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Poly-victimization & Resilience Portfolios: Advancing the Science of Resilience Following Children's Exposure to Violence

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2018
25 pages
This is the summary report of the findings and methodology of a study that used a mixed-methods approach to expand knowledge of the constructs important for resilience in children after their exposure to violence, as well as to identify protective factors in prevention and intervention.

Resilience constructs were identified through eight focus groups and 24 interviews with parents and youth, which were followed by a survey that was completed by 440 youth ages 10-21 (average age 16.38), who were recruited from youth-serving organizations. Almost 9 in 10 (89.3 percent) of the youth reported at least one violent victimization. Hierarchical regressions indicated that purpose, relational motivation, recovering positive affect, teacher engagement, and school climate were associated with higher subjective well-being after controlling for victimization, other adversities, and demographics. Purpose and relational motivation were associated with fewer trauma symptoms, and mattering, future orientation, recovering positive affect, and social support received were associated with higher family well-being. A sense of purpose and the recovery of positive affect also contributed to better health-related quality of life. The variance explained by protective factors was greater than the variance explained by adversities and demographics. Overall, the findings indicate that programs with the objective of reducing the impact of children's exposure to violence and other adversity should assist the affected child in developing a sense of purpose in their thoughts and activities as well as the expression of their positive attributes, rather than focusing on alleviating symptoms of their victimization. 4 tables, 2 figures, 18 references, and a list of the project's scholarly products

Date Published: December 1, 2018