A comparison of youth resilience across seven South African sites

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33 Citations (Scopus)


The resilience of children and youth is an increasingly important area of research. Young people growing up in distressed communities, characterized by poverty, crime and family troubles, are particularly vulnerable. Resilience can assist these young people in navigating through these challenges towards independent living, particularly as they transition out of adolescence and into young adulthood. Children in South Africa are almost universally vulnerable, but children growing up in residential care facilities and children from poverty-stricken communities are particularly in need of resilience. This quantitative study of 575 South African children compared their resilience in terms of individual, family and community protective factors across seven sites, including child and youth care centres, schools in poor communities and schools in middle-class suburban communities. Contrary to expectations, the study found that children in one of the children's homes and one of the poor communities had the highest levels of resilience. Moreover, all but one of the sites scored very high on at least one of the resilience variables, suggesting unique profiles of resilience across the sites. Practice implications for child and family social work are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-235
Number of pages10
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • children in care
  • poverty
  • resilience
  • school
  • young people

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health (social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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