Resilience and Protective Factors in Adolescence: An Autobiographical Perspective from Disadvantaged Youth

Paul R. Smokowski, Arthur J. Reynolds, Nikolaus Bezruczko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


This article focuses on the development of adolescent resilience and protective factors within a sample of 86 inner-city high school students in Chicago. Resilience was considered present when (a) children living in conditions of risk (b) show better-than-predicted outcomes (c) presumably due to some intervening process. Conditions (a) and (b) were met using quantitative comparisons. Condition (c), the intervening process, was examined using autobiographical essays to begin to understand protective factors youth consider salient in overcoming adversity. Internal attributes such as perseverance, determination, and having the awareness to learn from the risk-attrition process surfaced in the content analyses. Motivational support from family members and teachers was also highly valued for promoting successful adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-448
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of school psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Preparation of this paper was supported by National Research Service Administration Predoctoral fellowship award (MH12020-01) funded by NIMH, and Chicago Longitudinal Study grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R29HD34294), the Office of Educational Research Improvement (R306F60055) and the University of Wisconsin–Madison Graduate School.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Ethnography
  • Inner-city youth
  • Protective factors
  • Qualitative methods
  • Resilience


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