Annotated Bibliography


Anthony, E.J., & Cohler, B.J. (Eds.). (1987). The invulnerable child. New York: Guildford Press.

This book is organized into four parts, each contributing to the central issue of resilience and competence. An overview of risk, vulnerability, and resilience constitutes Part I, while four chapters focusing on determinants or predictors of competence and resilience are included in Part II. Seven chapters in Part III focus on resilience, competence, vulnerability, and invulnerability in children at risk. Part IV concludes the book with a discussion of adversity, resilience, and life changes. Related references are included at the end of each chapter. Contributing authors are developmentalists, child clinicians, infant psychologists, risk researchers, psychophysiologists, and psychoanalysts. The editors suggest that the book may be of interest to clinicians, researchers, and theoreticians.

Berry, G.L., & Asamen, J.K. (Eds.). (1989). Black students: Psychosocial issues and academic achievement. Newbury Park, CA: Corwin Press.

This edited volume, which focuses exclusively on African-Americans, includes chapters on (1) social and psychological factors, (2) family and community factors, (3) personal adjustment and programmatic factors in higher education, and (4) psychological interventions and educational leadership. The authors note that traditional social science and educational approaches to studying the academic achievement of African-American students have been narrow in their approach and have focused on a deficit model. The contributors to this volume in the fields of social science, mental health, and education employ a framework of the strengths of African-American learners and the unique social and cultural experiences in which they have developed.

Clark, R.M. (1983). Family life and school achievement: Why poor black children succeed or fail. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

This qualitative study describes those aspects of African-American family life that have an impact on children's school success. The author notes that even within poor urban families differences occur in the quality of family life that families are able to provide. The book describes specific aspects of family organization, interaction, and cohesiveness that contribute to high attainment. In detailed case studies, the author specifies the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors that students must develop if they are to succeed in school. Additionally, the author describes in detail the types of activities, interactional styles, and support systems that are found in the homes of successful students.

Dryfoos, J.G. (1994). Full-service schools: A revolution in health and social services for children, youth, and families. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

This book addresses the need for schools to employ the resources of families, communities, and social service agencies in meeting the academic, social, emotional, and physical needs of students. Chapter 1 presents the challenges and rationale for creating full-service schools. Chapter 2 discusses the historical antecedents to today's full-service schools. Chapters 3-5 highlight existing school-based service programs. Chapter 6 focuses on the evaluation of school-based service programs. Chapter 7 discusses organizational and service delivery issues. Chapter 8 explores funding issues. Chapter 9 is a call to action for educators and community members. The book closes with three appendices: Appendix A provides information about 12 states that are supporting school-based services; Appendix B provides readers with a list of federal sources for funding school-based services; and Appendix C is a glossary of acronyms.

McLaughlin, M.W., Irby, M.A., & Langman, J. (1994). Urban sanctuaries: Neighborhood organizations in the lives and futures of inner-city youth. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

This book examines neighborhood organizations as sources of hope and support in the lives of inner-city youth. The authors explore successful neighborhood organizations and the ways in which they are created and maintained. Chapter 1 contrasts the grim outlook of troubled inner-city youth with those youth who have a sense of hope for the future due to their involvement in neighborhood organizations. In Chapter 2, six youth describe how neighborhood organizations have positively affected their lives. Chapters 3-5 focus on the leaders of neighborhood organizations - what drives them and why they are successful. Chapters 6 and 7 concentrate on the staff members of these local organizations. Chapter 8 discusses the management of volunteer resources. Chapters 9 and 10 explore the ways in which leaders negotiate the external environments of three cities with differing economic, social, and political realities. Chapter 11 concludes the book, again emphasizing the need to foster hope for inner-city youth and to create organizations that support them.

