Please note that there are two different conference venues:
June 14/15 - Century City Conference Centre
June 16 - Kirstenbosch Conference Centre (transportation available)

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Invited Symposia [clear filter]
Wednesday, June 14


Invited Symposium: Psycho-educational Risk and Resilience Factors of Children At-Risk - Jace Pillay, Nontsikelelo Rajuili-Masilo, Trishana Devi Soni, Charnee Beddy
Invited Symposium Summary
Psycho-educational Risk and Resilience Factors of Children At-Risk

Jace Pillay, Nontsikelelo Rajuili-Masilo, Trishana Devi Soni, Charnee Beddy
This symposium presents the findings of mixed methods research conducted with children experiencing various forms of vulnerabilities, such as, children orphaned because of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and young teenage mothers. The psycho-educational and social experiences of the children and youth are explored clearly indicating factors that put them at risk. More importantly, the resilience of some of them to survive against all odds are emphasised. Based on the findings recommendations are made on support interventions.

Invited Symposium Abstracts
The lived experiences of children from child-headed households: A closer look at resilience
Jace Pillay (University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
Introduction: This paper presents a vivid description of the psycho-educational and social experiences of children from child-headed households.
Methods: This qualitative study was conducted in a primary school that has an exceptionally large amount of learners who live in child-headed households. Data were collected from learners that were in grades 4 to 7. Their psycho-educational and social experiences in such households were collected through individual interviews, focus groups and questionnaires and analysed for content.
Findings: The findings indicate that the learners experience several psycho-educational problems by virtue of them living in child-headed households. However, the resilience of some of them to survive against all odds is strongly emphasised.

Socio-cultural factors that enhance resilience amongst intermediate orphaned learners in Soweto primary schools
Presenter: Nontsikelelo Rajuili-Masilo (University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
Introduction: The rate of orphan-hood is on the rise both nationally and internationally. As a consequence some children experience illnesses; poverty and hunger, internalized ailments such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem which often has a negative impact on them. Hence, a focus on their resilience is needed.
Methods: This study used a mixed methods approach to select both orphaned and non-orphaned learners in the intermediate phase of schooling that is Grades 4 to 6, from 15 primary schools in Soweto. Both groups of children were exposed to psycho-social and resilience measurements to compare their experiences. A group of children who scored high, as well as a group that scored low, were individually interviewed to, respectively, determine risk and resilience factors that could be used in designing relevant support interventions.
Findings: The study is in progress and the results will be shared at the conference.

An exploration of resilience among trainee teachers
Presenter: Trishana Devi Soni (University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
Introduction: This study aims at increasing awareness of the internal resources of resilience within an adolescent who heads a child-headed household and identifies additional personality strengths that could strengthen the individual during life’s challenges, particularly if external support were not always available.
Methods: A quantitative research approach will be used to explore the lived experiences of trainee teachers at a Higher Education institution in Gauteng, South Africa. The Child and Youth Resilience Measure - 28 (CYRM-28) will be used.  The CYRM-28 is a 28-item questionnaire that explores the resources (individual, relational, communal and cultural) that may bolster the resilience of youth aged 9- to 23-years-old. The measure was designed as part of the International Resilience Project, which was conducted by the Resilience Research Centre in collaboration with 14 communities in 11 countries around the world. The researcher wrote to the Centre and requested permission to use the questionnaire which was sent to the researcher.  The resilience scores for each participant can tell you what individual, relational and contextual resources surround him or her. The information can be used to help inform decisions on what supports could be added to bolster resilience in each trainee teacher’s life as they train to become inclusive education practitioners.
Findings: The research is currently being conducted with 3 groups of undergraduate trainee teachers and the results will be presented at the Conference.

