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Resilience and Vulnerability- Adaptation in the Context of Childhood Adversities

There is nothing particularly controversial about the statement that health is more than the mere absence of disease. Positive adaptation, overall well-being, and functional competence are all elements woven into our understanding of what it means to be healthy. This clarity of terms, however, has not necessarily translated smoothly into the arena of psychology.

With this new collection, however, superbly edited by Suniya Luthar of Teachers College at Columbia University, the field of psychological resilience has reached a new level of clarity and sophistication. Not only are the processes underlying resilience made explicit and clear (in a way that invites one to think of the book as a psychological counterpart to a textbook of human physiology), but its empirical building blocks are included as integral components. Nothing has gone to waste here: each empirical finding supports a larger concept, and no concept-no matter how small-is made in the absence of solid research backing.

This article, written by Andrés Martin, M.D., M.P.H., and Wanjiku Njoroge, M.D., appeared in the August 2005 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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