Wang, M.C., & Gordon, E.W. (Eds.). (1994). Educational resilience in inner-city America: Challenges and prospects. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

This book explores the concept of resiliency and the capacity of educational and social organizations to foster resiliency in students. It is organized in three sections. The first section, "Understanding Resilience," explores the concept of resilience as it relates to developmental psychology and inner-city environments. The section concludes with a critical analysis of some prevailing assumptions associated with resilience. The second section, "Research on Resilience: Conceptual and Methodological Considerations," focuses on such concepts as external validity measures of resilience at the individual, family, and city level; risks and resilience in the development of African-American adolescents; and the implications of resiliency research for special education. The concluding section, "Fostering Educational Resilience," joins research and practice to provide suggestions for creating educational environments that foster resiliency.

Chapter in Book

Nettles, S.M., & Pleck, J.H. (1993). Risk, resilience, and development: The multiple ecologies of black adolescents in the United States. In R.J. Haggerty, N. Garmezy, M. Rutter, & L.R. Sherrods (Eds.), Stress, coping and development: Risk and resilience in children. Boston: Cambridge University Press.

This chapter examines protective factors and the process of resilience as it applies to black adolescents. The view is that these factors suggest possibilities for designing interventions that have cost-effective and lasting effects. The chapter begins with an overview of the incidence of health and life compromising outcomes among black youths and the characteristics and mechanisms that serve as risk factors at the individual and community levels. It continues with a discussion of resilience and protection against risk and a review of the research on their relevance to black adolescent populations. The chapter also offers three suggestions for preventing or delaying high-risk behavior and sustaining favorable outcomes of effective intervention. Program designs can incorporate needs assessments that not only evaluate risk, but also identify existing sources or protection (such as relationships with a caring adult or participation in enriching activities) in the adolescent's life. Interventions need to be designed with knowledge of African-American culture, and program designs must incorporate developmental processes. An extensive reference list is included.

Rutter, M. (1977). Protective factors in children's responses to stress and disadvantage. In M.W. Kent & J.E. Rolf (Eds.), Primary prevention of psychopathology. Vol. III: Social competence in children. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England.

In this chapter, based on findings from a series of epidemiological studies of ten-year-olds in London, England, Rutter discusses why and how some children appear invulnerable to stress and adversity. The article focuses on factors or circumstances that provide support and protection for individuals who overcome adversity, survive stress, and rise above disadvantaged situations. It concludes that the evidence is scarce, but when all findings are in the explanation will probably include the patterning of stresses, individual differences caused by both constitutional and experiential factors, compensating experiences outside of the home, the development of self-esteem, the scope and range of available opportunities, an appropriate degree of environmental structure and control, the availability of personal bonds and intimate relationships, and the acquisition of coping skills.

Winfield, L.F., Hawkins, R., & Stringfield, S. (1992). A description of Chapter 1: Schoolwide projects and effects on student achievement in six case study schools (Report No. 32). Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Center for Research on Effective Schooling for Disadvantaged Students.

This technical report describes the implementation of schoolwide project sites following the Hawkins-Stafford amendments (1988), which allowed schools to restructure programs more flexibly to meet student needs. The descriptions of changes made at the school level are consistent with the notion of fostering resilience. Specific activities, e.g., pupil support committees, collaborative teaching, and linkages with community, were established as part of the schoolwide project plan.

Winfield, L.F., & Manning, J. (1992). Changing school culture to accommodate student diversity. In M.E. Dilworth (Ed.), Diversity in teacher education: New expectations. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

This chapter discusses elements needed to change school culture to accommodate diverse student populations. It presents a definition of diversity within the urban context and a review of past attempts to accommodate diversity through federal aid to schools and districts. The resulting impact on school culture is considered in relation to students' access to knowledge and their opportunities to learn. Programs that focus on specific aspects of school culture designed to accommodate diversity also are discussed.

Journal Articles

Beardslee, W.R., & Podorefsky, D. (1988). Resilient adolescents whose parents have serious affective and other psychiatric disorders: Importance of self-understanding and relationships. American Journal of Psychiatry, 145(1), 63-69.

