Over two decades ago, researchers established that children of psychologically-disordered parents were more poorly adjusted than children of mentally healthy parents. The study of resilience followed as researchers realized that some children flourished in the midst of adversity.
Resilience can be thought of as a person’s capacity to tolerate negative experiences. Protective factors and risk factors are related constructs which respectively reduce and aggravate the effects of these experiences.
Evidence of a protective factor is found when an individual who possesses a specific characteristic responds more favourably to a risk than an individual who lacks the characteristic. For example, children with easier temperaments may be less influenced by variations in parenting quality than children with more difficult temperaments.