The resilience of an adolescent learner who heads a child-headed household.
Presenter: Charnee Beddy (Lantern School, South Africa)
Introduction: This study aims at increasing awareness of the internal resources of resilience within an adolescent who heads a child-headed household and identifies additional personality strengths that could strengthen the individual during life’s challenges, particularly if external support were not always available.
Methods: A case study of one adolescent (pseudonym “Thandi”), was conducted through the collection of data on her internal resources as depicted by McGrath and Noble through an individual interview, collage and a self-administered questionnaire by her teachers reflecting her resilience. Data was subjected to content analysis to determine the themes and sub-themes that emerged.
Findings: The findings revealed that Thandi appeared to exhibit all the internal resources of resilience as identified by McGrath and Noble (2003). However, several additional themes emerged, which are indicative of the importance of context and culture for building resilience in vulnerable learners. 


Miss Charnee Beddy

I am an Educational Psychologist at Lantern School in Lindhaven Johannesburg.

Jace Pillay

University of Johannesburg

Trishana Devi Soni

University of Johannesburg

Wednesday June 14, 2017 13:00 - 14:30
Room 11 Century City Conference Centre


Invited Symposium: Co-producing resilience research - Angie Hart, Scott Dennis, Naydene de Lange, Mosna Khaile
Invited Symposium Summary
Co-producing resilience research

 Angie Hart, Scott Dennis, Naydene de Lange, Mosna Khaile
Chair: Angie Hart, Shahnaz Biggs
This symposium gives an overview of three exciting projects that are being coproduced by teams of young people with lived experience of adversity, academics, students and practitioners. We will share research findings and discuss some of the key approaches to co-productive resilience research that we have taken.

Invited Symposium Abstract
Piloting and evaluating resilience-building games and tools co-created by young people with lived experience of adversity, students, practitioners and academics
Scott Dennis (BoingBoing, UK), Ollie Gibbs, Josh Thompson, Shahnaz Biggs, Lisa Mills, Sharon Butler
Co-Authors: Anne Rathbone, Simon Duncan, Pauline Wigglesworth, Gabrielle Rowles, Lisa Buttery 
Introduction: A range of resilience building games have been co-developed by young people with complex needs, practitioners, academics and students, based on the Resilience Framework our group has developed (www.boingboing.org.uk). We have evaluated the main games developed and use this learning to improve our materials for many purposes.
Methods: The project ran from May 2015-April 2017 and data collected included individual qualitative feedback from children and young people, practitioners and parents playing the games. In addition, testing of the games at a whole class level was carried out in schools. A variety of methods was used to gain the feedback depending on the needs and preferences of the young people. The qualitative feedback was inputted into a qualitative data analysis programme where the results were then drawn out from the transcripts and coded using thematic analysis.
Findings: The results demonstrate the market for the resilience building games. We make concrete suggestions as co-researchers and co-designers on how the games might be improved, reflecting also on the co-production process.  Finally, the results inform the use of these games for co-productive data collection.

‘We are unsafe out on the streets, at home, we are not safe at all”: Young rural school girls taking action against sexual violence
Presenter: Naydene de Lange (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa)
Co-Authors: Lebo Moletsane, Claudia Mitchell, Nozinga Nyamakazi, Amahle Day 
Introduction: South Africa has an outstanding policy framework relating to sexual violence. However, this do not seem to halt the perpetration of sexual violence on the ground.  This study explores how participatory research initiatives (including digital media practices) with girls living in rural South Africa can inform practices, policies, programs and services related to their own safety, security and well-being.
Methods: Drawing on bell hooks’ work, we argue that a ‘research as intervention’ approach can potentiate the agency of rural school girls to challenge social conditions that make them vulnerable to sexual violence and to ultimately take action to address such violence in their schools and communities.  This qualitative study draws on participatory visual methodology. Methods include drawing, photovoice, digital storytelling, cellphilms, creating policy posters and action briefs to engage 21 school girls  . The study aimed to explore the girls’ lived experiences of sexual violence, and to identify the social factors that make them vulnerable in families and communities.
Findings: Findings suggest that girls can resist what appears to be the sexualisation of their bodies, and are able to claim back their right to safety through engagement with peers, policy makers and with the community. How the girls themselves might take action to address sexual violence is also explored.