This study focuses on self-understanding as an essential component of resilient individuals who deal successfully with stress. Eighteen Caucasian 16- to 19-year-olds whose parents had major affective disorder often in combination with other serious psychiatric disorders were selected from a larger sample on the basis of their good behavioral functioning as adolescents at initial assessment. The youth were reassessed after one year and again after two years, and 15 of the 18 were still functioning well. The youth exhibited self-understanding, a deep commitment to relationships, and the ability to think and act separately from their parents. A discussion of preventive and clinical intervention is provided.

Braddock, J.H., Royster, D.A., Winfield, L.F., & Hawkins, R. (1991). Bouncing back: Sports and academic resilience among African-American males. Education and Urban Society, 24(1), 113-131.

The authors suggest that academic resilience is closely related to the persistence that is generated through students' athletic investments. This parallel with athletic persistence is seen in the day-to-day activities of coming to practice, stretching and conditioning the body, competing, and starting the process all over again, despite occasional losses. In the same manner that academic resignation occurs in the process of interaction between teachers and students, resilience mechanisms must be employed by both students and their instructors. It is the authors' view that neither academic resilience nor academic resignation emerges at a specific point in time, but emerges over time as opportunities for capturing students' interest and nurturing persistence are cultivated or lost. Using NEL:88 data, the authors sought to determine whether African-American males' participation in athletics was related to their academic resilience as reflected in their attachment to proacademic goals and behaviors. Results indicated that sports participation was positively associated with African-American eighth grade males' aspirations to enroll in academic or college-preparatory programs in high school, to have definite plans to complete high school (interscholastic sports only), and to attend college. The study also revealed that interscholastic and intramural sports participants derive social status, popularity, and a sense of importance among their schoolmates, are less likely to be involved in school-related social misconduct problems, are more likely to look forward to core curriculum classes, and are less likely to be judged by teachers as not giving full effort. The authors suggest that the use of sport as an educational tool to enhance academic resilience and attachment should be expanded and diversified to allow both athletes and nonathletes more opportunities to experience academic benefits associated with sport involvement.

Clark, M.L. (1991). Social identity, peer relations, and academic competence of African American adolescents. Education and Urban Society, 24(1), 41-52.

This article focuses on types of resilient behaviors that lead to school competence in African-American adolescents. Theory and research on social identity, friendship patterns, and other school support systems are presented, with a discussion of the interactive effect of these factors as either protective mechanisms or sources of vulnerability for academic achievement in African-American students. The author suggests that the academic achievement of African-American students depends not only on individual attributes, such as intellectual abilities, aspirations, personal and social identity, and achievement motivation, but also on the social environment of the school and available support networks. African-American students may develop a raceless, bicultural, or diffused identity that may serve as a protective mechanism or a source of vulnerability for academic achievement. African-American students who are resilient have friends and social support networks that serve as protective mechanisms by enhancing self-esteem and buffering stress. The quality of school life - e.g., school organization and school personnel practices - also is discussed. When schools fail to provide adequate support for African-American adolescents, family and peer networks are more heavily used. The article concludes by suggesting ways in which schools can enhance the social identity and social networks of African-American adolescents.

Comer, J.P. (1984). Home-school relationships as they affect the academic success of children. Education and Urban Society, 16(3), 322-337.

The author discusses a prevention and school development model designed by the Yale Child Study Center to address and reduce the negative impact of change, social stratification, conflict, and distrust between home and school. Initiated as a school improvement plan in collaboration with the New Haven School System, the model was established first in two elementary schools with the intention of extending it to all elementary schools, then middle and high schools, within five years. The model had four critical elements, including a representative governance and management body made up of principal, parents, teachers, aides, and support staff; a parent program; a support staff or mental health team program; and a staff and curriculum development program. The program systematically restored the kind of climate that existed between home and school in the pre-World War II period. The presence of parents was most beneficial in improving the climate of the school, reducing behavior problems, and supporting academic achievement motivation. Positive emotional attachment and identification with the school staff took place. The psychological and social gap between home, school, and the larger society was effectively eliminated without doing harm to the attitudes, values, and ways of the social networks of the children. The program allowed children to develop another set of skills if those in the school were different from those in the home and social network. Reduced conflict and increased hope and confidence permitted staff and curriculum development and improved teaching and learning. The article offers policy recommendations for schools of education, politicians and governing bodies, school district practitioners, evaluators, and the general public.

