During the 1970s, the concept of invulnerabable or stress-resistant children became popular, based on the belief that some children have such a tough mental disposition that they are impervious to stress.
Researchers now realize that resilient children do not possess mysterious or unique traits and that even children who show remarkable successes dealing with stress will experience setbacks in different domains and at different times.
The most surprising conclusion that has emerged from studies of resilient children is the ordinariness of the phenomenon. Resilience is common and comes into being naturally so long as children’s inherent protective systems are not compromised.
Researchers now understand that resilient children have retained or secured resources that counteract threats to their development and promote competence. Three sets of factors have been implicated in this process: personal attributes of the children, aspects of their families, and characteristics of their wider social environments. Today, resilience research is focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying these protective factors.