Patterns of resilience among young people in a community affected by drought:  A co-productive research project exploring historical and contextual perspectives
Presenter: Mosna Khaile (University of Pretoria, South Africa)
Co-Authors: Liesel Ebersohn, Lisa Buttery, Various young people, Ruth Mampane, Linda Theron, Netsai Gwata
Introduction: The objective of this collaborative study between young people in South Africa, young people in the UK and academics in both countries is to understand better the complex relationships between drought, social-ecological systems and young people's resilience in South Africa. Drought is a slow-onset natural hazard that negatively impacts upon the social, economic, and environmental systems that affect young people's health and wellbeing
Methods: We are engaging in a series of co-produced arts-based activities to meet key study objectives (e.g. Body- mapping; Mmogo clay modelling). Workshops with South African participants are supporting them to collaborate further as co-researchers in order to interview community elders about how they manage drought and report back these conversations. A strategy to support the resilience of young people to drought-related challenges will be produced.  The South African youth researchers, assisted by three UK youth researchers will identify a creative medium of their choosing, through which to communicate their emergent resilience strategy to relevant stakeholders.
Findings: The study findings will reflect how drought severity is defined by young people and how to support young people and social ecological systems. It will also reflect on the co-productive process of this project. 


Shahnaz Biggs


Scott Dennis

avatar for Angie Hart

Angie Hart

University of Brighton / Boingboing
Angie Hart is Professor of Child, Family and Community Health at the University of Brighton and has been working on resilience research and practice for 10 years. She is an advisor to England’s Big Lottery Fund, Angie runs boingboing, a not for profit undertaking resilience research... Read More →

Mosna Khaile

University of Pretoria

Naydene de Lange

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

Wednesday June 14, 2017 14:30 - 16:00
Hall C Century City Conference Centre


Invited Symposium: Family resilience in theory and practice - Kristin Hadfield, Awie Greeff, Louise Yorke, Gilles Tremblay, Joshua Brisson and Igor Pekelny
Invited Symposium Summary
Family resilience in theory and practice
 Kristin Hadfield, Awie Greeff, Louise Yorke, Gilles Tremblay, Joshua Brisson and Igor Pekelny
This symposium will focus on how individuals and families adjust to challenging life events and structural adversity. We will outline new understandings of family resilience theory and provide a number of applied examples of how this concept can be used to inform research and practice. 

Invited Symposium Abstracts
Theoretical departures to unravel the complexities of family resilience
 Awie Greeff (University of Stellenbosch, South Africa)
Introduction: In this presentation I will give a brief account of two prominent and well-developed theories of family resilience. 
Methods: McCubbin and McCubbin (1996) developed over time the Resiliency Model of Family Stress, Adjustment and Adaptation, highlighting two key processes (adjustment and adaptation) and four domains of family functioning that are crucial for family protection and recovery: interpersonal relationships; development, well-being and spirituality; community relationships and nature; and structure and function. Walsh (2012), in her family resilience framework, identified three domains of family resilience, namely belief systems, organisational patterns and communication, and problem solving. The presentation will be concluded with an example of a recent research project, indicating the complementary value of a mixed methods study.
Findings: This presentation will review and comment on theories of family resilience and so splitting by introduction, methods, and findings is not appropriate]

The educational migration of rural girls in Ethiopia: How does a socio-ecological framework of resilience illuminate family and other influences?
Presenter: Louise Yorke (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)
Co-Authors: Robbie Gilligan
Introduction: This research follows the journeys of a group of girls in Southern Ethiopia as they migrate from rural to urban areas in search of education. Using a socio-ecological framework of resilience (Ungar, 2011), this presentation seeks to achieve a culturally relevant understanding of the lives of these rural girls, focusing 
Methods: On the relations between the girls and their families. The data is drawn predominantly from the accounts of a group of 27 rural girls (aged 15-19). A participatory approach was used to help participants to tell their stories. The perspectives of some key family members were also included. The presentation explores how rural girls navigate the barriers and challenges in their lives and the resources families provide at different stages on their education and migration pathways. It considers contribution the girls make to their households and the impact this has for them and their families.
Findings: relevant understanding of what it means to ‘do well’ in Ethiopia and explores how sometimes this can differ between family members. Overall, the research explores the relevance of a socio-ecological framework of resilience for understanding the complexity of the lives of rural girls and their families in Ethiopia. 

