Resilience studies with young children

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A systematic literature review was performed. The search was done through five elec-tronic databases (ERIC, Web of Science, Science Direct, Wiley Online Library and Google Scholar) and conducted during the spring semester of 2016

 Inclusion and exclusion criteria

During the research process, inclusion and exclusion criteria were taken into account. On one hand, inclusion criteria were articles or very specific book chapters being pub-lished since 1994 until nowadays, peer-reviewed and written in English or Spanish. In addition, availability of full text was also needed. Studies focused on the assessment of resilience or intervention studies related to resilience in young children aged 12 or be-low, being specific about resilience, including the definition of resilience and the term “resilience” in the title were also inclusion criteria. On the other hand, exclusion criteria were not being specific book chapters, articles or book chapters published before 1994, not peer-reviewed and written in a different language other than English or Spanish. In addition, absence of full text, studies other than those focused on the assessment of re-silience or intervention studies, studies concerning resilience in young children above 12 years old were also excluded. Furthermore, studies that reported too general facts about resilience, absence of definition of resilience and absence of the term “resilience” in the title or in the abstract were excluded as well

Search words

All the search words used during the research process will be explained in the descrip-tion of the data extraction for each database in the following section

Data extraction: databases

Google scholar

Google scholar was used in order to have a different database from the ones that can be found in Primo (Jönköping University Library) and in order to have at least one data-base from a different source. In this database the concept (Resilience) AND (Children) AND (Intervention) AND (School) were used together to do the search. It was an ad-vanced search, where the dates of publication were restricted between 1994 and 2016, and the words should appear in the title. Ten articles were found for abstract/title screening. According to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 5 articles were included for full text review and 2 of them were finally included in the study.
Primo: Jönköping University Library
As a general search the concepts (Resilience child*) were used. 5415 results were found with filters of being published between 1994 and 2016, and being written in English. Using the topic young children 1.097 articles came up, 59 with the search words “young children preschool” and 21 with “young children special needs”. After realizing that this kind of search was too general, the articles were search by entering the different webpages of the following databases (flow chart can be found in appendix, 7.1).
ERIC/ Academic Search Elite/EBSCO
In this database a first wide “thesaurus search” was done using the search words: DE? « Resilience (Psychology) » where 1.359 results came up. Thereafter, limiters were used such as “peer-reviewed” (1.057 results), “intervention, risk, academic achievement, at risk persons, well-being, children, student attitudes, behaviour problems, self- concept, parent child relationship, self-esteem, at risk students, adjustment, teacher attitudes, program effectiveness and child development” (802 results) and finally “full text avail-able” limiter (331 results). After realizing there were many results, a second search was done using “thesaurus search” and by changing some criteria. Eight articles were found using the search words (DE « Resilience (Psychology) » OR DE « At Risk Students ») AND (DE « Resilience (Psychology) » OR DE « At Risk Students » OR DE « Self Esteem » OR DE « Student Attitudes » OR DE « Student Characteristics »), using limiters as “full text” and “peer-reviewed” and subjects as “resilience (psychology)” , “intervention” and “children” for abstract/title screening. A second “advanced search” was done using two different combinations of search-words. The first was (Resilience training) AND (Child*), where 3 articles were found for abstract/title screening. The second combina-tion of words used was (Resilience in children) AND (Intervention) AND (School), where 33 articles were found for abstract/title screening. According to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, just 1 article was included for full text review but it was not finally included in the study.
Web of Science
In this database the first search was done using the words (Resilience) AND (Child-hood), but there were 1331 results, so the search was reduced using the search words (Resilience) AND (children) AND (childhood) AND (intervention), which led to 294 re-sults; The exclusion criteria were used to obtain more concrete results. Being an article came up with 251 and being written in English or Spanish came up with 239, while when the availability of full text was checked 21 results were found. Finally, when cat-egories such as (Psychiatry OR primary health care OR Paediatrics OR Education scien-tific disciplines OR Multidisciplinary Sciences OR Psychology Multidisciplinary OR Education Educational Research OR Psychology) were applied, a final result of 17 arti-cles for abstract/title screening was included. According to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 12 articles were included for full text review and 2 of them were finally includ-ed in the study.
Science direct
In this database a search with the words (Resilience) AND (Children) was done with the entries of “Psychology” and “Social Sciences”. The articles should were between 1994 and 2016, from journals and with open access. With these criteria, 35 results came up, being all selected for abstract/title screening. Later, the search was changed using the terms (Resilience) AND (Intervention) using the same conditions as the previous search, having 13 articles as a result for abstract/title screening. According to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 8 articles were included for full text review and 3 of them were finally included in the study.
Wiley Online Library
In this database the search was done browsing by subjects. The first subject searched was “Social and behavioural sciences” where the topics “family and child studies” and “education” were found. The second subject was “Psychology” where the topics “Edu-cational” and “school psychology” were found. The terms (Resilience) AND (children) AND (childhood) AND (school) AND (intervention) were used, obtaining a total of 33 articles for abstract/title screening. According to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 5 articles were included for full text review and 2 of them were finally included for the study

Data analysis

Articles were analysed using a data extraction tool (protocol). Information about the ar-ticles’ main characteristics as title, year of publication, language, kind of study, journal, country, aim, research questions and target group was registered filling in the protocol. The second part of the protocol was more focused on details of the article, such as if it described an intervention, the intervention’s aim, the way in which resilience was ex-plained and understood (definition, concept focus, term in title and kind), the methodol-ogy and tools/instruments used, participants, outcomes and risk/protective factors. Once all the articles found were analysed with the protocol, some of them were excluded be-cause they did not follow the inclusion/exclusion criteria, remaining with a total of 14 articles to analyse in this study



