Topic 1: The Child in Context {by 9/12}

There is one reading due this week – Sandler et al. (1997).  Address the following two discussion points:  (1) Last week’s and this week’s reading touched upon resilience.  How is resilience defined and why do some argue that focusing too much on resiliency can have negative outcomes?  (2) The “stress framework” is defined as an interaction with (a) environmental stressors, (b) appraisal of stressors/events as threatening to well-being (or not), and (c) coping strategies and social resources to manage affect and/or attempt to change the situation.  Explain the role of each of these components and their relationship with each other.  Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 9/12.  Have your two replies no later than 9/14.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

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40 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brandon Pare
    Sep 08, 2013 @ 19:40:25

    1) When we talk about resiliency we are essentially focusing on the individual’s level of self-efficacy in their ability to come with the stress of their environment. Someone with great resiliency has had positive outcomes with coping with stress in the past. Not only does this improve the self-efficacy of the individual and their exceptions that they will succeed over stress but also the environments expectations that they will also succeed over stress. When this occurs a couple of things are liable to happen. One, the people in the environment become accustom to the level of stress the individual can cope with and will continue to place the individual in high stress scenarios that they believe they can cope with, and two, the individual themselves believes they can cope with these high levels of stress and continues to engage with them if success continues. Once the individual encounters a level of stress they cannot handle then they must rely on their self-efficacy. A person with strong self-efficacy will shrug off the event and find new ways of coping, a person with low self-efficacy will not. The people in the environment, because of the their level of expectation for the individual, view that there must be something wrong with the individual rather than think that they have just encountered something the individual has to learn to cope with. This can cause them to blame the individual instead of supporting them. A great example here is professional athletes. With success they become more confident and so do the owners of the teams. But once faced with a challenge they struggle to overcome they are out-casted by their fan base and looked down on by their owners. Good owners and fans should give them the support they need. 2) Now the “stress framework” is broken up into primary and secondary appraisal. The job of primary appraisal is first to determine the value, the stressors, and potential threats of the situation the individual is about to get into. Whether or not it is worth the time of the individual and when in the past has this benefited or not benefited the individual. Once the situation has been identified secondary appraisal can begin. Secondary appraisal takes this one step further and processes how the individual should cope with the situation and the type of coping method that is needed. The two types of coping are emotion or problem focus coping. Once the coping method has been applied it is determined if any future course of action is needed. This is based on whether or not they’re has been a significant change to the stressor. This change and the future course of action taken, may it be more coping, is determined during the reappraisal process.

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    • Melissa Recore
      Sep 11, 2013 @ 23:28:05

      I like your point about self-efficacy and how it relates to resilience. I think the individual’s self efficacy is largely influenced by their support system, exposure to situations, and appraisal of ability to perform. The ability to be resilient during a stressor likely correlates highly with the individual’s self efficacy. The self efficacy can change with time, as could the resilience of the individual so having a high self efficacy during childhood may not guarantee high self efficacy in adolescence when faced with a significant stressor.

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    • Paige Hartmann
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 16:03:08

      Brandon, I like the example you provided about how self-efficacy and resiliency relates to professional athletes. The more that individuals succeed at a task, the more support they tend to have from others. When individuals struggle or fail at a task, others within the environment often withdraw their support.

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    • Katrina Mitchell
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 16:22:08

      I found it interesting that you connected resiliency to self-efficacy. While the two seem rather synonymous I interpreted resiliency as development in the face of adversities while I understand self-efficacy as the actual intent or belief in being able to perform tasks. I agree that it seems an individual who has faced many adversities has opportunity to build their resiliency and inadvertently improve their self-efficacy. However this may also work in an opposing way as well. In other words, individual who face many adversities with the opportunity to build their resiliency may, in contrast, fall to the challenge therefore decreasing their resiliency and self-efficacy similar to your example of athletes. Using this information, building resilience and learning to cope must be perceived on a case by case basis to meet the client where they are at.

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  2. Julianna Aguilar
    Sep 09, 2013 @ 21:18:20

    According to Sandler, Wolchik, MacKinnon, Ayers, and Roosa (1997), resilience is defined as “accomplishing positive developmental outcomes in the face of adversity” (p. 5). Some common sources of resilience include a child’s specific characteristics, a child’s relationship with their primary care givers, and support from community resources. Understanding the role of resiliency in overcoming adversity is important namely because researching resilient children can provide insight into the specific qualities that make them resilient. In turn, these findings can be used to design and implement programs to teach less resilient children these strategies in hopes to increase their resiliency. However, some argue that focusing too much on resiliency can have negative outcomes. Specifically, focusing almost exclusively on children who are resilient implies that there is something inherently wrong with or flawed about children who are not resilient (e.g., laziness), thus causing others to fault these children for his or her issues. Placing blame on these children can then cause a decrease in attention paid to them because they are perceived to be at fault for their issues as well as increased stress, among other negative consequences.

