How Are We Measuring Resilience Following Childhood Maltreatment? Is the Research Adequate and Consistent? What is the Impact on Research, Practice, and Policy?


The authors review the literature on resilience following childhood maltreatment and describe how variation in the measurement of outcomes at various developmental stages affects research findings, practice implications, and policy recommendations. Although the 21 studies reviewed considered competent functioning in similar domains as evidence of resilience following maltreatment, few provided prevalence estimates for specific indicators or across domains of functioning. Using the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), the authors explored different ways of operationalizing resilience. The number of children demonstrating competence following maltreatment varied greatly by the indicators used; furthermore, competence in one domain (behavioral, emotional, or educational) did not guarantee competence in another. About one in five children were functioning poorly in all three domains. Because findings vary according to the operational definition of resilience, researchers must use caution in conceptualizing their analytic variables and interpreting findings. Furthermore, given the lack of cross-domain competence, services to maltreated children and their families should be comprehensive.



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Trauma, Violence, and Abuse


Sage Publications

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