Case Study

Promoting Protective Factors and Resilience in Children and Adolescents

“It is never too late to build resilience.”

Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University (2018)

Adam’s brother left home last year, putting the 12-year-old “in charge” of two younger siblings every weekend while their mother pulls double shifts at work. Their father is in the military and stationed overseas.

Adam confides during the private segment of his Texas Health Steps preventive medical checkup that he’s tired of preparing meals, cleaning up, and keeping “the little kids” occupied. He feels ignored and underappreciated by his mother and resents not having a smartphone like his friends. His attitude about school, friends, and family is suffering. “I’m stuck at home while everyone else is having fun. What’s the point?”

Resilience can help Adam navigate this stressful situation and prepare him for the future.

“Life will certainly provide the ‘opportunities’ to walk through stressful circumstances, but parents and other support systems – including pediatricians – must ensure that the child has the protective factors in place to prevent long-term negative outcomes. These protective factors include parental resilience, social connections, concrete/tangible help in times of need, parent knowledge of child development, and social and emotional competence of the child”

American Academy of Pediatrics (2018).
portrait of boy
12 years

Click below to explore four best practices that promote resilience.

Educate the family.

Emphasize self-efficacy and perceived control.

Offer support and expertise.

Consider case management or care coordination.

Why It Matters

Resilience, the ability to overcome hardship, helps children and adolescents reach their full potential and lead healthy and productive lives. You can help youths and their families build resilience by talking about what to do, working together to solve problems, emphasizing a family’s strengths, and reminding them to stay hopeful in difficult times. Learn more by enrolling in the related courses listed below.

Related Courses

About Texas Health Steps

Texas Health Steps’ award-winning online program offers FREE CE courses for primary care providers and other health professionals. These courses offer updated clinical, regulatory, and best practice guidelines for a range of preventive health, oral health, mental health, and case management topics.