Resilience and Vulnerability: Adaptation in the Context of Childhood Adversities

By Suniya S. Luthar | Go to book overview

13
Holistic Contextual Perspectives on Risk,
Protection, and Competence among Low-Income
Urban Adolescents

Edward Seidman and Sara Pedersen

What are the characteristic ways in which risk, vulnerability, protection, and competence have been studied? What are the implicit assumptions underlying this body of research and scholarship? This chapter addresses these questions in the domain of adolescent development, with an emphasis on how a set of alternative assumptions and related research and data analytic strategies can both enrich our understanding of youth wellbeing and increase our ability to promote positive developmental outcomes.


RISK, PROTECTION, AND COMPETENCE

We define the central phenomena of interest: risk, vulnerability, protection, and competence. Either an individual or a population can be at increased risk for some form of negative developmental outcome, be it delinquency, drug use, depression, schizophrenia, school dropout, or unemployment. Multiple risk or vulnerability factors increase the likelihood that an individual or a population will manifest negative developmental outcomes. Many studies indicate that it is not any single risk factor that

Work on this chapter was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of
Mental Health (MH43084) and the Carnegie Corporation (B4850) awarded to Edward
Seidman, J. Lawrence Aber, LaRue Allen, and Christina Mitchell. We express our ap-
preciation to the adolescents and schools whose cooperation made this study possible
and to Suniya Luthar, Laura Lambert, Tracey A. Revenson, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa
for their penetrating and constructive comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.
Address correspondence to Edward Seidman, Adolescent Pathways Project, Psychology
Department, New York University, 6 Washington Place, Room 277, New York, NY 10003.
Phone (212) 998–7794, Fax (212) 998–7781, or <edward.seidman@nyu.edu>.

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