Abstract: A Systematic Review of the Resiliency Scales for Children and Adolescents (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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628P A Systematic Review of the Resiliency Scales for Children and Adolescents

Sunday, January 15, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Savarra Kathleen Howry, MSW, PhD Student, Florida State University
Michael Killian, PhD, Associate Professor, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Background and Purpose: The concept of resilience has been utilized in research concerning youth and their ability to overcome stressors and achieve successful outcomes. The Resiliency Scales for Children and Adolescents (RSCA) was created based on developmental theory and three resiliency factors of individual attributes, family qualities, and supportive systems outside of the family unit. The RSCA consists of three subscales: Sense of Self-Mastery (MAS), Sense of Relatedness (REL), and Emotional Reactivity (REA). Since its development, the RSCA has been increasingly used in research with both youth in community-based care and those in residential care settings. As attention and research on factors mitigating poor outcomes in childhood have increased, a comprehensive review of this measure is timely and needed. The purpose of this review was to identify the empirical literature that has assessed resiliency among children and adolescents in residential care using the RSCA and review the psychometric evidence for the use of this measure in this population.

Methods: A systematic search and review of research literature reporting use and results of the RSCA with samples of youth in residential care was conducted. Databases were searched included the terms (“resiliency scales for children and adolescents” OR “resiliency scales for children & adolescents” OR “RSCA”). Inclusion and exclusion criteria were designed to concentrate the review efforts on studies that involved youth aged 0 to 19 years of age who were sampled while in residential treatment or residential care and their resiliency factors were measured using the RSCA. The original search yielded 374 articles which were entered into systematic review management software for title/abstract screening and full-text review.

Results: Six studies were included in the final review having met all inclusion criteria. The factor validity of the RSCA was confirmed in one study. Use of the RSCA in clinical samples found seclusion was correlated with scores on the REA subscale and its use was validated for measuring change in resiliency due to intervention. Two studies of juvenile offenders used the RSCA to profile youth according to their resiliency characteristics. Half of the studies reported “excellent” Cronbach alphas for the three subscales: MAS (α=.91-.92), REL (α=.92-.94 ), and REA (α=.91-.94). Inter-rater reliability and test-retest reliability were not reported in five of the six studies with administrator inconsistency cited as a reason for lack of reporting and inter-rater reliability was reported slightly above the recommended threshold in the remaining study.

Conclusions and Implications: Among the studies reviewed, the RSCA was found to have excellent internal consistency reliability on all subscales among youth in residential care settings when measured. Results of this study suggest that the RSCA is a reliable instrument to use when determining resiliency profiles among youth in juvenile justice settings and the RSCA may also be used with clinical samples to measure changes in resiliency over time. Future research is needed to further examine the validity of the RSCA among youth in residential care and to examine psychometric properties with total scores on the RSCA in addition to subscale scores.