Unique Pathways to Resilience across Cultures

School of Social Work, Dalhousie University, 6414 Coburg Road, Halifax, North Scotia, Canada B3H 2A7.
Adolescence (Impact Factor: 0.64). 02/2007; 42(166):287-310.
Source: PubMed


An international mixed methods study of resilience of 14 sites in eleven countries identified seven tensions that youth resolve in culturally specific ways. Resolution of these tensions is foundational to experiences of resilience. This paper reports on the qualitative findings from interviews with 89 youth. Results support a culturally embedded understanding of positive youth development that better accounts for young people's resilience in western and non-western countries. Specifically, the seven tensions identified include: access to material resources, relationships, identity, cohesion, power and control, social justice, and cultural adherence. Findings show that no one pattern in the resolution of these tensions predicts resilience better than another. A case study of a Palestinian boy demonstrates the intersection of the seven tensions and the uniqueness of their resolution. The implications of this work for interventions is discussed.

Download full-text


Available from: Linda Liebenberg, Nov 19, 2015
  • Source
    • "We analysed the empirical data of the cases deductively using the seven, commonly recurring mechanisms of resilience documented by Ungar (2015). These seven mechanisms are based on a comparative 11-country study of youths' resilience processes (Ungar et al., 2007). This study showed that, across diverse contexts, the same processes typically inform positive outcomes for young people challenged by life in risk-filled communities. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article presents a comparative case study on the ways in which children’s school ecologies facilitate their adjusting positively to first grade in risk-filled contexts in South Africa and Finland. The insights of two children (one South African, one Finnish) from socio-economically disadvantaged communities, their teachers, parents and significant others constitute the data corpus of this study. The data were collected via semi-structured interviews, ‘Day-in-the-Life’ video-recorded observations, and Draw-and-talk and photo elicitation methods. The data were analysed deductively using the seven, commonly recurring mechanisms of resilience as documented by Ungar (2015). The results demonstrate how resilience processes are co-constructed and gain their meaning within the given social ecology of a child. They underscore the importance of school ecologies being functional enough, in the face of socio-economic adversity, to continue to facilitate everyday resilience-supporting processes for children. The article ends by considering the lessons of this study for school psychologists.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · School Psychology International
  • Source
    • "In this way, studies on positive youth development overlap with studies on youth resilience, the process by which young people overcome adversities. The work of Ungar et al. (2007) and Ungar and Liebenberg (2011) considers resilience as a result of the strengths and resources available to youth individually, within their family, community, and culture. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study investigates the perceived internal and external assets of indigenous youth and assesses how different protective variables relate to gender, age, and community size. A cross-sectional design captured self-report, protective-factor data from pre-adolescent and adolescent youth living in a rural region of Alaska in 2010. The convenient sample included youth aged 10–20 who were recruited by their peers in their small, rural communities. The 50-item survey utilized a 4-point Likert scale to measure the following concepts: responsibility, peers and family relations, community engagement, and importance of and participation in traditional culture. Data analysis included descriptive statistics (means, standard deviations, and correlations), Chi-squared test, and factor analysis. The 355 surveys were balanced for gender, age, and residence. Factor analysis produced six factors: internal assets, family, community, peer, culture, and moral responsibility (KMO = 0.903; χ2 (496) = 4226.575, p = 0.000). Youth surveys emphasized protective factors, with negative responses only pertaining to community engagement. Youth valued their traditional culture, but a large portion did not have regular access to participating in cultural activities. Females and younger participants reported more extensive support and sense of self determinism than male and older participants.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Youth Studies
    • "Similarly, an 11-country (Canada, the United States, China, India, Israel, Palestine, Russia, Gambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Colombia) study of the positive adjustment of at-risk young people indicated seven, interacting youth↔ecology mechanisms common to the resilience of majority-and minority-world youth (Ungar et al., 2007). These were comprised of constructive relationships, a powerful identity, access to material resources, a sense of social and/or spiritual cohesion, experiences of control and efficacy, adherence to cultural norms and beliefs, and social justice. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Extant theories of resilience, or the process of adjusting well to adversity, privilege the voices of minority-world young people. Consequently, the resilience of marginalized, majority-world youth is imperfectly understood, and majority-world social ecologies struggle to facilitate resilience in ways that respect the insights of majority-world youth and their cultural and contextual positioning. Accordingly, this article makes audible, as it were, the voices of 181 rural, Black, South African adolescents with the purpose of explicating which resilience-supporting processes characterize their positive adjustment to disadvantaged life-worlds, and how contextual and cultural realities shape such processes. Deductive and inductive analyses of a narrative and visual data set, generated in the qualitative phase of an explanatory mixed-methods study, revealed that universally occurring resilience-supporting mechanisms inform positive adjustment. Importantly, which mechanisms these youth prioritized, and the form these mechanisms take, are shaped by contextual realities of absent men and commonplace suffering, and a cultural reality of strong women, human and spiritual care, and valorization of education. Attention to these adolescents’ voices not only prompts specific, culturally and contextually relevant leverage points for resilience but also reinforces the importance of attending to young people’s preferred pathways of resilience in order to understand and champion resilience in socially just ways.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Adolescent Research
Show more