This study examined individual, family, and neighborhood predictors of resilience (managing to function well despite childhood abuse and neglect) in adolescence and young adulthood, with attention to changes in resilience over these age-related stages of development.
During adolescence, almost half (48 percent) of 676 documented cases of childhood physical and sexual abuse and neglect were determined to be resilient in adolescence, and nearly one-third were resilient in young adulthood. Over half of those who were resilient in adolescence remained resilient in young adulthood; whereas, 11 percent of the adolescents who were nonresilient were resilient in young adulthood. Females were more likely to be resilient during both developmental periods. Being White and non-Hispanic decreased the likelihood of resilience in adolescence; however, growing up in a stable living situation increased the likelihood of resilience in adolescence, but not in young adulthood. Stressful life events and a supportive partner promoted resilience in young adulthood. Living in a safe and socially cohesive neighborhood did not exert a direct effect on resilience, but moderated the relationship between household stability and resilience in adolescence and between cognitive ability and resilience in young adulthood. Further understanding of resilience and predictors of resilience may help practitioners develop intervention strategies that assist abused and neglected children in developing normative behavioral, social, and cognitive competence. The 676 documented cases of childhood physical and sexual abuse and neglect were in a midwestern county during 1967-71. Data used in the study were from official records, census data, psychiatric assessments, and self-reports obtained through 1995. 4 tables, 1 figure, and 89 references
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