Felner, R.D., Aber, M.S., Primavera, L., & Cauce, A.M. (1985). Adaptation and vulnerability in high-risk adolescents: An examination of environmental mediators. American Journal of Community Psychology, 13(4), 365-379.

This article reports the findings of a study that examined the degree to which adolescents' perceptions of various dimensions of their family and school environment as well as their sources of social support relate to differential levels of personal well-being and academic adjustment. The subjects in the study were 250 students who had completed at least ninth grade from three inner-city public schools in a northeastern city. Two aspects of an adolescent's environment, one in the home and one in the school, were associated consistently with more favorable adaptive outcomes: the level of teacher support that adolescents perceived as present in the school setting and the level of cohesion that they perceived to be present in their family system. Higher levels of affiliation with peers were related to more positive self-concepts, and higher levels of peer support also were related to poorer academic performance. The author suggests that this finding raises caution in considering interventions to reduce the vulnerability of high-risk individuals, in that raising adaptive efforts in one area might adversely affect another.

Garmezy, N. (1991). Resiliency and vulnerability to adverse developmental outcomes associated with poverty. American Behavioral Scientist, 34(4), 416-430.

This conceptual article begins with a broad discussion of youth in poverty and the inconsistency of American ideals of freedom, equity, and democracy. It discusses risk factors associated with disadvantaged children, including low birth rate and low socioeconomic status. Garmezy cites research that suggests that certain characteristics operate as protective factors in stressful life situations. These variables include the modification of stressors brought about by temperament, such as activity level, reflectiveness in meeting new situations, cognitive skills, and positive responsiveness to others. Another core of variables found in families in poverty include warmth, cohesion, and the presence of some caring adult (such as a grandparent) in the absence of responsive parents or in the presence of marked marital discord. A third variable is the presence of a source of external support, as exemplified by a strong maternal substitute or a concerned teacher, or the presence of an institutional structure, such as a caring agency or a church, that fosters ties to a larger community.

Lee, V.E., Winfield, L.F., & Wilson, T.C. (1991). Academic behaviors among high-achieving African-American students. Education and Urban Society, 24(1), 65-86.

This article presents findings from a study of the individual, family, and school factors that influence achievement of high- and low-achieving African-American students. Using the sample of eighth graders from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the study also sought to identify factors specifically related to the schools that high-achieving African-American students are likely to attend and to identify academically related behaviors that these students are likely to exhibit. Results indicate that the characteristics of the schools that students attend as well as the individual actions of students in those schools that relate to their academic performance make substantive contributions in explaining achievement differences between high- and low-achieving African-American eighth grade students. The authors conclude that process variables connected with schooling facilitate resilience among students by increasing self-efficacy as well as opening up opportunities for future success in school.

Nelson-Le Gall, S., & Jones, E. (1991). Classroom help-seeking behaviors of African-American children. Education and Urban Society, 24(1), 27-40.

This article examines the potential for help seeking to be used as an adaptive learning skill in classroom environments. Help seeking is defined as a general problem-solving strategy that allows learners to cope with academic difficulties by keeping themselves actively involved in learning tasks. The authors suggest that effective help-seeking behaviors can serve the dual developmental needs for autonomy and social support in learning and problem-solving situations. Help-seeking behaviors in relation to patterns of African-American child rearing are discussed. Learning occurs in a social context inside and outside of the classroom in everyday experiences of the child and is closely tied to meaningful cultural practices. As such, making use of the social environment is an integral part of the learning process. Educational processes viewed within the African-American child's cultural socialization experiences suggest that mastery-oriented help seeking should be promoted as a learning skill because it allows students to participate more effectively in socially mediated learning experiences that foster achievement. Implications for education are provided.