    The stress framework is comprised of environmental stressors, appraisals of the stressors in terms of the amount of threat posed to one’s well-being, and coping strategies and social resources used to manage or change the situation. Individually, these three factors play an important role in explaining the impact of a particular stressor. First, environmental stressors can be acute major (e.g., divorce), chronic (e.g., poverty), or small (e.g., fighting with a family member). Research suggests, however, that the most comprehensive way to understand stressors is to view them as dynamic, ongoing processes that impact each another as well as the individual. Second, appraisal is the process that leads to a specific stress response. Researchers suggest that there are three factors that contribute to individuals’ appraisals of a specific stressor: goal relevance, goal congruence, and type of ego-involvement. In addition, research shows that negative appraisals are more likely than positive appraisals to predict psychological problems in children. However, there is also a bidirectional relationship such that children with more significant psychological disturbance (e.g., anxiety) were more likely to appraise a particular stressor as negative. Finally, coping strategies and social resources refer to ways in which individuals manage or change a specific stressor that they appraise as threatening. More specifically, there are three categories of individual differences regarding coping variables including coping resources, coping styles, and coping efforts or strategies. Social supports are also divided into three groups: social embeddedness, enacted supports, and perceived social support. Together, these factors of the stress framework interact such that individuals encounter stressors in their everyday environment, interpret the severity of the threat the stressor poses to their well-being, and, finally, use coping skills and social resources to manage or change the situation depending on the level of threat it poses. Overall, the stress framework is a complex and ongoing process of evaluating and modifying stressors that threaten one’s well-being.

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    • Sara Grzejszczak
      Sep 12, 2013 @ 18:02:26

      Julianna, I like how you included different sources help a child become resilient. I think it is important when working with children that they may not have these different types of support sources and that we need to help them with that. I also liked how you pointed out that there is a bidirectional relationship with children who have severe psychological disturbances and negative appraisals. When these children already have difficulty understanding and processing the world around them it makes it that much harder to appraise situations accurately.

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    • Kristina Glaude
      Sep 12, 2013 @ 18:21:05

      I liked your point on about the research when it comes to environmental stressors. I think that it is important to not to get too much of a narrow focus when working on and addressing stressors. It is important I think to remember that it is an ongoing process and that problems along with reactions impact the child and their surroundings.

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    • Brandon Pare
      Sep 13, 2013 @ 20:49:20

      Julianna, I really enjoyed reading your response to the question. I like how you clearly identified the different factors of the appraisal process and I agree with the fact that research shows that negative appraisals are more likely than positive appraisals to predict psychological problems in children. I would also add that it is very possible for dysfunction to occur even if positive appraisal occurs during the transaction period. It is very possible for an individual to appraise a situation positively and still lead to dysfunction. For instance an individual’s appraisals could be skewed because of the constructs they have acquired in their life. So something that is inherently wrong for most people could be appraised as something good for the individual. For example those that use drugs. Someone who has years of drug use under their belt could appraise drug use as a positive experience when really it is a maladaptive form of behavior.

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  3. Emily B
    Sep 11, 2013 @ 08:44:33

    Resilience is defined as “accomplishing positive developmental outcomes in the face of adversity.” Studies have been conducted to understand protective factors that attribute to resilience. Environmental stress and how children deal with this stress contribute to the development of resilience. Studies have shown that chronic stressors and acute major negative changes causes variance of the predictions of a child’s psychological problems. A child will then appraise the environmental change or situation and as a result utilize coping strategies or other strategies to manage or change the situation. Some individual also argue that focusing to much on the development of resilience will cause children who may be struggling and are not as resilient as their peers to be left behind and their problems may be attributed to being lazy rather than approaching counselor in a different way for less resilient children.

    Stress framework is a process in which “individuals encounter adverse events as they interact with their environment (stressors), interpret these events as threatening to their well-being (appraisals), and utilize coping strategies and social resources to manage their affect and/or attempt to change the situation.” This occurs overtime and results in a change in beliefs and behavior in future stressful events. Environmental stress is stressful events that may alter a child’s environment. Appraisal and coping also plays the role in resilience in children. A child may develop an appraisal style that holds either positive or negative distortions in the appraisal of event. Appraisal varies from child to child. An event that is perceived as positive for one child (getting an A- on a test) may not be perceived in the same light as a different child who is expected to receive superior grades. Through appraisal children assess situation with three questions 1) Should I care? 2) Is it positive or negative? 3) In what way am I or my goals involved?
    Coping has received considerable research and several perspectives have adapted and defined the development of coping. The development of problem-focused strategies or avoidant strategies will assist in the development of resilience or engaging in risk taking behaviors. What I found most interesting about this point was the idea that children and adolescences who seek adults for support are less likely to engage in risk taking behaviors than peers who seek supports from peers.

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    • Melissa Recore
      Sep 11, 2013 @ 23:19:56

      I liked your last comment about the difference between having a peer support group and an adult support. Peers are significantly more likely to encourage the individual to cope with the stressor in a ineffective way. For example, one teen may tell the individual to go drinking if they had a bad day, or to mellow out by having a joint. Such coping strategies are much less likely to be suggested by an adult. Plus teens are still growing, including their brains, and are not always capable of fully understanding and appreciating the individual’s situation.

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    • Kirsten Chirichetti
      Sep 11, 2013 @ 23:46:24

      Emily, I also found the research on the relationship between child adjustment and parental/family and peer support interesting. Although there was consistent empirical support for both the direct and stress-buffer effects of family/parental support on reducing children’s stress, the research on the beneficial effects of peer support was unclear and mixed (Sandler et al., 1997). I was a bit surprised by this information based on the value that children, especially adolescents, place on their peers for support, company, and intimacy. As children become adolescents, they gain a greater sense of autonomy from their parents, increasing their attention to relationships with their peer groups. However, it could be that when children/adolescents rely heavily on their peers for advice, they may be willing to forgo rules and other responsibilities that then lead them to experience more dysfunction. In addition, it is also possible that the peer group that the child/adolescent is associated with could have limited coping abilities or engages in high-risk behaviors, increasing the individual’s stress. I would be interested to see the results of research studies that focus on the adaptation and functioning of children and adolescents who had both strong, positive family and peer supports (i.e., comparing the functioning of a group of children with strong, supportive parents, with a group with positive peers, and a group with both).