Resilience of fathers after a family breakdown: What do we need to know in next few years in Quebec, Canada?
Presenter: Gilles Tremblay (Laval University, Canada)
Introduction: In Quebec, the rate of divorce has stayed at 50% for the last 25 years (ISQ, 2009). The rate is twice as high for non-married couples compared to married couples (Le Bourdais et al., 2008). The number of parents who decide to share the custody of the children is 
Methods: increasing, but custody still tends to be awarded to mothers. Although more and more children maintain relationships with both parents (Biland & Schitz, 2013), unfortunately, some non-resident fathers cease quite rapidly to have contact with their children (Marcil-Gratton, 1998). Ten years ago, we conducted two qualitative studies, one with separated mothers and one with separated fathers, all living in poverty, to better understand what the resilience factors are that help these fathers (or ex-husbands) to stay involved with their children despite adversity. But, in the last ten years, gender relations have moved: fathers are generally more involved in the child 
Findings: care and their involvement is more integrated in the day to day life. What is the situation now regarding fathers’ involvement after a family breakdown?  This is one of the questions addressed in a vast study done by a large team led by Marie-Christine Saint-Jacques. 

Families as a resilience resource in a 'gang prevention' program
Joshua Brisson and Igor Pekelny (Dalhousie University, Canada)
Introduction: In 2008, the Resilience Research Centre (RRC) received funding from Public Safety Canada to evaluate the Youth Advocate Program (YAP) over a four-year period. The YAP is a pilot project that targets youth, aged nine to 14, who are at-risk of engaging in gang activities, anti-social, and criminal behaviour. It was initiated in six communities of the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) in Nova Scotia. The theoretical foundation of the YAP is based on the Wraparound model. This model has been used to help provide a comprehensive set of supports for individuals and families who are marginalized within their communities. The YAP used the model to help guide interventions between the youth, their family, and the Youth Advocate Worker (YAW). 
Methods: Quantitative data were collected using the YAPST assessment tool that included validated scales for factors central to the prevention of youth gang involvement. To estimate changes over time, repeated measures data for 41 participants (six-month intervals—during the program and post-exit) was collected and later analysed using a growth curve model. Qualitative data collection included interview and focus groups program participants and a number of different stakeholders including the management team, advisory committees, community committees and the YAP staff. File reviews were also conducted.
Findings: Overall, results from this evaluation show the Youth Advocate Program to be an effective community-based response to youth with complex needs and who are at risk of joining gangs. The program has developed an innovative model that adapts principles from Wraparound and engages youth and families by providing case management and direct support from para-professionals who are embedded in the communities where the youth reside. Youth Advocate Workers (YAWs) provide sequential liaison between a youth, the youth‘s family, and the many service providers working with the family. This pattern may fit well in the context of Nova Scotia where resources are relatively scarce and service providers have large caseloads, making it difficult to coordinate meetings with more than one provider at a time.

avatar for Joshua Brisson

Joshua Brisson

Research and Evaluation Manager, Resilience Research Centre
Joshua Brisson is the Research and Evaluation Manager at the Resilience Research Centre and has been a part of the RRC team since 2012. Josh studied Sociology at the undergraduate and graduate level at Dalhousie University. While Josh’s graduate level research is in the area of... Read More →

