Is Demography Really Destiny?
What accounts why some family members stay healthy and do well in the face of risk and
adversity and others do not?
Risk /Adversity Factors
Racism / Discrimination
Illness / Addiction /
Neglect / Crisis / Disaster
Abuse / Violence
“This capacity [of individuals and families to cope successfully] changes over time, and
is enhanced by protective factors in the individual /system and the environment, and
contributes to the maintenance of health.”
(Mangham, Reid, and Stewart, 1996)
Investigate the process by which families are able to adapt and function
competently following exposure to significant risk factors or crisis
Families most at risk – poverty, marital instability and family dysfunction
Overly Deterministic Theory
“Cognition, physical vitality and personality have strong basis in childhood. And yet,
children resist and bounce back from harmful experience, indicating ‘resilience’ and
‘plasticity’ in their functioning.”
Thinking More Complexly
How early, under what conditions, and how permanent are developmental failure
Are their ‘sensitive periods’ in early life which make children more or less
vulnerable to individual and environmental characteristics?
Thresholds in developmental failure may differ between people