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  4. Kirsten Chirichetti
    Sep 11, 2013 @ 19:29:29

    Throughout the various stages of development, children experience a wide-range of problems at multiple ecological levels. Some of these childhood stressors include, but are not limited to, the experience of divorce, poverty, the presence of a medical/mental illness, the death of a parent, and a high-crime neighborhood. When children encounter these difficult and threatening environments, how they cope and adapt to these stressful situations influences their overall physical, mental, and psychological functioning. Since many children in today’s society have limited cognitive abilities, social supports, and other important resources (i.e., basic needs, emotional regulation skills, etc.), they are unable to cope effectively with these demanding environments, which consequently negatively impacts their overall health and well-being. However, there are some children that despite the adversity in their lives are able to accomplish positive developmental outcomes (Sameroff, Seifer, & Bartko, 1997). These individuals are believed to have high levels of resilience, successfully adapting to and protecting themselves against the negative effects of stress. In order to help children become more effective in overcoming their problems, many researchers have focused on identifying the protective factors that contribute to resilience in children, such as the characteristics of the child, relationships with primary caretakers, and support from community resources outside of the family. Nonetheless, some psychologists argue that focusing too much on resiliency can have negative outcomes for the child and his or her family. For instance, focusing too much on resiliency can cause others to blame the child for his or her problems or negative outcomes (Sandler, Wolchik, MacKinnon, Ayers, & Roosa, 1997). Based on this premise, children experiencing major life stressors may be viewed as having something “wrong” with them or not having the adaptive personal characteristics necessary to be resilient. As a result, some psychologists believe that children in crisis/stressful situations are at fault for their problems and they develop interventions to help them gain the characteristics of those children who are resilient under similar circumstances. Likewise, another concern of focusing too much on resiliency is that it may cause some researchers to overlook the social and familial risk factors that are negatively impacting the child and his or her family. For example, if a child is performing poorly in school and the primary focus of a school psychologist’s interventions is on building resiliency, the child may still experience negative outcomes. The child may not be getting his or her basic needs met at home (i.e., is not eating enough food or sleeping due to poverty), which consequently prevents him or her from doing well in school or developing coping/adaptive skills in counseling. In order to help the child function more optimally in the school setting, the psychologist must address and change the risks/difficulties in the child’s environment. In this way, a heavy emphasis on building resiliency can cause some individuals to overlook the critical social and familial factors that are creating or adding more stress to the lives of the child and his or her family.

    According to Sandler et al., (1997) a broad “stress framework” is a useful tool for identifying the different factors that are related to a person’s adaptation to stressful life events. The “stress framework” consists of an interaction between environmental stressors, appraisals of the event (i.e., as threatening one’s well-being or not), and coping strategies and social resources used to manage or change the situation. Each of these components, both individually and together, impact how a person adapts to a stressful life situation. The first component “environmental stressors” refers to both single, acute large events (i.e., death of a parent, natural disaster) and chronic, every-day life stressors (i.e., poverty, fighting with a friend/sibling). Sandler et al., (1997) note that chronic conditions and negative changes are not mutually exclusive characteristics of children’s social environment. In this way, stressful events are dynamically related, such that major stressful life events may be precipitated by chronic aversive conditions and both may lead to the increase occurrence of smaller stressors over time. Therefore it is important for researchers to look at the size of the event, chronicity, the possible dynamic interrelatedness of events, along with the characteristics of the child (i.e., goals, values, and motivational states, etc.) when designing interventions to improve children’s adaptation to stress. The second component of the “stress framework” are appraisals or how the individual positively or negatively views the environmental stressor and if it has implications for his or her well-being. When determining the implications of a specific event, Lazarus (1991) believed that individuals ask themselves three questions or focus on three specific appraisal variables: (1) Should I care? (goal relevance), (2) Is this positive or negative? (goal congruence), and (3) In what way am I or my goals/commitments involved? (ego-involvement) (as cited in Sandler et al., 1997). Based on these components, children are able to determine the positivity or negativity and the relevance of the specific event that has occurred. In addition, research has shown that negative appraisals were significant predictors of children’s psychological problems, leading to less adaptation to stressful life events. The third component of the “stress framework,” is coping strategies and social resources that are utilized to help children manage affect or alter the situation. Coping strategies refer to all the cognitive and behavioral responses and efforts individuals make after developing a threatening appraisal of a stressful situation (Sandler et al., 1997). Children may also have different coping variables including coping resources (i.e., stable characteristics of the individual such as personality and temperament, that influence how he/she copes with situation), coping styles (i.e., typical, habitual preferences for ways to approaching problems), and coping efforts (i.e., cognitive/behavioral actions in a specific stressful situation that are intended to manage affective arousal and improve the situation). In recent research, a four-dimensional model of coping, consisting of active coping, avoidance, distraction, and support has been shown to be effective in describing various coping styles in children. In particular, evidence has found that the use of avoidance coping strategies (i.e., trying to think about or avoid dealing with stressful events) has been related to higher mental health problems in children and adolescents (Brodzinsky et al., 1992; Ebata & Moos, 1991, Causey & Dubow, 1992; as cited in Sandler et al., 1997). Furthermore, social resources in the “stress framework” refer to the complex, multidimensional social relationships and supportive transactions the child has that help him or her manage stressful situations. These social resources include social embeddedness or the connections between and individual and others in the environment, enacted support or the frequency of supportive transactions, and perceived social support or the subjective evaluation of the child’s quality of support, availability of support, or relationships with supporters. Depending on the social resources in place, a child may be more able to effectively cope with the stressful environment, changing his or negative appraisals of the threatening event (re-appraisal), and eventually being able to function more adaptively in every-day life (Sandler et al., 1997). Overall, together, these three components of environmental stress, appraisals, and coping strategies/social resources interact with one another, influencing how a child positively or negatively adapts to stress.

