This study examines the level of resilience in two cohorts of primary-school aged children in fourth and sixth classes. The study was conducted in two areas which have been designated as disadvantaged and are also currently participating locations in the Area Based Childhood (ABC) programme- the Programme was designed in 2013 by the Government to address area-based disadvantage and to promote children’s health and well-being.
Evidence suggests that many children who grow up in areas exposed to adversity do not develop behavioural problems as a result of their experience of adversity. These children could be considered ‘resilient’, that is they demonstrate “positive adaption... despite experiences of significant adversity” (Luthar et al., 2000, p.1). The adversity, or ‘chronic stressors’, which research on resilience has typically focused on includes socio-economic disadvantage and associated risks, parental mental illness, maltreatment, urban poverty and community violence, chronic illness, and catastrophic life events (Luthar et al. 2000).
This study involved 555 children, of which over 49% (n=276) were in fourth class while 50% (n=279)1 were in sixth class. Resilience was measured through the use of the abridged twelve-question version of the self-reporting Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM-12). This measure was created by the International Resilience project and takes a socio-ecological approach to the measurement of resilience (Liebenberg et al., 2013).
The mean scores for the fourth class (M=20.38, SD=2.92, Range=8-24) and sixth class (M=20.20, SD=2.83, Range=10-24) cohorts indicated high resilience score across the sample assessed. Our findings indicated that there was no statistical significant variation between the two cohorts of children. There was no statistical significant variation between girls and boys in fourth class, [t (257=.440, p>.05]. However, in sixth class, girls’ average score was statistically significantly higher than boys’ average score, [t (265.642= -2.402, p<.05].
Our findings show that the children assessed were resilient. Whilst no statistical significant difference was found in the average scores of girls and boys in fourth class, there was a statistically significant difference in average score across gender in sixth class where girls scored higher than boys. Further studies need to focus on exploring variables that may interact with children’s resilience.