Defining Youth Resilience: a Scoping Review

  • Candice M. ChristmasEmail author
  • Nazilla Khanlou
Original Article


The ways in which youth resilience are understood, defined, and subsequently measured in health policy and practice influence health intervention, prevention, and promotion strategies. A scoping review compiled and synopsized empirical evidence of strength-based approaches to understanding and promoting resilience in youth. Arksey & O’Malley’s (International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 8(1), 19-32, 2005) five-stage framework for scoping reviews was followed to review studies published between 2000 and 2016 from PubMed Central, CINAHL Nursing, Proquest, PsychArticles, and ERIC. Two thousand six hundred five articles were identified: 28 met the selection criteria. Twelve authors developed their own definition of resilience by synthesizing the literature, 11 quoted definitions from other academics, and 5 did not define resilience. None consulted with youth. There is no universally agreed-upon definition. Approaches to youth resilience still tend to be deficit-based, deterministic, and reductionist, focused on individual behaviors and motivations, and outcomes of behavioral problems and pathologies. Research, policy, and program development around youth well-being would benefit by including youth’s voices.


Youth Resilience Well-being Wellness Strength-based Policy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Policy & Equity, School of Health ManagementYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.School of NursingYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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