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    • Kristina Glaude
      Sep 12, 2013 @ 18:21:48

      I liked how you discussed the separate parts that are involved within coping. I think that it is important to remember that coping is not just about the strategies that need to be implemented but also the resources and styles that are already available to the child and that the child is already using. With guidance and practice a child can become more comfortable and confident in implementing the resources, styles and strategies to move forward to problem outcomes.

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    • Paige Hartmann
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 16:24:09

      Kirsten, I liked the point you made regarding focusing too much on resiliency causing social and familial risk factors to be overlooked. It’s important to consider all aspects of an individual’s environment, including both protective and risk factors. By focusing too much on resiliency, a child who is struggling in school may continue to experience negative outcomes if other contributing factors are not considered.

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    • Katrina Mitchell
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 16:51:05

      Kirsten,
      It is important to highlight that many children in our society are unable to build resilience and cope effectively in face of adversities due to a lack of resources such as, as you mentioned, social supports, save environments, basic needs, emotional regulation skills, etc. It seems that with this information psychologists, more than anyone, should understand to focus on the child overall rather than just resiliency creating the issue of blaming the child. While children who are able to overcome difficult life challenges and are respected as having great resilience, children who are not able to overcome similar life challenges are pitied and blamed. Thus it is crucial to interpret each of the life challenges children must face and overcome while considering their individual skills or lack thereof in order to improve them then build resilience.

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    • Amanda Thomas
      Sep 16, 2013 @ 20:59:34

      Kirsten- you have identified a cycle in which keeps at risk children unable to cope with adverse environments. Our society puts the onus on these children or their primary care givers and labels them as lazy or having something “wrong” with them. I like how you acknowledged the lack of emphasis on social and familial factors as they heavily contribute to a child’s ability to be resilient. I think continuing to education our society will help enhance the deficits that some individuals have regarding their level of resilience.

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  5. Melissa Recore
    Sep 11, 2013 @ 23:09:32

    Sandler defined resilience as “accomplishing positive developmental outcomes in the face of adversity”. As the reading mentioned the resilience of a child refers to the child’s ability to cope effectively with stressors. It is seen in research that the more social supports the child has the more likely the child will be able to manage their life stressors or trauma effectively (coping strategies). Another important aspect of resilience is how the child makes sense of the event (appraisal of stressor). Such mental positions as what the stressors means to the child, why they think the stressor occurs will largely effect the child’s resilience. Environmental factors also come into play with the child’s ability to cope with a stressor. for example, a child who is in a home experiencing difficulty may not have sufficient access to their primary caregiver (do to excessive hours, financial distress, divorce,substance abuse, etc. ) and thus may not feel supported in dealing with the stressor.
    Focusing too much on resilience can be negative for it often implies that the child who experiences stressors and cannot cope with them is lazy or unmotivated to deal with their stessors. I think this position can be dangerous for it implies some children are lazy or weaker than others. I think the coping skills and support system should be analyzed closely since it affects the child’s resources to display resilient behaviors. For example, one child who is physically abused may cope with that stressor well because they are able to escape the negative environment and have a positive experience in a sport and have a caring coach who supports the child’s needs; however, another physically abused child may not be allowed to do any extra curricular activities and have no avenue to “escape” the abuse and thus display as shy and withdrawn. Same issues, but different opportunities for each child to deal with the stress of being physically abused. I would not think one “strong willed/resilient” and one “lazy”.
    There is a popular book about resilience called “strong at the broken places” by Linda Sanford. The book is filled with the stories of adults recalling the traumatic experiences they went through (neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, etc) and where they are now and how they were able to become successful and functional in society.

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    • Julianna Aguilar
      Sep 12, 2013 @ 18:13:29

      Melissa, I like your example about how two physically abused children may cope differently with the same situation given different resources. It is absolutely true that some have been too quick to judge less resilient children as lacking the internal characteristics necessary to face adversity well. It may in fact be more beneficial to examine the external resources more resilient children have in order to better understand what protective factors help them handle stressors in a more effective way. Ironically, I think your example can be seen as an argument both for and against the study of resilient children. On one hand, focusing strictly on resilient children does not allow for an accurate examination of the child population (i.e., a comparison of resources between resilient and non-resilient children), thus leaving room for error in how we understand less resilient children. On the other hand, this example in a way supports the notion that a lot can be learned from research being done on resilient children. That is, according to this example, the difference between resilient and non-resilient children may be strongly due to the availability of external resources rather than an inherent ability to overcome adversity. I think your example really highlights how sensitive and complex resiliency research is!

