How People Learn to Become Resilient
Norman Garmezy, a developmental psychologist and clinician at the University of Minnesota, met thousands of children in his four decades of research. But one boy in particular stuck with him. He was nine years old, with an alcoholic mother and an absent father. Each day, he would arrive at school with the exact same sandwich: two slices of bread with nothing in between. At home, there was no other food available, and no one to make any. Even so, Garmezy would later recall, the boy wanted to make sure that “no one would feel pity for him and no one would know the ineptitude of his mother.” The boy with the bread sandwich was part of a special group of children. Resilience presents a challenge for psychologists. Environmental threats can come in various guises. Prior to Garmezy’s work on resilience, most research on trauma and negative life events had a reverse focus. In 1989 a developmental psychologist named Emmy Werner published the results of a thirty-two-year longitudinal project.
• Resilient People
• Research Ideas