Abraham Greeff

Stellenbosch University
avatar for Kristin Hadfield

Kristin Hadfield

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dalhousie

Igor Pekelny

Research Associate, Resilience Research Centre
Igor Pekelny is a research associate at the Resilience Research Centre, Dalhousie University and the Sociology/Criminology Department, Saint Mary's University, with experience in mixed methods projects evaluation, online survey design and implementation, and crime prevention program... Read More →

Gilles Tremblay

Laval University
Academinc, professor in social work, all my Research projects are on men and masculinities

Louise Yorke

School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin

Wednesday June 14, 2017 16:30 - 18:00
Room 10 Century City Conference Centre
Thursday, June 15


Invited Symposium: Southern African Indigenous Pathways to Resilience - Liesel Ebersöhn, Funke Omidire, Ruth Mampane, Marlize Malan-Van Rooyen, Maximus Sefotho
Invited Symposium Summary
Southern African Indigenous Pathways to Resilience

Presenters: Liesel Ebersöhn, Funke Omidire, Marlize Malan-Van Rooyen, Maximus Sefotho, Ruth Mampane
Facilitator: Angela Hart
Southern African indigenous pathways to resilience findings are shared. Lenses for non-western knowledge generation is presented given largely western knowledge in psychology. Age-old care and support interventions in seven high adversity, predominant non-western Southern African settings continue to buffer against structural disparity in the absence of policy-regulated services.

Invited Symposium Abstracts
Concepts and methods to generate knowledge on Indigenous Pathways to Resilience
Marlize Malan-Van Rooyen (University of Pretoria, South Africa)
Funke Omidire, Ruth Mampane, Liesel Ebersöhn, Maximus Sefotho
In this presentation we share conceptual and methodological lenses followed in multiple studies in the Centre for the Study of Resilience to build knowledge on Southern African indigenous pathways to resilience (IPR). We provide a brief overview of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund IPR-study: Imbeleko. The postcolonial paradigm frames research in this predominant non-western Southern African ecology. Indigenous knowledge systems, indigenous psychology, and Participatory Reflection and Action inform transformative-emancipatory knowledge generation to compliment and supplement predominantly Western knowledge in psychology. This Comparative case study: seven conveniently sampled Southern African cases of high adversity, indigenous belief systems on a regional basis (Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, South African provinces: Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo, North West. Convenient sample of participants (n=430), stratified by age (elders=240; youth=190), gender (men=150 and women=280) and site. PRA used for data generation in home languages: one day, six hours per site. Focused on enabling participants to co-construct narratives interactively regarding indigenous strategies to buoy resilience, i.e. traditional care and support strategies. Sessions were audio-visually recorded, followed by in-case and cross-case analysis of textual and visual data.

Flocking and psychosocial support in Southern Africa: a collective, collaborative and pragmatic endeavour
Liesel Ebersöhn (University of Pretoria, South Africa)
Co-Authors: Funke Omidire, Ruth Mampane, Marlize Malan-Van Rooyen, Maximus Sefotho
Abstract: In order to supplement existing knowledge on pathways to resilience in emerging economies (as manifested in psychosocial support interventions), this comparative case study describes indigenous pathways used for psychosocial support which have been used traditionally in postcolonial Southern Africa in the absence of formal wellbeing services. It was evident that Non-western pathways to resilience is premised on the belief that support is collective, collaborative and pragmatic. It includes emotional-, spiritual and practical support. Wellbeing interventions in high risk communities with resource constraints can incorporate psychosocial practices that are familiar to communities and have remained robust over time.

Age-old care and support practices in Southern Africa functioning robustly as sophisticated social technology interventions
Ruth Mampane and Maximus Sefotho (University of Pretoria, South Africa)
Co-Authors: Marlize Malan-Van Rooyen, Funke Omidire, Liesel Ebersöhn
This comparative case study uses the lens of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) to explore indigenous pathways to psychosocial care and support. It emerged that Indigenous pathways to resilience (here care and support interventions) continue to be used as fundamentally relational and pragmatic pathways of resource management. They include reciprocal donations; shared savings in societies; partnerships and borrowing/lending: not outdated vestiges of previous times, but robust and sophisticated social technologies of care and support.