Parker, G.R., Cowen, E.L., Work, W.C., & Wyman, P.A. (1990). Test correlates of stress resilience among urban school children. Journal of Primary Prevention, 11(1), 19-35.

This article reports findings of a study that is a part of the Rochester Child Resilience Project (RCRP), designed to identify correlates and antecedents of resilient outcomes and then to apply such information in developing and conducting a preventive intervention for young, highly stressed, urban children. Sub-samples of 37 highly stressed children with stress-affected (SA) outcomes and 40 demographically similar children with stress-resilient (SR) outcomes were selected from within a larger sample of fourth to sixth grade urban youngsters. Eleven child personal variables expected to differentiate stress-resilient and stress-affected outcomes were identified. Stress-resilient children judged themselves to be significantly better adjusted and more competent than stress-affected children. They had higher self-esteem, more empathy, and both a more internal and more realistic sense of control. They reported more effective problem-solving skills and more positive coping strategies.

Scott-Jones, D. (1991). Adolescent childbearing: Risk and resilience. Education and Urban Society, 24(1), 53-64.

The developmental process and outcomes of adolescent sexual activity, pregnancy, and childbearing are discussed in this article. The author discusses the role of education in promoting resilience and the relationships among these factors in adolescent childbearing. Findings from a research program on education and schooling and adolescent sexual activity and pregnancy are presented. Education is viewed as an antecedent to sexual activity, as a consequence of adolescent pregnancy, as a mediator of the impact of adolescent pregnancy on adult outcomes, and as a mechanism for the delivery of prevention and intervention programs. The article concludes with suggestions for reducing risks and promoting resilience.

Steinberg, L., Dornbusch, S.M., & Brown, B.B. (1992). Ethnic differences in adolescent achievement: An ecological perspective. American Psychologist, 47(6), 723-729.

This article investigates ethnic differences in school achievement, focusing on the various environmental accounts of these differences. Findings from the first wave of data collected as part of a program of research on a large, multi-ethnic sample of high school students are presented. The research is aimed at understanding how different contexts in youngsters' lives affect their behavior, schooling, and development. The study examines group differences in (1) parenting practices, (2) familial values about education, and (3) youngsters' beliefs about the occupational reward of academic success among Asian-American, Hispanic-American, African-American, and European-American adolescents. The sample was approximately one-third non-European-American, with nearly equal proportions of African-American, Hispanic-American, and Asian-American youngsters from two inner-city schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and San Jose, California; a small, rural Wisconsin school; a semirural California school; and several suburban schools. Findings indicated that European-American youngsters benefit from the combination of authoritative parenting and peer support for achievement, whereas Hispanic youngsters suffer from a combination of parental authoritarianism and low peer support. Among Asian-American students, peer support for academic excellence offsets the negative consequences of authoritarian parenting. Among African-American youngsters, the absence of peer support for achievement undermines the positive influence of authoritative parenting. Students' beliefs about the relationship between education and life success influence their performance and engagement in school. However, it may be students' beliefs about the negative consequences of doing poorly in school, rather than their beliefs about the positive consequences of doing well, that matter. Although African-American and Hispanic-American youth earn lower grades in school than their Asian-American and European-American counterparts, they are just as likely as their peers to believe that doing well in school will benefit them occupationally.

Swanson, D., & Spencer, M.B. (1991). Youth policy, poverty and African Americans: Implications for resilience. Education and Urban Society, 24(1), 148-161.

This article reviews past and existing federal social policies targeted toward change in the poverty status and development of African-American youth. A historical viewpoint is presented from the War on Poverty to present-day issues. Recommendations are made within the four protective processes identified by Rutter for effectively helping adolescents develop into responsible citizens.

Taylor, A.R. (1991). Social competence and the early school transition: Risk and protective factors for African-American children. Education and Urban Society, 24(1), 15-26.