Overview of studies

The flow of studies through the literature review process is described in the flowchart that can be found in Appendix 1. After the search, 14 studies about resilience aimed at children between 0 and 12 years old were found. Eight out of the fourteen were studies that evaluated the degree of resilience in young children (Lee et al., 2010; Gilmore et al., 2013; Bowen 2015; Nearchou, Stogiannidou, & Kiosseoglou, 2014; Massad et al., 2009; Morrison, Robertson, & Harding, 1998; Olowokere & Okanlawon, 2014) while seven were aimed at developing resilience with specially designed intervention programmes (Dryden et al., 1998; Watson et al., 2014; Pat-Horenczyk et al., 2015; Nabors, Baker-Phibbs & Woodson, 2016; Folostina et al. 2015; Lynch, Geller, & Schmidt, 2004). Just one out of the 14 studies was aimed at evaluating and developing resilience (Noether et al., 2007). The majority of studies concerned resilience among children be-tween 5 and 12, but three of them were focusing on preschool children, aged from 0 to 6 years old. All the articles were written in English and were peer-reviewed

Definition of resilience

All the studies were focused on children’s resilience (only one also focused on family resilience and one on teacher’s resilience) which was the primary concept of focus for all the articles. Eleven of the fourteen studies had the term “resilience” in their title, three just had it in the abstract, and the definition of the term was among the content of all the studies. The term was defined by the authors in seven of the studies, while in eleven of them another author’s definition was used (see appendix, table 1 and 2). Ac-cording to the Oxford dictionary (Dictionary, 2004), ability is defined as the possession of the means or skills to do something, while process is defined as a natural series of changes or a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. Follow-ing these definitions, three different types of definitions were found: those focused on “ability”, for instance the definition by Noether et al. (2007) « not solely the absence of serious problems or pathology but also a child’s competence in the face of severe stressors » (p. 825) ; those focusing on “process”, as the one by Lee et al. (2010), “The processes whereby some young people are able to achieve positive development despite exposure to acute and chronic adversities” (p.438); and some which were focusing on both, as the definition given by Nearchou Stogiannidou & Kiosseoglou (2014) ‘‘process of, or capacity for, or the outcome of successful adaptation despite challenging and threatening circumstances’’(p. 58). Nine of the definitions defined the term as “ability”, two as “process” and three as “both”.
Six of the studies measured outcomes according to their definition of resilience. Three of them defined it as “ability” (Gilmore et al., 2013; Bowen, 2015; Pat-Horenczyk et al., 2015), one as “process” (Massad et al., 2009) and two as both ability and process (No-ether et al., 2007; Nearchou, Stogiannidou, & Kiosseoglou, 2014). In four of the studies only some outcomes coincided with the kind of definition given. Two of them identified resilience as ability (Morrison, Robertson, & Harding, 1998; Dryden et al., 1998), one as process (Nabors, Baker-Phibbs & Woodson, 2016) and one as both (Lee et al., 2010). In four of the studies the outcomes measured were not the same as the kind definition given, and all of them defined resilience as ability (Olowokere & Okanlawon, 2014; Watson et al., 2014; Folostina et al. 2015; Lynch, Geller, & Schmidt, 2004

Resilience studies with young children

Studies focusing on the assessment of resilience
Overview of studies

Most of the children assessed in this group were classified as “vulnerable” or “at risk” (see appendix, Table 1). There were some children defined as typically developed or living in “normal” situations, but the percentage of evaluation of these of children was lower, being most of the times the control group to compare with. The criteria followed to select these target groups was, in most of the cases, the situation of vulnerability of the children. Only one of the studies selected their participants randomly, and another selected two different socioeconomic backgrounds in order to compare them. The ages of the children varied between 3 and 12, with just two of the studies aiming at children between 3 and 6 and the rest of them from 7 to 12 years old. All the studies had in common the aim of studying, the grade of resilience in children, and the factors associ-ated with resilience. Half of the studies also compared two different groups of children. The participants of three studies were children and parents, children and teachers in two of the studies, parents and teachers in one, and two of them recruited just parents or teachers.
All the articles took into account risk and protective factors. Both of these factors have been described in nearly all the studies. These groups of factors can be divided into three sub-factors which are individual, familiar or social, and, in turn, those can be di-vided in person, interaction and environmental (see appendix, Table 2).
Among the studies, 6 were school-based and 2 in residential treatment facilities and outpatient treatment services. The level of resilience of the children was measured, mak-ing sometimes comparisons between different groups of children. All the methodologies followed in the studies were similar, using interviews, surveys and questionnaires, ex-cept the study that was aiming at measuring and building resilience which also used a skills-building group. Examples of the tools and instruments used in the different stud-ies were “Assessment of Adversity”, “Assessment of Resilience Beliefs”, “Child and Youth Resilience Measure” (CYRM), “Resiliency Scales for Children and Adoles-cents”, “Healthy Kids Resilience Assessment”, “BERS” (Behavioural and Emotional Rating Scale), “Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire”, Resilience in Youth Devel-opment Module scale (RYDM), “Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire” (see appen-dix, Table 3)

1 Introduction 
1.1 Rationale
1.2 Theoretical background
1.3 Aim
1.4 Research questions
2 Method 
2.1 Procedure
2.2 Inclusion and exclusion criteria
2.3 Search words
2.4 Data extraction: databases
2.5 Data analysis
3 Results 
3.1 Overview of studies
3.2 Definition of resilience
3.3 Resilience studies with young children
4 Discussion 
4.1 Reflections on findings related to other research
4.2 Methodological issues
4.3 Limitations
4.4 Future research
5 Conclusion 
6 References 
7 Appendix

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