Home > Resilient children of parents affected by a dependency.

Health Canada. (2004) Resilient children of parents affected by a dependency. Ottawa: Health Canada.

External website: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/pubs/adp-apd/child-re...

The term “resilience” is borrowed from the physical sciences, where it refers to the ability of a substance to regain its initial state after being subjected to stress. When transposed into the field of human development, resilience refers to a process of adaptation whereby individuals learn to overcome destabilizing effects resulting from traumatic experiences of greater or lesser severity (Masten, 2001). The concept of resilience arises primarily out of the great variability in personal and social adaptation.

The majority of studies dealing with children of alcohol- or drug-dependent parents have focused on adaptation problems and mechanisms of intergenerational transmission. In the 1970s, however, some researchers began to examine successful adaptation in groups of individuals who had been exposed to a variety of risk factors, which generated interest in what was then referred to as “invulnerability”. Since no one is completely invulnerable to stress or immune to experiencing difficulties in life and in view of the fact that the studied phenomenon encompassed both subjects who overcame harmful effects of stress and others who had suffered no harmful effects, Garmezy (1991) determined that it was more appropriate to speak of “resilience”. processes observed in situations which pose a seemingly equal degree of risk.

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