Childhood resilience to adversity




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Word count

1500 words

The word count includes all words from the beginning of the Policy Brief (excluding the title) to the end of the considerations for policy section. Included in the word count are all in-text citations. The Reference List is NOT included in the word count.



Childhood resilience to adversity

In your skeleton brief, you saw that many children are exposed to adverse life events which can have serious developmental consequences. Adverse life events are often unavoidable, but negative outcomes for children are not. Not all children exposed to trauma or loss experience serious or long term developmental consequences (Throits, 2006). Rather, many children exhibit resilience, a “relative resistance to environmental risk experiences, or the overcoming of stress or adversity” (Rutter, 2006, p. 1). In this assignment, you will build on your knowledge of the nature and outcomes of adversity in childhood to create a policy brief on building resilience in children. You will use the information from your skeleton policy brief, as well as research that you will undertake in the area of resilience to complete a full-scale policy brief.


Please use APA format.

Assignment task

The following sections should be included in your Policy Brief in the order presented below:

POLICY BRIEF Title of your brief

Executive Summary (5 marks, ~150 words): The executive summary is the opening paragraph that highlights the purpose and importance of your brief. You should provide an overview of the issues to be covered in your brief, and the implications of these issues. There is no ‘heading’ for the Executive Summary. This section is a little like an Abstract in an essay or lab report.
Statement of issue: At the end of your executive summary, provide a statement of the issue/problem being addressed in your policy brief. The statement comes immediately after the executive summary, is brief (i.e., one or two sentences) and is not labelled with a title.

The body of the brief is then set out in four sections, each of which is headed with the titles provided (see bolded and underlined headings below).

Why is this issue important? (10 marks, ~150 words) – The aim of this section is to alert the reader to the seriousness of the problem and the potential implications of the problem. It is intended to orient the reader rather than provide detailed information (the information you provide here will be unpacked in detail in the following section, with appropriate references). This section is a little like a brief Introduction section of an essay in which you outline the main points to be covered in the body of the essay (in this case, ‘the body’ is the section titled ‘What does the research tell us?).

In this section provide a general overview of:

1.                The developmental outcomes associated with adversity in childhood;

2.                How adversity might impact children;

3.                What resilience is and how knowledge of resilience is important in mitigating the impact of adversity on children.


What does the research tell us? (total 40 marks, ~750words)

This is the section of your policy brief that will receive the most scrutiny and attract the most marks. In this section you will unpack the general statements made in the previous section, (ensuring you reference your sources of information. Please do not use secondary sources – you are expected to find the original sources of information in this assignment). This section may incorporate information from your skeleton brief, but note that you are expected to go well beyond the resources provided therein. In AT1, you developed your knowledge of adversity by presenting brief information from sources provided for you, and you used your understanding of theory (emotional development) to explain children’s responses to adversity. In this assessment, you will demonstrate your ability to conduct a thorough review of the literature and to integrate and explain the evidence (rather than simply list factors or provide a figure), and in particular examine resilience as a protective factor. In this section (and throughout the brief) you are welcome to use examples of particular types of adversity (this may also assist with your literature review). Higher marks are achieved through better explanation of the research.

Please note that this section requires you to provide:

       i.            EVIDENCE (i.e., empirical evidence which includes providing details of your sources of evidence – no evidence/references = no marks), and

      ii.            EXPLANATION. It is not enough to provide a list of evidence; you must use the evidence to link adversity to outcomes with modifiable risk factors.

What is the urgency of the problem and who is affected? (10 marks) Provide evidence and explanation about:

a.The types and prevalence of adversity in childhood;

b.                The range of negative developmental outcomes that may arise as a result of facing adversity in childhood (creating a sense of urgency by explaining that this is a big problem because (a) it affects lots of people and (b) it has negative consequences);

c.        Who is at risk of these undesirable outcomes.

2.                How does adversity cause particular outcomes? (15 marks) Provide evidence and explanation of the factors that affect how children respond to adversity? Suggest a model that explains responses to adversity and considers a variety of factors such as individual, familial, and broader social factors. Your model should include and represent the relationships between: risk factors for negative outcomes; adversity; processes that cause negative outcomes; and potential negative outcomes. You may like to represent your model as a figure: see, for example, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model, or you may choose to create a flow chart showing how different factors contribute to the child’s response.

3.                Some children are resilient to adversity. Provide evidence and explanation about (15 marks):

a.                        Factors that protect children from negative outcomes in the face of adversity; and

b.                        The ways that resilience may arise in children (i.e. how do children ‘become’ resilient)?

What are the implications of the research? (10 marks, ~150 words)

In this section you will briefly summarise

(a) What causes responses to adversity (i.e. your model),

(b) the role of resilience as a protective factor, and

direct the reader to the settings in which intervention programs could occur (see the different ‘settings’ (physical or otherwise) that arose in your model). This helps orient the reader to focus on the modifiable factors that could be targeted for intervention, and anticipate the nature of the recommendations that you will make to address the problem in the next section. This section will be brief but powerful.

Policy Recommendations (15 marks, ~300 words)

1. Examine one program available (anywhere in the world) that seeks to address adverse responses to adversity in childhood. Briefly outline the program and critique it (i.e. based what you’ve found in your brief, what do you suspect works, and what may be problematic (or could be improved) about the program?).


2. Provide two recommendations for policy to help address adverse responses to childhood adversity. These should flow clearly from the body of your brief (and your critique above) and should be specific enough such that it is clear how they are to be implemented. It is not enough to recommend that ‘parents should be educated’. In order to be useful, your recommendation needs to include ways of achieving this goal. For example, if you want to suggest parenting classes, you will need to (a) have shown previously that parents currently lack this skill/knowledge, and (b) explain what parents should be taught, who should be targeted, and how they can participate.


As well as APA formatted in-text references, provide your end-of-text reference list.


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