In the wake of experiencing child maltreatment, children and adolescents have to make their way back to normalcy in a pace that works for them. Their resiliency, among other things, aids those affected by child maltreatment, or any other form of abuse, violence, or maltreatment. Resiliency gets them to a state of being that creates a feeling of safety and security with their surroundings and with themselves. This blog post will go over what ensures positive steps forward, as outlined in our Mental Health Issues of Child Maltreatment textbook.
For circumstances of child maltreatment, resiliency refers to adaptability to a favorable outcome despite adversity. The favorable outcome could be going back to before the traumatic event occurred or something entirely new. Resiliency depends on a number of variables, which includes individual traits and his/her interactions with others and their environment.
Resilience varies through time and it can be learned. Intelligence and temperament are among the individual traits that can influence the outcome. However, other risk factors and vulnerabilities should be considered when assessing recovery time from maltreatment.
Risk factors after child maltreatment that affect resiliency refers to the predisposition to psychopathology or decreased favorable outcomes. Family stressors and the environment can have negative outcomes, making them risk factors. Risk factors can include mentally ill parents, living in poor or violent communities, and low economic status, on top of the trauma of child maltreatment. In contrast, vulnerability is the negative results that occur after exposure to trauma.
On the other side of the spectrum, protective factors are all attributes that help increase resiliency. This includes intelligence, social cognitive abilities, easygoing temperament, the ability to control emotions and adapt to change, problem-solving skills, genetic attributes, and peer relationships.
The best way to help someone experiencing or has experienced child maltreatment is to be supportive in every step of their recovery.