Background: Increasingly, studies have focused on understanding positive outcomes in children who have been maltreated and the factors that contribute to resilience. However, there is no universally accepted definition of resilience, thus hindering the ability to make comparisons across studies and to use such information to inform interventions to foster resilience. Objective: The current study sought to address this gap by examining definitions of resilience in practitioners who work directly with maltreated children. Participants and setting: 27 participants were recruited through two agencies that serve victims of child maltreatment in an urban Midwestern city. Methods: Through a series of 27 qualitative interviews, the current study examined the following research question: “How is resilience defined and understood by practitioners working with children who have experienced child maltreatment?” Thematic coding and analysis were used to analyze the data. Results: Findings suggest five unique themes described by practitioners as their definition of resilience: (a) surviving; (b) thriving; (c) perseverance; (d) reconciling and integrating traumatic experiences into healthy identity development; and (e) advocating for self. Conclusions: Our findings highlight the spectral and nuanced nature of resilience among maltreated children. Implications for theory, research and practice are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by an internal grant from The Ohio State University, College of Social Work. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of The Ohio State University, College of Social Work. The first author serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of one of the agencies in which data were collected for this study.
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd
- Child maltreatment