Resilience Theory and Research on Children and Families: Past, Present, and Promise

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Origins and advances in the history of resilience science with children and families are highlighted in this article, with a focus on interconnections and integration. Individual and family resilience scholarship reflect interwoven roots, and there is a growing impetus to integrate knowledge and strategies to inform practice and policies to mitigate risk and promote resilience in systems that shape human adaptation over the life course. Resilience is defined as the capacity of a system to adapt successfully to significant challenges that threaten its function, viability, or development. Research evidence is summarized to illustrate parallels in concepts and findings from studies of child and family resilience, with special emphasis on parenting processes. Integrating models, findings, methods, and training across multiple systems and levels holds great promise for elucidating resilience processes that will inform efforts to build capacity for healthy adaptation in the face of rising threats to families and societies around the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-31
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Family Theory and Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Adaptive systems
  • cascades
  • developmental systems theory
  • family resilience
  • family systems theory
  • pathways

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