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    • Emily B
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 17:32:01

      Melissa I agreed with your comment about children about a child trying to gain support from their parents and the parent not being available due to emotional or financial stressors. At times a child may only feel comfortable reporting a traumatic event to a parent and may not be able to express this event if a parent is unable to respond to them.

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  6. Anthony Rofino
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 11:24:44

    1) Resilience is defined as “accomplishing positive developmental outcomes in the face of adversity” (Sandler, Wolchik, MacKinnon, Ayers, & Roosa 1997, p. 5). The resilience of a person/child can be made up of many different aspects. These can include relationships with the child’s caregivers, support from the community, and characteristics that are inherent in the child. While observing resilience can be useful in determining how stress will effect the child in the long run, some argue their is an inherent problem with focusing on just resilience. If just resilience is focused on, children with little to no resilience may be written off as being lazy, and the problem is placed on the child, not other factors. This causes additional stress to the child, which will further damage the child.

    2) The “stress framework” is comprised of environmental stressors, appraisal of stressors/events as threatening to well-being, and coping strategies and social resources. The interaction between these different factors is what determines how stressful an event is to a child, and in turn, how much it will affect the child psychologically. Environmental stressors can range greatly. They can be powerful as a death of a loved one, to as trivial as getting a bad grade on a test. However, the key is not how great the stressor, but the interplay on the appraisal of the stressor and the coping strategies/social resources that the child has access to. A child’s appraisal is based off of three aspects/questions: goal relevance (Should I care about this stressor?), goal congruence (Is this stressor positive or negative?), and type of ego-involvement (In what way am I/my goals involved?) (Sandler et al. 1997). While an environmental stressor such as getting a B+ on a hard test might be positive to one child, a child expecting an A may take it as a more negative event, further affecting them. Once a stressor has been determined to be negative or positive, the level of coping the child has further influences how detrimental the stressor is. A child with good coping strategies or strong social supports will be able to handle the stressor better, causing less damage. On the contrary, those with poor coping strategies or avoidance behaviors may resort to antisocial behavior or other negative responses to the the stressor. It is by the interaction of each of these variables that stress is determined, and it is a constant process.

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  7. Stacie Z.
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 11:51:04

    The concept of resilience refers to those individuals, who despite a history of chronic and/or acute risk factors, possess the ability to manage and overcome these environmental factors. As a society we are presented with stories of individuals that not only survived, but thrived and exceeded expectations. Hearing and reading stories such as these provides hope to children, parents, teachers, social service providers, etc. that even in the most dire of circumstances opportunity still exists. On the surface it intuitively makes sense therefore, that research designed to identify these individual characteristics would be positive. Why would we not want to inform ourselves of inherent traits and abilities possessed by those individuals who have overcome significant adversity, so that programs can be designed to foster these same characteristics of others in similar situations? This is because the topic of resilience and identifying specific factors that lend themselves to developing resilience can have the absolute opposite effect that was intended. When research identifies a specific characteristic, the greater community begins to wonder why it is that some can overcome chronic environmental risk factors while others in the same situation continue to live in same or worsening conditions. Likewise, the individuals themselves in a high-risk environment could begin to wonder what they are doing wrong and why they are not capable of overcoming their situation.

    The “stress framework” looks at the dynamic relationship between variables that can help researchers better understand how individuals handle and adapt to stressful events. These variables include environmental stress, appraisals, and coping strategies. Environmental stress describes chronic conditions and acute events that are experienced by a person. It is important to note the dynamic relationship of stressful events – “major stressful events may be precipitated by chronic stressful conditions, and both may lead to increased occurrence of smaller stressors over time” (Sandler et al., 1997, p. 8). Appraisal refers to the cognitive process when one is presented with a stressful event. During appraisal individuals evaluate an event and whether it should be considered negative based on their goals and how the event impacts these goals and sense of self. Coping and social support are factors that can influence the positive or negative emotional and behavioral reaction to a perceived negative event. These outcomes can then influence future appraisals of stressful events. Researchers have been able to report consistent findings in measuring the effect each component of the stress framework has on psychological well-being and adaption to stressors. However, the components of the framework are not mutually exclusive and through the process of adaption any or all of these variables are subject to change and alter the way someone reacts to stress events.

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    • Brandon Pare
      Sep 13, 2013 @ 22:03:50

      Stacie, I agree with you that as a society we place in the spotlight individuals, who despite all odds against them, are able to succeed and that we can have the tendency to focus on the traits they possess as the traits needed for success. What I would add is that resiliency is a case by case basis. As you said some have the capability to succeed while others don’t. To answer this question we must look at each individual case. This would involve examining the constructs each person has developed over time along with their coping efficacy. These would have been impacted by three different dimensions; 1) the individuals factors such as their self regulatory mechanisms and coping skills, 2) the risk factors of their current environment and past environments, and 3) the social support each individual had. Were they along in managing this stress or not?

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    • Anthony Rofino
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 20:38:51

      Stacie, I like your point about putting resiliency stories in the spotlight. It almost gives people an excuse to say, “Well, others in worse situations can do it, why can’y you?” That is a lot of pressure to put on a person and not on the situation. However, the whole point is that the success stories wouldn’t be so spectacular if everyone was able to do the same thing.