avatar for Liesel Ebersohn

Liesel Ebersohn

Director: Centre for the Study of Resilience, University of Pretoria
Liesel Ebersöhn is known for her work on socio-cultural pathways to resilience in emerging economy, Global South settings – especially high need rural and scarce-resource rural contexts. In this regard her work on indigenous pathways to resilience (generative theory on Relationship... Read More →
avatar for Motlalepule Ruth Mampane

Motlalepule Ruth Mampane

Lecturer, University of Pretoria
Educational Psychologist; research on family Resilience and indigenous psychology, focus on developmental psychology and learning

Margaret Funke Omidire

University of Pretoria

Maximus Sefotho

University of Pretoria

Thursday June 15, 2017 08:00 - 09:30
Room 11 Century City Conference Centre


Invited Symposium: Supporting Resilience Among Youth in Communities facing Ecological Challenges in the United States, Canada, and South Africa - Joy D. Osofsky, Howard J. Osofsky, Michael Ungar, Mark Tomlinson
Invited Symposium Summary
Supporting Resilience Among Youth in Communities facing Ecological Challenges in the United States, Canada, and South Africa

Presenters: Joy D. Osofsky, Howard J. Osofsky, Michael Ungar, Mark Tomlinson
A multidisciplinary group of researchers and community and industry partners are studying the resilience of young people and the systems with which they interact to sustain and nurture resilience. The collaborative project includes six communities, two in Canada, two in South Africa, and two in the United States. With its international representation, the collaborative will deepen the understanding of resilience in contexts where there have been catastrophic climatic events. The challenges experienced in the three regions impact significantly on ecological systems, with social, economic, and environmental components and affect the health and well-being of youth. It is crucial to identify and enable processes that protect young people’s health and foster resilience while moderating or eliminating those that have a negative influence.  The overall goal of the symposium is to share knowledge on how young people adapt and develop their patterns of resilience to support positive outcomes.  The symposium will enhance a broader understanding of the social and environmental determinants of healthy development and interdependent systems that influence resilience in mitigating the negative impacts of disaster and climate change.

Invited Symposium Abstracts
Supporting Child and Adolescent Resilience Following Disasters 
Joy Osofsky (LSU School of Medicine, USA)
Introduction: Each year, over 175 million youth are impacted by disasters and, while children are extremely vulnerable, they often receive insufficient attention. Children are impacted by displacement, loss of homes, and separation from families and community. Response and recovery for children after catastrophic events depends on degree of exposure, previous trauma history, age, gender, and most important, support provided by family, school, and community. In disaster response, more attention is paid to problems than promotive factors that lead to resilience, the ability to adapt and cope following adversity, and increased self-efficacy.
Methods: Data following Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill in the United States will be presented to illustrate the importance of resilience and self-efficacy in disaster recovery. Screening data on approximately 5000 youth showed that perceived self-efficacy serves as a protective factor influencing the relationship between disaster exposure and trauma symptoms. Another data set evaluating mental health symptoms, hurricane exposure, and oil spill stress indicated significant decreases in posttraumatic stress symptoms with individual trajectories showing consistency with resilience theory.
Findings: The outcomes of this study support the need for resilience-based programming before and after disasters to support child and adolescent recovery.

A Social Ecological and Systems Approach to Community Resilience
Presenter: Howard J. Osofsky Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, USA)
Introduction: Individuals and communities that are dependent on the stability and quality of the local environment for sustaining their economy are repeatedly threatened by hurricanes and technological disasters such as oil spills. Experiences with past response and restoration activities have provided opportunities to improve preparedness; however, these lessons learned often do not receive the collaboration among community stakeholders and differing scientific disciplines necessary for multi-systemic application.
Methods: This presentation will examine multiple aspects of recovery and preparedness and the human dimension that strengthens current efforts. The development of community coalitions utilizing multidimensional frameworks for incorporating a trauma-informed focus on developmental concerns, cultural issues, acute trauma exposure, and transgenerational adversity will be presented. Community coalitions draw on local and national expertise and best science, converting the information to community-based practice models respectful of the needs of children and families in local areas struggling to recover.
Findings:  Further, consideration will be given to explore how health, social well-being, and economics intersect to support these coalitions and build individual and community resilience. Gaps in knowledge and practice based on previous experience with natural and technological disaster will be considered as a way to formulate priorities for research, outreach, and education.