The article begins with a discussion of student entry characteristics associated with risk and resilience. The author suggests that certain student entry characteristics constitute the starting point for the school socialization process. The article discusses the risk or protective factors of the child's entry characteristics and teacher expectations for classroom behavior. Early childhood experiences, parental involvement in early schooling, early peer relationships, and culturally compatible classroom programs are four protective factors considered to promote resilience in African-American youth. These factors serve as facilitators in the child's development of school-relevant social competence necessary for the transition into schooling.

Wilson-Sadberry, K.R., Winfield, L.F., & Royster, D.A. (1991). Resilience and persistence of African-American males in post-secondary enrollment. Education and Urban Society, 24(1), 87-102.

This article discusses the inadequacies in the current paradigm for addressing issues of resilience, persistence, and attainment among African-American youth. The article begins with a discussion of results from an exploratory study that examines the roles of family, schools, peers, and individual student behaviors in postsecondary attainment. The study focuses on African-American males who completed high school and received postsecondary training compared to their counterparts who either did not complete high school or completed high school but received no further education. A model is proposed to examine the contributions of unemployment and fatherhood as mediating factors in postsecondary attainment among African-American males. Family socioeconomic status, father's influence, peers, grades, and postsecondary education plans had positive effects on attainment. Fatherhood and enlistment in the armed services were negative predictors. County unemployment rate was a negative predictor, but was not statistically significant. Young men who had high goals for themselves were much more likely to achieve them. The authors suggest that along with other direct programmatic interventions, the nurturing of belief in self among African-American men is critical to their persistence and resilience.

Winfield, L.F. (1991). Resilience, schooling, and development in African-American youth: A conceptual framework. Education and Urban Society, 24(1), 5-14.

This article introduces a special issue of Education and Urban Society devoted to resilience among African-American youth. The author suggests the need to move beyond simply identifying and categorizing youth as at-risk to the notion of resiliency in youth. This focus directs policy and instruction issues to the identification of protective processes and mechanisms that reduce risk and foster resilience, which may be crossed with critical intervention points appropriate to the development of resilience among African-American youth. Four protective processes, identified by Rutter, are presented as a framework to categorize the knowledge base on schools and communities and the development of resilience. These processes include (1) reduction of exposure to risk, (2) reduction of negative chain reactions that follow exposure to risk, (3) fostering self-esteem and self-efficacy, and (4) opening up opportunities. A brief summary of the articles in the volume is presented.


Bernard, B. (1991). Fostering resiliency in kids: Protective factors in the family, school, and community. Portland, OR: Western Regional Center for Drug-Free Schools and Communities.

This paper presents an overview of the protective factors that research has identified as contributing to the development of resiliency in youth and their implications for building effective prevention programs. Determining the personal and environmental sources of social competence and wellness can enhance efforts to plan prevention interventions focused on creating and enhancing the personal and environmental attributes that serve as the keys to healthy development. Personality and individual outcomes are the result of transactions with the environment. To ensure that all children have the opportunities to build resiliency - to develop social competencies (like caring and responsiveness), problem-solving skills, autonomy, and a sense of purpose and future - links between families and schools and between schools and communities must be made.

Gordon, K. (1992, August 26). Enhancing the resilience of "at-risk" youth: Information for the keepers of inmates to think about. Paper presented at the American Correctional Association's 122nd Annual Conference of Corrections, San Antonio, TX.

This paper presents statistics from a report of the Children's Defense Fund indicating the number of at-risk children in America who are abused or neglected; are wounded or die from guns; are arrested for drug abuse, drinking, or drunken driving; or go to sleep in an adult jail each day. It discusses personal, family, school, and community factors associated with resiliency in youth. Research and theory supporting the important interactions affecting these personal and environmental characteristics on keeping a person resilient also are presented. The author uses literature on resiliency to offer solutions and strategies for preventing adolescent incarceration as food for thought to keepers of inmates struggling for explanations and answers. References are included.
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