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  8. Sara Grzejszczak
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 17:49:14

    Resilience is defined in this weeks article as being able to accomplish positive outcomes developmentally even when there is adversity. In other words being resilient is being able to adapt to stressful events so there are as little negative effects as possible. By researching and implementing programs to help children remain resilient to their life stressors the percentage of problems that they could develop will drop. While this is a very good thing by focusing too much on resiliency the exact opposite could happen. Some children will naturally be more resilient than others, for those children that are not resilient the research will begin to view them as not being as good at adapting to adverse situations as their peers and they may even be viewed as flawed and lazy. The research will then exclusively focus on how to help the children that are more resilient and ignore the children that will be most at risk for developing problems.

    The stress framework is a process that develops overtime that can change a person’s beliefs and affect their behavior. It is comprised of three main parts that all do their part to help or hinder a child. Environmental stressors are the first part of this framework, they include the large events that happen infrequently, such as a natural disaster, or little events that reoccur time and time again, such as getting into fights. These types of stressors can impact the ability a child has on functioning in school, at home with family relationships, and with friendships. When these types of situations happen a child then has to appraise the situation at hand. In other words once there is an environmental stressor a child then has to figure out if they should care about the situation, if the situation is a positive one or a negative one, and in what way he or she is involved in the situation and it will affect their goals and commitments. When a child appraises a lot of different environmental stressors, as being negative there is a significant likelihood that a child will have psychological problems. After a child appraises the environmental stressor as negative the next step is for the child to cope with the situation and if the child has social support. When a child copes he or she is changing cognitive and behavioral efforts constantly in an effort to manage the specific demands of internal or external stimuli that are appraised as draining on the resources that the child has. When a child copes his or her personality characteristics, their belief about themselves, and their worldview come into play; a child also has specific coping styles, efforts, and resources that they call upon in order to relieve the stress. The social support a child has also affects their level of stress in multiple ways. Social support can directly effect a child’s coping efforts by either directly instructing and reinforcing specific ones as well as threat appraisals; by modeling different adaptive coping appraisals when dealing with stress; enabling access to helpful resources; and providing a context within the family that supports coping and appraisals for stressors. If the child views an environmental stressor as negative and they do not have social support, poor ways of coping with the situation, and negative appraisals of the situation the child will not be able to be resilient to the situation. The stress framework has all three of these pieces build upon each other to help to determine if the child will be resilient to the stressor in his or her life or to not be as resilient and have psychological problems.

    Reply

    • Angela Vizzo
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 21:17:11

      Sara, you do a really good job explaining the stress framework. I especially liked your focus on coping strategies, you explained this point really well. I also liked how you mentioned how environmental stressors can be big or small things. As we discussed in class and the Weeks article highlights numerous small stressors can have just as much, if not more of an impact on a child as one large stressor.

      Reply

  9. Kristina Glaude
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 18:19:01

    1) As a child develops they encounter positive and negative events in their life. According to Sandler et al., (1997) resilience is “defined as accomplishing positive developmental outcomes in the face of adversity. Progress has been made in identifying sources of resilience, including characteristics of the child, relationships with the primary caretakers and support from extrafamilial community resources” (pg 5). Some may argue that focusing on resiliency can have negative outcomes for children. This focus that others have on the child and situations that the child is addressing within their life can be influential to them. The ability for an individual to develop resiliency develops over time. This change affects not only the child themselves but also their environment. When only focusing on one part of the problem situation for a child this can lead to negative outcomes. It is important to not only review with the child stressful events but ways to cope and add support when needed for the child. Although the child was able to navigate through a stressful event it may be key to review not only the outcome but also the supports and skills that the child also has. Within each child there are different levels of resilience. Every problem situation will be addressed differently.
    2) The “stressful framework” is composed of several parts. These key parts are the environmental stressors, appraisal of the stressor and coping strategies/social resources. Each of these key parts plays a role within the “stressful framework”. First when reviewing the environmental stressors these stressors can range from divorce of parents to a fight with someone else to poverty. Although these can be looked at as one event they also have to be reviewed as a constant problem for the child. This one problem can create a ripple effect for the child. This ripple effect can impact not only their own lives but also how their support system supplies guidance to the child’s next steps. The environmental stressors are events that are occurring outside the child that the child is reacting to. The second part of the framework is the appraisal of the stressor. This involves reviewing the stressor as it may impact the child both negatively or positively. This review of specific stressors allows for the child to review goal relevance, goal congruence and ego-involvement. Every child when addressing the same problem may come to a different conclusion of what the next step for the m is going to be. This is due to the individual’s different appraisal of the stressful event. The third component is the role of coping strategies and social resources. Coping is the behavioral pains to address and work on the stressful situation. For the coping strategies I liked the chart that was shown on page 16. I thought that this image gave a good indication of not only the resources and styles that a child could use for coping but also the strategies that they could implement on each problem. Social resources could be both adult and peer supports. These supports can be offered to the child with both guidance of solutions but also demonstration of coping methods that can be used to address this problem. Both the peer and adult support could have had a similar situation that occurred to them and could offer assistance to the child on ways to address the situation. When reviewing each of these components it is key to remember that they all play an important role with each other. Within each stressful situation the environment will affect the child. The child will then review the stressful situation and take action steps on how they are going to handle this situation. They may have addressed a similar situation in the past or known someone else who has and take aspects of this in order to address the situation. Even if the child has come across this situation in the past it does not mean they will address it again the same. At times this process may be quick for the child to complete where at other times they may struggle and need the support and guidance of others. This support can help the child before they address or review the problem and making/taking steps to address and change the situation.

