Unique pathways to resilience across cultures

Michael Ungar, Marion Brown, Linda Liebenberg, Rasha Othman, Wai Man Kwong, Mary Armstrong, Jane Gilgun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

298 Scopus citations


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 nonwestern 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-310
Number of pages24
Issue number166
StatePublished - Jun 2007


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