Defining Youth Resilience: a Scoping Review
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.
KeywordsYouth Resilience Well-being Wellness Strength-based Policy
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Bethea, J., & Robsinson, U. (2007). Project ReConnect: Fostering resilience within disconnected youths. Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research, 3, 5–22.Google Scholar
- Copeland, W., Shanahan, L., Costello, E. J., & Angold, A. (2011). Cumulative prevalence of psychiatric disorders by young adulthood: A prospective cohort analysis from the Great Smoky Mountains Study. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 50(3), 252–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Daudt, H. M., Van Mossel, C., & Scott, S. J. (2013). Enhancing the scoping study methodology: A large, inter-professional team’s experience with Arksey and O’Malley’s framework. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 13(1), sourced December 13, 2016 from https://bmcmedresmethodol.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/1471-2288-13-48.
- Evans, M. E., Bruns, E. J., Armstrong, M. I., Hodges, S., Hernandez, M., Evans, M. E., et al. (2016). New frontiers in building mental, emotional and behavioral health in children and youth: Introduction to the special section. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86(2), 103–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fine, M., Stoudt, B., Fox, M., & Santos, M. (2010). The uneven distribution of social suffering: Documenting the social health consequences of neo-liberal social policy on marginalized youth. The European Health Psychologist, 12(3), 30–35.Google Scholar
- Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed (pp. 7–183). New York: Bloomsbury Publishing Inc..Google Scholar
- Gaetz, S., O'Grady, B., & Buccieri, K. (2013). Youth homelessness in Canada: Implications for policy and practice. Toronto: Canadian Homelessness Research Network. Retrieved from https://www.ebrary.com.
- Garakani, T. (2014). Young people have a lot to say ... with trust, time, and tools: The voices of Inuit youth in Nunavik. Canadian Journal of Education, 37(1), 233–257.Google Scholar
- Harvey, D. (1990). The condition of postmodernity: An enquiry into the conditions of cultural change. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Lee, T. Y., Cheung, K., & Kwong, W. M. (2012). Resilience as a positive youth development construct: A conceptual review. The Scientific World Journal, 2012(ID 390450), 1–9.Google Scholar
- Luxton, M. (2005). Feminist perspectives on social inclusion and children’s well-being. Social inclusion: Canadian perspectives (pp. 82–103). Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.Google Scholar
- Nicoll, W. G. (2014). Developing transformative schools: A resilience-focused paradigm for education. International Journal of Emotional Education, 6(1), 47–65.Google Scholar
- Shek, D. T. L., Sun, C. F., & Merrick, J. (2012). Positive youth development constructs: Conceptual review and application. The Scientific World Journal, 2012(ID 152923), 1–3.Google Scholar
- Stumblingbear-Riddle, G., & Romans, J. S. C. (2012). Resilience among urban American Indian adolescents: Exploration into the role of culture, self-esteem, subjective well-being, and social support. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research: The Journal of the National Center, 19(2), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Thomas, A., Cairney, S., Gunthorpe, W., Paradies, Y., & Sayers, S. (2010). Strong souls: Development and validation of a culturally appropriate tool for assessment of social and emotional well-being in indigenous youth. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 44(1), 40–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ungar, M., Brown, M., Liebenberg, L., Othman, R., Kwong, W., Armstrong, M., et al. (2008a). Unique pathways to resilience across cultures. Youth Studies Australia, 27(2), 63–64.Google Scholar
- Williams-Boyd, P. (2010). Breaking bonds, actualizing possibility: Schools as community hubs of social justice. Forum on Public Policy Online, 2010(4), 1–22.Google Scholar
- World Health Organization (2016). Mental health: Strengthening our response. Sourced December 4, 2016 from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs220/en/.