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Lecture 6


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Health Studies
Jason Ramsay

LECTURE 6: Chaos and Resilience in Child Development June 18, 2012 Chaos -chaos is a fast-paced environment that is: hard to define, out of our control shifts and changes rapidly, defies routinization, gives random or confusing feedback -chaos can involve the childs: neighbourhood physical environment, neighbourhood social environment, family structure, pattern of attachments of their life, lack of routines, lack of people to rely on/or regular activities, transience in school -chaos can be located in child, family, neighbourhood or an interaction of all of the above -chaotic environments are usually described as overstimulating however no chaos, structure, predictability and routine can be chaotic in a sense as well -chaos might also involve environments that are chronically under-stimulating or events and happenings that are so routine that there is so little interaction or novelty that the developing brain stagnates terrible LACK of input -this can be termed extreme neglect (as in the Romanian orphans) -or perhaps a too ordered existence regardless of SES -chaos can be graphed by a curvilinear curve (like optimal theory curve) -the opposite of chaos is the point that defines the top of the curvethe midpoint between being underwhelmed and overwhelmed -that difference could be called manageable challenge can call it dynamism -childs relationship with their environment must be dynamic (argument is rooted in Bronfennbrenner) Resilience -much of social science has been concerned with predicting negative outcomes: poverty, maladjustment, development of psychopathology (or deviance for the sociology majors), development of disease (for the medically minded) -the idea of resilience came out of several lines of research: poverty research, stress research, positive psychology, family research, trauma research, Emmy Werner of the Kauai longitudinal study was one of the first to use the word resilience to describe overcoming ones upbringing to succeed in life -example: -Martin Seligman performed an experiment on dogs: dogs put in locked cage, given a mild shock, initial reaction is to escape, but door is locked he did this to each animal dozens of times and eventually they stopped trying to escape -Seligman than changed a parameter: he opened the door and most dogs still took the shock they did not try to escape and they showed learned helplessness -Seligman argued that this was a behaviouristic model for depression also a model for how poverty reinforces behaviours that reinforce poverty -25 years later however, Seligman acknowledged that a small but significant minority of dogs bolted once the door was open, no matter how many times they were shocked with the door closed he decided to focus on this aspect of the behaviour -optimism and resilience: -Seligman argued that resilience was founded in optimism -optimism is about explanatory style: it is not events in the world that matter, but how we explain those events to ourselves -rooted in Banduras Social Learning theory and in Becks Cognitive Therapy -he authored a very influential booked called The Optimistic Child -some definitions of resilience from Condly: -success in meeting tasks, the maintenance and orientation of homeostasis and functionally optimal adaptation -the ability to thrive in the face of obstacles or adverse circumstances -ability to overcome adversity or trauma -Gamezys Three Factors: -Gamexy (1991): research on children of schizophrenic mothers -the first factor deals with the individual and includes such elements as native intelligence and temperament -the second concerns the family and the degree of support it can give to the child -the third is the external support from persons and institution outside the individual and the family that can assist both the child and the family -individual factors: -intelligence/cognitive ability: -childs ability to excel at practical cognitive activity (scholastic intelligence or economic intelligence) -childs ability to excel at social cognitive activity (interpersonal intelligency) -childs ability to problem solve and self-regulate (emotional intelligence) -temperament: -how the child reacts to events in the world -somewhat like emotional intelligence -high freak-out threshold -stays calm during stressful times -easy to manage as a baby -intelligence: -low average to below average intelligence a major risk factor (below 85) -theory that high performing children are rewarded in school -however, a high IQ is not in and of itself protective -research also indicates that IQ is correlated with neuroticism or the tendency to engage in anxious behaviours and suffer depression -locus of control: -many researchers have examined locus of control: -the worst attribution style is: things are outside of my control, things will never change, nothing I can do will change them -this characterizes someone with an external locus of control sets stage for despair as opposed to adaptation -resilience and locus: -research shows that resilient children have: -an internal locus of control -delay gratification well -have good planning and organization skills -experience more positive emotions -have good interpersonal skills -sense of self-efficacy -resilience comes from: primary relationships within family, network of relationships with adults and children outside of family, competence and achievement LECTURE 6 SUPPLEMENTARY READING (a): Resilience in children: A review of literature with implications for education Condly-when exposed to the multiple stressors of poverty, children typically do not do well ins chool, are more likely to be delinquent in later years, have more and greater marital and occupational problems -children who not only survive but thrive in hostile environments are resilient -resilience is the interaction of a child with trauma/toxic environment in which success as judged by societal norms, is achieved by virtue of childs abilities, motivations and support systems Danger and Survival -in todays society, there has been increases in child poverty, drug use, violence and abuse; declines in academic performance and fundamental changes in discipline -no one factors is sufficient to pose a significant risk to childs development and behaviour there is cumulative effect -i.e. there was a precipitous drop in verbal IQ where there were three or more risk factors -multiple risk factors i.e. single parenthood, parental rigidity, lack of community support for the child and family and economic pressures have negative effects on children Theoretical Perspectives -in order for a theory to be a success it must accurately define and operationalize the terms -resilience = enduring characteristic of person, situational or temporal interaction between person and context and can be applied to social, academic or other settings -success in meeting tasks and expectations, maintenance and orientation of homeostasis and functionally optimal adaptation, ability to thrive in face of obstacles/adverse circumstances -three factors (Gamezy) that constitutes resilience in children and adults: 1) deals with individual and includes elements such as native intelligence and temperament 2) family and degree of support it can give child 3) external support
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