Abstract: Ecological Models of Community-Oriented Variables As the Prediction of Childhood Resilience (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

233P Ecological Models of Community-Oriented Variables As the Prediction of Childhood Resilience

Friday, January 14, 2022
Marquis BR Salon 6, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Vinod Srivastava, Ph.D., MSW, MPhil, LCSW, Assistant Professor, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS
Background and purpose:

Problems associated with childhood trauma, such as neurodevelopmental disorder, trauma and stress-related disorders, substance use disorder, externalizing and internalizing disorders, academic problems, and delinquent behaviors, have increased despite growing trauma and translational research. Children depend on their caregivers to feel safe from the outside world and regulate their affect in the nurturing home environment to focus on mastering competencies.

Experiencing maltreatment and victimization within the primary caregiving system without a caregiver's safety net to feel safe disrupt their ability to self-regulate, self-soothe, and live consistently in hyperarousal mode due to fear of the outside world as well as proximity to abusive caregivers in the home environment, which overwhelm their behavioral, emotional, psychological, neurological, social, and biological systems. As a result, children entering the child protective service system may have complex needs given the nature of the maltreatment, the child's immediate environment, and perpetrator(s). Studies show that children's maltreatment affects their affective stability, relationships, mental health, self-perception and increases the risk of suicidal ideation, suicidal behavior, and psychopathologies (Cook et al., 2005; Humphreys & Zeanah, 2015).

Children's trauma experiences are mostly interpersonal and nested in their immediate environment involving their caregivers. The exigency of the current situation demands a change in focus to help children overcome challenges and adversities by strengthening the resilience-building process and helping them utilizing functional strengths of the environment for sustainable outcomes.


The study used a federally funded project's dataset, Poly-victimization & Resilience Portfolios: Advancing the Science of Resilience Following Children's Exposure to Violence, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee, 2016-2018 (Hamby, 2019). This study's goals were to investigate how ecological community-oriented variables can strengthen resilience-building processes of adaptive abilities and skills based on cognitive, behavioral, and motivational principles and moderate the progression of risks in children, adolescents, and young adults ages 10 and 21. This study used a large the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NCJAD) and hierarchical multiple regression analyses for data analysis.


The results of this study revealed that the ecological models comprising several community-oriented variables, such as community support, geographical neighborhood, teacher engagement, spiritual well-being, school environment, and social support received, determine a child's resilience by strengthening specific personalistic characteristics such as impulse control, emotional regulation, relational motivation, and self-reliance.

Implications and Conclusion:

This study shows the importance of ecological variables in promoting resilience-building adaptive abilities/skills in children, adolescents, and young adults to help overcome setbacks and stress, sustain competence, and adapt to foster self-efficacy, self-regulation, and ability to problem-solve. Additionally, the qualitative importance of the environment is demonstrated by the results of this study. The study explains and discusses the implications of the research outcomes for social workers working in child welfare and school settings. Spirituality, theistic and non-theistic, as environmental components, have been discussed and explained along with other environmental factors to enhance the functional strengths of the environment in promoting resilience in children, adolescents, and young adults.