Milgram N.A. and Palti G. (1993): “Psychosocial Characteristics of Resilient Children”

JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN PERSONALITY 27, 207-221 (1993)

NORMAN A. MILGRAM AND GILDA PALTI

Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, Israel .

High- and low-achieving boys (N = 52), grades 1-8, in a culturally disadvantaged community in Israel were compared on a number of personality characteristics. Initial group assignment by school principals was based on academic achievement and was confirmed by teacher ratings of classroom learning behaviors. Independent ratings, obtained from teachers, community public health nurses, and the boys themselves, showed that the high achievers are superior on characteristics that enhance academic abilities, e.g., they take initiative, function autonomously, are reflective, alert, attentive to stimuli, self-confident, relaxed, and possess high frustration tolerance and low manifest anxiety. They are also superior on characteristics that facilitate seeking and attracting social support from peers and adults, e.g., they make friends easily with age peers and adults, help others, received in the past and continue to receive more attention and concern in their homes, and are more likely to enjoy positive relationships with family members and people outside the immediate family. These assets were not attributed to differences in biological vulnerability or early developmental history, or to adverse life experiences because intergroup differences on these variables were not obtained. @ 1993 Academic Press, Inc.

Resilient children are defined as children who cope well considering the environmental stressors and deprivations to which they were exposed during their formative years. The research literature on these children has been based primarily on investigations of Western children (American and English) at risk for psychiatric disorder and to a lesser extent at risk for poor scholastic achievement (Anthony, 1974; Fisher, Kokes, Cole, Perkins, & Wynne, 1987; Garmezy, 1981; Garmezy, Masten, & Tellegen, 1984; Masten, Morrison, Pelligrini, & Tellegen, in press; Rutter, 1979).

The authors thank the principals, teachers, nurses, and children of the community in which this research was conducted. Their cooperation is appreciated and their anonymity is preserved at their request. This paper was written by the first author and is based, in part, on a master's thesis written by the second author under the direction of the first. The first author was on sabbatical leave during 1990-1991 and served as Visiting Professor in the Department of Counselling and Educational Psychology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He wishes to acknowledge the support and cooperation of the Department during this period when he completed preparation of the manuscript for publication.

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Copyright @ 1993 by Academic Press, Inc. All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.