Differential susceptibility and differential impact of the environment: Early intervention effect of an attachment intervention is moderated by the 5HTTLPR genotype
Presenter: Mark Tomlinson (Stellenbosch University, South Africa)
Co-Author: Pasco Fearon, Robert Kumsta, Dirk Moser, Sarah Skeen, Peter Cooper 
Introduction: Individual differences in people’s genetic make-up can cause them to react differently to environmental factors, including interventions. Differential interactions between the long and short variants of the serotonin transporter gene (5HTTLPR) have been shown to influence depressive responses to early life adversity. This presentation will focus on the impact of genetic differential susceptibility of the 5HTTLPR gene on the interaction effect on secure attachment at 18 months in the Thula Sana study with the implications of for interventions in low and middle income countries.
Methods: In the Thula Sana study pregnant women who received an intervention between 1999 and 2003 to improve attachment with their infants were followed. They were re-enrolled when the children were 13 years old. All participants provided saliva samples for DNA extraction. Of the 218 participants for whom data was available 88 were “susceptible” (had either one or two short alleles, ss or sl) and 130 were “non-susceptible” (two long alleles, ll). The susceptible 5HTTLPR short/short or short/long allele carriers in the intervention group had a significantly higher rate of secure attachment than susceptible carriers in the control group, while non-susceptible long/long carriers in the intervention group did not significantly differ from their counterparts in the control group.
Findings: Findings indicated that measuring genetic differences allows for assessment of the effectiveness of an intervention in different individuals. Second, findings can guide ways to improve outcomes for a non-responsive gene-intervention interaction while continuing to optimize outcomes for the responsive one. 


Mark Tomlinson

Stellenbosch University
avatar for Michael Ungar

Michael Ungar

Director, Resilience Research Centre
Michael Ungar, Ph.D. is the founder and Director of the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University. As the Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience and Professor of Social Work, as well as a family therapist, he has helped to identify the most important... Read More →

Thursday June 15, 2017 09:30 - 11:00
Hall C Century City Conference Centre


Invited Symposium: Young people’s transition out of care towards young adulthood: Locating youth resiliencies within community contexts in Africa and Europe - Adrian D. van Breda, Robbie Gilligan, Kwabena Frimpong-Manso, Sue Bond
Invited Symposium Summary
Young people’s transition out of care towards young adulthood: Locating youth resiliencies within community contexts in Africa and Europe

Presenters: Adrian D. van Breda, Robbie Gilligan, Kwabena Frimpong-Manso, Sue Bond
Young people in care are frequently removed from their communities of origin, making the transition out of care into young adulthood particularly challenging. This symposium explores the personal environmental resiliencies that facilitate successful care-leaving transitions, showcasing the importance of a network of possible selves, in-care, community and workplace resources.

Invited Symposium Abstracts
Becoming Established in the World of Work as an Important Potential Source of Resilience for Young People Transitioning from Care 
Robbie Gilligan (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)
Introduction: Entry to work remains a key pathway to social inclusion for young people transitioning to young adulthood, and especially so for ‘high-risk’ groups such as young people leaving care. This presentation reviews what can be learned from care-leavers who have successfully entered the world of work.
Methods: This presentation reviews relevant research evidence to explore key issues for young people in care and care-leavers negotiating the care to work pathway. It draws on findings from the first phase of the Care to Work Pathways (CtWP1) study (Arnau and Gilligan, 2015; Gilligan and Arnau, 2016) and other relevant sources. CtWP1 was an exploratory cross national study (Ireland and Spain) seeking to learn lessons from the experiences of young adult care leavers who had successfully established themselves in the world of work.
Findings: Findings focus on emerging insights on how care-leavers, their carers and other formal and informal actors serve as resilience resources, supporting progress on the care to work pathway. There will also be discussion of implications for policy and practice in cultivating conditions supportive of the work progress of care leavers.

