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Resilience, the Art of Living in a Challenging Environment

27 July 2007


Resilience is a common word that is used by many people in everyday conversations, but what does it really mean to be resilient? How do people develop resilience? Within this study, the previous research around resilience is discussed and applied to a sample of 8 adolescents (mean age = 14.88) dealing with HIV in their families. Adolescents' optimism and quality of familial and extra-familial relationships were examined as possible protective factors for adolescents dealing with a family member's illness. Specifically, adolescents' psychological adjustment was assessed in relation to the Assessment of Interpersonal Relationships (AIR; Bracken, 1993), Youth Self Report (YSR; Achenbach and Rescorla 2001) and Youth Life Orientation Test (YLOT; Ey et a1. 2005) measures. While there were no statistically significant findings in this sample, the participants reported lower levels of relationships strength with their mothers and male peers then reported in their relationships with female peers and teachers. These findings varied due to some of the participants' level of educational involvement and/or loss of mothers. Additionally it is believed that the extremely low response rate may have influenced the statistical significance of this investigation. More research is needed with a larger sample of adolescents coping with parental HIV/AIDS. Continued research on resilience is needed to help people develop the ability to cope with challenging situations.


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