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Dev Psychopathol. 2011 May;23(2):493-506. doi: 10.1017/S0954579411000198.

Resilience in children threatened by extreme adversity: frameworks for research, practice, and translational synergy.

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  • Institute of Child Development, 51 East River Parkway, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA. amasten@umn.edu


This article delineates parallel frameworks that grew out of the research on risk and resilience over the past four decades, a framework for research and a framework for practice, and then discusses the promise of an emerging synthesis. The research framework defined the meaning, models, and methods that successfully guided four waves of research to date on the nature and processes involved in human resilience. The applied framework emerged in response to urgent needs of children and families faced by adversity and those charged with helping them, resulting in guidelines for translating the unfolding but incomplete research evidence into action. The application of a resilience approach transformed practice in many fields concerned with promoting resilience in people at risk for problems, revolutionizing the mission, models, measures, and methods of practice to align with the emphasis on positive adaptation and strengths defining a resilience-based approach. Yet these interventions rarely translated back to inform and refine resilience theory in ways that would accelerate progress to promote resilience more effectively. The concluding section on translational synergy discusses the potential for a synthesis of basic and applied resilience frameworks as the next steps toward realizing the original objective and promise of resilience science.

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