dif?culties requires identifying: (a) the content of and relational structure among relevant psychological mediators such as competencies, expectancies, values, and goals; and (b) the relation between these psychological mediators and relevant features of the environment. To illustrate the potential of this approach to further our understanding of resiliency, we examine and reconsider the link between IQ and conduct problems.

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  • Antonio L. Freitas

  • Geraldine Downey

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