What Makes Some Children Resilient to Disadvantageous Environments?

What makes some children resilient to disadvantageous environments?

Definition of Resilience
The term resilience refers to the concept that there are “qualities which cushion a vulnerable child from the worst effects of adversity, and that these may help them cope, survive and even thrive in the face of great hurt and disadvantage” (Keenan 2006, p238). It is this ability to rise above adverse situations and positively adapt that is of interest to developmental psychology, because without this positive adaptation, the exposure to such adversities have the potential to harm development (Masten 2007).
According to Luthar and Cicchetti (2000), it is due to these two constructs (exposure to adversity and positive adjustment outcomes) that results in resilience being a dynamic and two-dimensional process. Each of these constructs have “specific operational definitions” (p.858). Adversity, or risk, or in the context of this essay, a disadvantageous environment, refers to a negative factor within the child's circumstances which causes them difficulty adjusting. Furthermore, this particular factor can be statistically associated with the child subsequently developing a psychological condition (Luthar and Cicchetti 2000). A number of risk factors have been identified by Rutter (1985), such as: parents who have a psychiatric illness, severe marital problems, low socio-economic status, overcrowded/large family size, criminality of parents, and the child being placed outside of the family environment. However, adversity not only affects the child's resilience whilst the circumstance is occurring, but also afterwards, as it can sometimes strengthen resistance to later stress (Rutter 2006).

Positive adaptation on the other hand, refers to the child's response to the risk factors. For example, demonstrating social competence, which can be defined as “reasonable success with major developmental tasks expected for a person of a given age...in terms of specific domains of...