Risk and Resilience in Adolescence

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Within psychology adolescence is described as a period of transition from childhood to adulthood. It is a period between year twelve and late teens, when the physical growth is complete, the person becomes sexually mature and establishes identity (Nolen-Hoeksema, Friedricson, Loftus & Wagenaar, 2009). During this period of development, the individual has to face several risk factors, which are considered as a hazard on normal psychological development of an individual (Colman, 2009). This means, that experiencing them is associated with vulnerability, developing mental health problems and problematic behaviors such as for instance greater risk taking, school related deviance and school failure, teen pregnancy, substance misuse, aggression, violence or vandalism or in other words delinquency and antisocial behavior (Perkins & Borden, 2003). Therefore risk factors have a potential not just endanger the present developmental period, but also jeopardize the future biological and psychological development (Beam, Gill-Rivas, Greenberger & Chen, 2002; Perkins & Borden, 2003). However, not all young individual will respond to risk factors by developing negative outcomes. Some develop resilience and adapt to changes and stressors (Crawford, 2006; Perkins & Borden, 2003). Furthermore it has been suggested, that risk factors are desirable for developing this kind of positive outcome (Fergus & Zimmerman, 2005). According to Fonagy et. al. (1994) (cited in Crawford, 2006) resilience can be defined as normal development under difficult conditions. It leads to overcoming and coping with the negative effects of exposure to risk factors (Fergus & Zimmerman, 2005). To maintain this, protective factors need to be put in place (Fergus & Zimmerman, 2...

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