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  • Cited by 2
  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

4 - Developmental Risk and Resilience in the Context of Devastation and Forced Migration

from Part II - Historical and Life Course Transitions: Economic and Demographic Change


Disaster, conflict, and forced migration are rising around the world, generating alarm about the long-term effects of trauma and devastation on child development. This chapter reviews theory and findings on risks, challenges, and resilience of children confronted with trauma and displacement in the context of conflict, terror, and disaster.

Models of resilience are described, with a focus on contemporary perspectives grounded in developmental systems theory. Resilience is defined as the capacity of a system to adapt successfully to challenges that threaten its functioning, survival, or future development. Evidence on the threats, adaptation, and protective processes that shape adjustment and the future development of young people displaced by life-threatening community-level crises are highlighted. Ethical, methodological, and practical issues and controversies in the research are discussed. The conclusion summarizes research progress, implications for intervention, and future directions of this body of research.