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Introduction to adolescent mental health
Introduction to adolescent mental health

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3 Born or made resilient?

Not all children and young people will be affected by the effects of adversity, which begs the question: what are the protective factors, and what enables some young people to be resilient? The common assumption is that resilience arises from dynamic interactions between genetic predisposition and a person’s life experience. From the mid-20th century, academics, psychologists and psychiatrists have been studying resilience in young people, identifying innate protective factors, for example optimism and creativity, combined with external protective factors, chiefly the support they receive from those who care for them (Richardson, 2002). Neuroscience has opened a window on what happens in the brain in adversity and in the development of resilience. You’ll look at this next.