Children's physical resilience outcomes: Meta-analysis of vulnerability and protective factors

Jennifer Lavoie*, Liane C. Pereira, Victoria Talwar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Resilience has generally been understood as positive coping and adaptation despite stress and adversity and as a buffer against stress. Researchers examining resilience have typically focused on children's psychological resilience because of the well-established impact of stress on children's mental health. However, although it has also been well-established that high levels of stress can impact children's physical health, their physical health has received little attention in resilience research. Eligibility criteria Articles were selected for review if they (1) had a variable that was in some way a measure of physical health in response to a psychosocial stressor; (2) had participants who were children or adolescents within the age range of 4–18 years; and (3) were a peer-reviewed, empirical study. Sample Two random-effect meta-analyses were conducted with a sample of 12,772 participants across 14 studies to determine the influence of protective and vulnerability factors on children's physical health in adverse experiences. Results Protective factors had a moderate effect and vulnerability factors had a small–moderate effect on health measures across domains of physiological, sleep behavior, and overall health. The type of health measure moderated the effect size for vulnerability factors, but not for protective factors. Conclusions These findings suggest that protective factors may be associated with an environment that encourages children to thrive, as apparent by their physical health. Implications The results of this review and meta-analysis can be used to guide the methodological design of future studies on childhood resilience and to inform clinical practice with children and adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-711
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of pediatric nursing
Volume31
Issue number6
Early online date25 Aug 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016

Keywords

  • children
  • health
  • protective factors
  • resilience
  • vulnerability factors

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