Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada
The International Resilience Project brings together leaders in the field of resilience research from different disciplines and cultural backgrounds, and with methodological diverse approaches to study how children and youth cope with the many challenges they face in life. Represented are experts from the fields of social work, psychiatry, health statistics and measurement, psychology, medical anthropology, education, medicine, and epidemiology.
The International Resilience Project aims to develop research methods appropriate to the study of health related phenomena in at-risk child and youth populations in different cultural contexts. The project also attempts to address the arbitrariness in the selection of outcome variables that are chosen to study resilient youth, as has been problematic in the past with other resilience research.
Through the involvement of youths and elders, the IRP looks at the individual, interpersonal, family, community and cultural factors associated with resilience among youths, aged 12-19. The age of the youth may vary across sites as each community decides for itself the most appropriate age of the young people involved. However, across all sites we are talking with youth who are making the transition to adulthood. The study looks at youth who are doing well and those who are not doing well as defined by their communities. These youth are going through a crucial transition period and both groups face similar kinds of risks, such as homelessness, addiction, abuse, mental illness, etc. They are also interviewing older people who have struggled through their youth about how they survived and thrived, what makes it possible for someone in their community to maintain their well-being, and how they define resilience. In order to do this research we look for participants, both youth and elders, who can either fill out a questionnaire, participate in an interview, talk about their lives, or some combination of all these activities.
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