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Processes That Contribute to Resilience Among Youth in Foster Care

NCJ Number
221225
Journal
Journal of Adolescence Volume: 30 Issue: 6 Dated: December 2007 Pages: 977-999
Author(s)
Sylvie Drapeau; Marie-Christine Saint-Jacques; Rachel Lepine; Gilles Begin; Martine Bernard
Date Published
December 2007
Annotation
The study examined the processes that contribute to resilience among adolescents in foster care.
Abstract
The results indicate that resilience is not a fixed attribute, but rather a characteristic that can develop over time and be affected by intervention practices. The research determined three types of turning points: action, relation, and reflection. In the action theorem, the turning point was associated with an achievement that gave a sense of accomplishment, often in a field such as art or recreation. However, it was not the field of involvement that was important, but the sense of accomplishment that it created. That feeling became the starting point for the shift; the teenagers realized that he or she could succeed and felt proud in having been chosen from among a group, or from finally being accepted socially. The relation turning point was associated with meeting a new person, or creating a significant positive relationship. The event that triggered a change is the development of a trust relationship with a significant adult. Establishing a trust relationship with an adult combined with the sense of security that grew out of that trust relationship, enabled the teenagers to continue developing. For most of the teenagers, it was their own reflections that marked a turning point towards resilience. The shift was associated with a realization that they were in an impasse, and could no longer carry on without change. They arrived at that turning point with a deep desire for change, and they positioned themselves as actors of that change. Four processes, directly or indirectly linked to the turning point, have also been identified: increase in perceived self-efficacy, distancing oneself from the risks, new opportunities, and the multiplication of benefits. Twelve boys and girls with the average age of 15, identified as resilient, participated in the study. The mean duration of the teenagers’ placement is 7.3 years. Tables, appendix, references