Resilience is explored as both a universal and culturally specifi c aspect of positive development among children and youth when they are exposed to signifi cant levels of adversity. In this paper, the history of resilience research is outlined briefl y, followed by a discussion of an emerging understanding of resilience as a negotiated social ecological construct. Resilience is explained as dependent on the ability of the child’s environment to facilitate growth, including environmental mechanisms that affect gene expression. Two concepts are introduced to explain this interaction: navigation and negotiation. The better young people are able to navigate to the resources they require for mental health, the more likely they are to develop well. Likewise, the more they are able to negotiate for these resources to be provided in culturally relevant ways, the more likely resources are to contribute to positive development. Seven aspects of resilience are explored and the complexity of their interactions shown. Qualitative data from a mixed methods eleven country study of resilience is also presented to illustrate the multiple factors that infl uence children’s navigations and negotiations for the resources necessary to nurture resilience. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of this understanding of resilience to research and clinical practice.
Keywords: Resilience, culture, social ecologies, positive development, research methods.