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Ordinary Magic: Resilience in Development

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From a pioneering researcher, this book synthesises the best current knowledge on resilience in children and adolescents. Ann S Masten explores what allows certain individuals to thrive and adapt despite adverse circumstances, such as poverty, chronic family problems, or exposure to trauma.

Coverage encompasses the neurobiology of resilience as well as the role of major contexts of development: families, schools, and culture. Identifying key protective factors in early childhood and beyond, Masten provides a cogent framework for designing programmes to promote resilience. Complex concepts are carefully defined and illustrated with real-world examples.

*Interest in resilience continues to grow; Masten is one of the pioneers in this field.
*Presents state-of-the-art research on how resilience develops and offers a framework and guidelines to inform practice and policy.
*Compelling examples, including many drawn from non-Western cultures, bring the concepts to life.
*Identifies a fundamental set of adaptive systems that account for children's capacity to thrive and persevere.


I. Introduction and Conceptual Overview
1. Introduction
2. Models of Resilience

II. Studies of Individual Resilience
3. Resilience in a Community Sample: The Project Competence Longitudinal Study
4. Overcoming Disadvantage and Economic Crisis: Homeless Children
5. Mass Trauma and Extreme Adversities: Resilience in War, Terrorism, and Disaster

III. Adaptive Systems in Resilience
6. The Short List and Implicated Protective Systems
7. The Neurobiology of Resilience
8. Resilience in the Context of Families
9. Resilience in the Context of Schools
10. Resilience in the Context of Culture

IV. Moving Forward: Implications for Action and Future Research
11. A Resilience Framework for Action
12. Conclusions and Future Directions

Appendix A. Glossary
Appendix B. Abbreviations
Appendix C. Recommended Readings by Topic



‘‘Resilience is an invaluable concept for our turbulent times. Masten, a highly esteemed developmental psychologist, has been at the forefront of resilience theory and research for decades. In this beautifully crafted volume, she guides readers through the advances in our knowledge of the multilevel processes--the interactions of neurobiological, psychological, family, and sociocultural influences over time--that enable children and adults to survive and grow stronger from serious life challenges. Essential reading for scholars, students, and mental health professionals who strive to understand and promote positive adaptation in traumatic situations and multistress contexts.’‘--Froma Walsh, PhD, Mose and Sylvia Firestone Professor Emerita and Co-Director, Chicago Center for Family Health, University of Chicago

‘‘A truly magnificent book that is very readable, highly informative, and hugely helpful for both understanding resilience and planning how best to foster it. Given that resilience is not a unitary trait, it presents quite a challenge to distill the key points from a complicated literature into straightforward messages, but that is exactly what this book does. It skillfully summarizes the main findings from both qualitative and quantitative research and combines all of that with telling case examples. Essential reading for any researcher or clinician interested in resilience.’‘—Michael Rutter, MD, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, United Kingdom



Ann S. Masten, PhD, is the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development and Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. With over 150 publications, Dr. Masten is an internationally known expert on resilience in human development. She serves as a member of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council of the National Academies and is past president of the Society for Research in Child Development. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and of the Association for Psychological Science, she is a recipient of the Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contributions to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society from the APA.


 Pub 2014 USA  Hbk 370 pages



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