    Reply

    • Julianna Aguilar
      Sep 12, 2013 @ 18:31:25

      Kristina, I think it is important that you pointed out that there are different levels of resilience, both within and between children. It is easy to get caught up in talking about children in a dichotomous way: resilient or not resilient. Instead, it would be much more accurate to consider the level of resiliency a child has regarding a particular domain. For example, the child may be more resilient to family fights as opposed to fights with peers. In addition, the groups of children who can truly be labeled as “resilient” or “not resilient” are probably quite small. There would seem instead to be a large number of children that may be overlooked who exist in between those poles on a spectrum of resiliency. It would be interesting to see what results would be found if a specific rating system for resiliency was developed as opposed to studying one or the other.

      Reply

    • Emily B
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 17:42:21

      Kristina, I like the comment you made about how children will experience the same situation but come to different conclusions. I think this is important to bare this in mind. There is not a manual for how a child is to reach to any situation. Assisting children in remaining safe and healthy when coming to conclusions will assist a lot of family systems.

      Reply

  10. Angela Vizzo
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 18:19:14

    Resilience is a child’s or person’s ability to overcome an obstacle or stressful life event or factor and not let it negatively affect his or her development. Some believe focusing on resiliency can have negative outcomes because we start to look at those who are not as resilient as having something wrong with them. We may start to point to a more resilient individual and ask why the less resilient individual can’t be more like them. Resilience has also been debated as whether it is a characteristic one is born with or if someone has to deal with negative circumstances in order to develop it. This can also negatively affect one’s view of an individual depending on which side of the debate the examiner believes in.

    Environmental stressors can vary greatly between individuals and situations. These can be small events, such as having a bad day or larger events such as the death of a loved one. Each person appraises environmental events differently, and as such what is stressful to one individual may not be stressful to another, depending on various factors such as personality characteristics and/or coping strategies. The coping strategies one has affects the way they appraise a given situation, and having better coping strategies can help one appraise different environmental events as less stressful. In addition, the more social support one has helps them appraise events as less stressful as well, since they have people they can turn to who can help them through the event.

    Reply

    • Kirsten Chirichetti
      Sep 12, 2013 @ 23:08:43

      Angela, I found it really interesting that you mentioned the debate as to whether resilience is a characteristic one is born with or if an individual has to deal with negative circumstances to develop it. I feel that resilience is not simply “one trait,” but rather a set of characteristics that is unique to each individual. I think that all children may have (or be born with) the traits or skills that make them resilient, but these characteristics may not become apparent until they encounter negative-life experiences. For this reason, I have mixed feelings on research that focuses on identifying the characteristics that have propelled children to be resilient in the past and using the results to develop interventions that emphasize building these traits in other individuals. The process of building resilience is a bit more complex and I think that it should be tailored to each child’s circumstances, focusing on skills that the individual has control over.

      Reply

    • Stacie Z.
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 10:43:03

      Angela- Your last comment regarding social support and how it affects individuals’ appraisals of situations is important. I think it is helpful to view social support not only in terms of how it might alter the appraisal, but how it contributes to whether or not an individual even attempts to utilize active coping strategies or just avoids the situation all together. Also, in considering the level of social support and resources a child has, and how it might affect an outcome, we must also look closely at specific characteristics of these supports. The advice and support a peer is offering can often be vastly different, and not always constructive in terms of coping strategies, than that of an adult (of course, the reverse can be true as well).

      Reply

    • Amanda Thomas
      Sep 16, 2013 @ 21:06:46

      Angela- you brought up a key point in that stressors are interpreted on an individual basis. I like how you broke down your understanding of the reading by saying that like resilience, the interpretation of a stressor is highly individualized. Everyone appraises stressors differently, therefore as you mentioned, what may be stressing to you may not have the same effect to me. This appraisal is largely based on personal characteristics, the capacity to identify and implement coping strategies. Those who are equipped or those who are more resilient will fair better in the face of an adverse stressor.

      Reply

  11. Katrina Mitchell
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 18:30:55

    According to Sandler (1997) children’s resilience is defined as accomplishing developmental outcomes when faced with adversities considering characteristics of children, relationships between children and their caregivers, and children’s support from their communities. Some argue that focusing too much on resiliency can have negative outcomes because children who don’t have certain advantages such as social status, functional family relationships, or high income to provide the resources that promote resilience to overcome stressors. Disadvantaged environments therefore pose a risk to opportunity for positive development even with affective coping strategies. As a result, children in disadvantaged environments are blamed as victims for poor outcomes in face of stressors (Sameroff, Seifer, and Bartko, 1997).

    Environmental stressors refer to recent environmental changes that disrupt children’s lives and require readjustment. Changes typically become stressful when they are negative however positive changes may also be stressful. Stressful events include neighborhood violence, lack of resources, school functioning, and/or peer relationships. Event stressfulness is also determined by children’s characteristics transacting with environmental characteristics such as children’s goals, values, and vulnerabilities according to Sandler (1997). In addition, stress is also exhibited when children’s basic needs are threatened or when ecological properties such as the size, chronicity, and interrelatedness of stressful events are considered.

    Appraisal is the component of the stress framework that processes environmental stressors to stress responses when stressors are interpreted as having negative implications on children’s selves and well-beings. Individuals subconsciously appraise events according to whether they care about the event, whether the event is negative or positive, and whether the event affects their goals and commitments. It seems negative appraisal cause significant psychological problems for children.

