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Lessons in Resilience

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Lessons in Resilience


5 min read
4 take-aways
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What's inside?

Faced with violence and trauma, it takes a village to boost a child’s resilience. 

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  • Analytical
  • Scientific
  • Overview


Childhood trauma can haunt people for a lifetime. Yet some children manage to thrive despite the odds. How to unlock and nurture a child’s inner strengths to overcome adversity is a question that psychologists in the field of resilience research are trying to answer. Writing for Science magazine, Emily Underwood explains how psychologists have started to translate some of their theoretical findings into practice through intervention programs in conflict areas around the world. The article will engage anyone concerned about how to address the impact of conflict and trauma on the next generation.


Psychosocial interventions are cost-effective programs to help children and teens cope with precarious situations.

Hundreds of millions of children live in places where violence is rampant. These children are especially vulnerable to developing mental disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The large number of vulnerable youth makes the provision of specialized psychological care all but impossible.

Aid organizations are experimenting with programs that provide psychosocial support. These interventions seek to boost resilience through educational and recreational activities.

Psychosocial programs aim to improve resilience, yet scientists still can’t agree on a definition of the term.

Starting in the 1970s, developmental psychologists tried to find out why some schoolchildren in the city of Minneapolis managed to thrive despite adverse circumstances. They identified both extrinsic factors, such...

About the Author

Emily Underwood is a contributing correspondent for Science.

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