Beyond coping: The role of supportive relationships and meaning making in youth well-being

Wendy S. Looman, Elena Geiger-Simpson, Donna J. Eull, Jiwoo Lee, Paula V. Nersesian, Adrianna N Bell, Angela L. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to identify coping strategies, resources, and strengths that predict well-being in a community-based sample of youth with varying levels of adversity. Design: Grounded in the resilience portfolio model, we used a mixed methods approach with data from a cross-sectional sample of 231 youth ages 8–17. Materials and Methods: Data were collected using a survey, participant-generated timeline activity, and brief interview. Measures included assessments of coping and appraisal, resilience resources and assets, and subjective well-being and depression. Results: Active and passive coping strategies predicted subjective well-being and depression. Controlling for demographics and coping, meaning making strengths and supportive relationships were significant predictors of subjective well-being and lower depression, and decreased the impact of adversity on these outcomes. Discussion: The results of this study provide support for the resilience portfolio model in a community-based sample of youth, with relationships as predicted for subjective well-being and symptoms of depression. For both outcomes, family relationships held the strongest associations with positive well-being and lower symptoms of depression. Supportive relationships with peers, meaning making strengths, interpersonal strengths, less passive coping, and fewer adverse life events were also associated with better outcomes. Conclusions: These findings underscore the need to assess youth resources and strengths and to design interventions that target these protective factors for all youth, regardless of exposure to adversity. Clinical Relevance: A theory-informed understanding of resources and strengths that predict youth well-being is essential to inform strengths-based interventions for pediatric research and practice. The resilience portfolio model is a useful framework for understanding predictors of youth well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1189-1203
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded in part by the University of Minnesota School of Nursing Foundation and the School of Nursing Office of Nursing Research and Scholarship. The authors acknowledge Ellen Demerath, Logan Spector, Annie Hotop, and the UMN D2D Research Mechanism, and the contributions of Denise Blankenship and the student volunteers for the Tip Top Kids study. The title of this manuscript was inspired by a suggestion by ChatGPT ( ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Nursing Scholarship published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Sigma Theta Tau International.


  • adolescence
  • child health
  • community health
  • mental health
  • social environment

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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