    Coping strategies are most prominently recognized as cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage taxing demands causing arousal during threatening events or in response to changing events used to regulate behavior, emotion, and motivation. Individuals use coping strategies according to coping resources, coping styles, and coping efforts (Sandler, 1997). Evidence suggests that the use of coping strategies relate to fewer mental health disorders. Therefore, stress can be reduced using coping strategies that are more useful when they involve social support such as peers, family, and parents that reinforce coping, model adaptive appraisal, provide family context that supports coping and appraisal, and facilitates helpful resources.

    The stress framework refers to a process that involves all three of these components that relate to each other according to the following chain. First, children encounter adverse events within their environment identified as the environmental stressors. Next, children interpret adverse events/stressors as harmful to themselves and their well-beings therefore appraising the adverse events/stressors as threats. Last, children use coping strategies and social resources in an attempt to handle the changes the adverse events/stressors have created. As a result of this interactive process, children learn to adapt to stressors.

    Reply

    • Stacie Z.
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 10:14:02

      Katrina- I think the point you raise about how even positive events and change can cause stress is important. This issue was discussed in class this week, with examples given such as when a parent receives a promotion at work. On the surface, it would be difficult to immediately understand why a child would react negatively or have mixed emotions about this news. Furthermore, if the rest of the family is reacting positively and see this promotion as a great opportunity, the child could become even more hesitant about expressing their concerns about the news. It becomes important to explore with the child what their perception is of the event and how it will impact their life. In this type of situation a parent can explain that this promotion, move, etc. will occur regardless, but at the same time process the information and concerns with the child to mitigate some of the stress factors.

      Reply

    • Sara Grzejszczak
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 14:54:01

      Katrina, I like how you mentioned that interrelatedness is a large part on how stressful a child considers an event. While stressful situations can be chronic and large or small the amount at which they have to do with another situation is also important. This is especially so when it comes to appraisal of the situation when the child asks “how will this affect me and my goals?” I also like how you state that there is evidence to show that the more coping strategies relate to having fewer mental health disorders, I think we see this everyday in our jobs when we have clients who are having difficulty with their coping strategies and we need to show them and give them the tools for new strategies.

      Reply

    • Anthony Rofino
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 20:27:09

      Katrina, I like that you brought up the issue of social status. I feel like it is very important to take this into account when considering resiliency. However, I think it could go either way. Those in lower social status might have tighter familial bonds, which can be very important. Some families in higher social statuses may have parents who are always working to maintain said status, thus not providing adequate support to their child

      Reply

  12. Paige Hartmann
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 18:44:28

    Resilience is defined as “accomplishing positive developmental outcomes in the face of adversity” (Sandler et al., 1997, p. 5). Individuals who are resilient possess high degrees of self-efficacy, as they are able to overcome obstacles that individuals with low degrees of self-efficacy would be unable to conquer, or even attempt. Sources of resilience are believed to be linked to a child’s own characteristics, the relationship between the child and the caregiver, and the degree of support the child has from community resources. Since some children are inherently more resilient than their peers, too much of a focus on resiliency can have a negative outcome. Children who are less resilient to adverse events or situations will be categorized as lazy in comparison to their peers who are more resilient, which will have a negative impact on the child.

    The “stress framework” consists of environmental stressors, appraisal of stressors as a threat to one’s well-being, and coping strategies/social resources to manage or change the situation. The components of the stress framework interact to determine how stressful a situation is for an individual and how the stress will affect the individual. Over time, the individual’s beliefs and behaviors will change in their approach to future stressful events or situations. Environmental stressors can vary between individuals, as one individual may appraise a situation to be stressful while another may not. Whether or not the stressor is perceived to be positive or negative, an individual’s degree of coping strategies will determine how much the stressor will affect the individual. An individual with many coping skills will be able to handle a stressor better than an individual with few coping skills, who may not be able to handle the stressor.

    Reply

    • Angela Vizzo
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 21:10:09

      Paige, I really like how you discuss the different sources of resilience. I think it is important to note how transactional resilience can be, and the different sources of resilience illustrate that nicely. Also, linking resilience to self-efficacy was a good point too.

      Reply

  13. Amanda Thomas
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 19:06:51

    Resilience is accomplishing positive developmental outcomes in the face of adversity. Sources of resiliency stem from child characteristics, relationships w care givers, and support from extra familial community resources.

    Too much focus on resiliency, in regard to child functioning, can lead some to view these perhaps less resilient children as lazy.

    Environmental stressors involve stressful events that occur in a child’s environment. The interpretation of these events is referred to as appraisal. The coping strategies or resources are the means the child has to overcome the event. This framework encompasses all of the facets in a child’s life. Each effects the other as well as the child.

    Reply

  14. Amanda Thomas
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 19:49:00

    Resilience is accomplishing positive developmental outcomes in the face of adversity. Sources of resiliency stem from child characteristics, relationships w care givers, and support from extra familial community resources.

    Too much focus on resiliency, in regard to child functioning, can lead some to view these perhaps less resilient children as lazy.

    Environmental stressors involve stressful events that occur in a child’s environment. The interpretation of these events is referred to as appraisal. The coping strategies or resources are the means the child has to overcome the event. This framework encompasses all of the facets in a child’s life in regard to how they respond to an event. the child’s environment, appraisal, and resources are contingent upon one another and impact the child level of resiliency.

    Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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