Young Adolescents Demonstrating Resilient and Non-Resilient Behaviour: Insights from a Qualitative Study

Year: 2000


Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper summarises the results of a recent qualitative study involving 7 young adolescents (12 - 16 years of age) who were identified as displaying resilient and non-resilient behaviours in school. Interviews were used to explore the lives of the young participants in a variety of settings: school, home, peer group and community. Using Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory as a theoretical framework, our analysis has produced rich and complex accounts of how protective factor and processes interact in the lives of young people to produce resilient o >non-resilient behaviour.

In this paper, we focus on the school's potential for developing resilient behaviour in all students. Clear differences between the ways in which 'resilient' and 'non-resilient' students talked about a range of issues suggest that schools have the capacity to foster resilient behaviour through purposeful, sustained attention to the following: (a) the development of autonomy and self efficacy in all students; (b) strong support for achievement, competence and mastery in a range of traditional and non-traditional areas and (c) recognition and support for the school's role as a social centre as well as a learning centre for young adolescents.