Building and Utilizing Community Resilience: Experiences of Young People Leaving Out-of-Home Care in Ghana
Presenter: Kwabena Frimpong-Manso (University of Ghana, Ghana)
Introduction: HIV/AIDS and poverty have resulted in thousands of children going into out-of-home care in Ghana. Many are now aging out of care, yet little is known about their experiences care-leaving. This study investigates the challenges facing care-leavers in Ghana and factors outside the residential care facilities that influence their resiliencies.
Methods: This paper reports on a qualitative case study of a private children’s home in Ghana, viz. SOS Children’s Villages. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with young people who had left care at least a year previously. The interviews were undertaken in English and pidgin, in locations convenient for the participants, and lasted 45-60 minutes. The transcribed data from the interviews were analyzed using the framework analysis approach (Ritchie and Spencer, 2003). Ethical approval was obtained from the ethics committee at Queen’s University Belfast.
Findings: Despite challenges with the transition from care, some care-leavers nonetheless demonstrated resilience. These were mostly those who used the relationship with their caregiver as a secure base to form positive relationships after leaving care. They were also able to create and utilize community resources, including the church and other care-leavers.

Possible-Selves as Contributors to the Resilience of Young People Leaving Care: The Role of the Child and Youth Care Community
Presenter: Sue Bond (University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
Introduction: Care-leavers’ transition from care and return to their community of origin is challenging and characterised by poor outcomes. Possible-selves theory, which has a reciprocal relationship with resilience theory, may be useful in preparing young people for the transition out of care while still within the Child and Youth Care community. 
Methods: Participants were recruited from four Child and Youth Care Centres in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. Life maps and possible-me tree activities, in conjunction with semi-structured interviews, were used to collect data from a sample of 12 young people who were ageing out of the alternative care system. In addition, focus groups were held with four social workers and eight child and youth care workers to identify how they contributed to the development of the possible-selves and resilience of young people preparing to leave care.
Findings: The young people’s possible-selves were developed to varying degrees, drawing on community-based resilience resources: natural mentors, role models and extra-mural activities. However, the professional carers showed a one-dimensional and dated understanding of resilience as an inherent character trait, which may negatively impact the young people’s possible-selves and care-leaving journey. 

avatar for Sue Bond

Sue Bond

Lecturer, Department of Social Work, University of Johannesburg
Sue joined the University of Johannesburg in January 2016. She began her career as a social worker in child protection services, which sparked her interest in the field of care leaving and care leavers. On leaving the field of child protection she opened her own practice and has... Read More →
avatar for Adrian D. van Breda

Adrian D. van Breda

Professor of Social Work, University of Johannesburg
Adrian is Professor of Social Work at the University of Johannesburg, where he was Head of Department from 2014 to 2016. He is President of the Association of South African Social Work Education Institutions and Vice President of Resilio, the international association for the promotion... Read More →
avatar for Kwabena Frimpong-Manso

Kwabena Frimpong-Manso

University of Ghana
Area of specialization: Children in and leaving out-of-home care, Community Development, Child Welfare, Reunification.
avatar for Robbie Gilligan

Robbie Gilligan

Professor of Social Work and Social Policy, School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin
Robbie is Professor of Social Work and Social Policy, at Trinity College Dublin

Thursday June 15, 2017 09:30 - 11:00
Room 11 Century City Conference Centre


Invited Symposium: Male youth health matters: Trauma and resilience - Christine Wekerle, Jones Adjei, Sarah Brown, Jennifer Fraser
Invited Symposium Summary
Male youth health matters: Trauma and resilience

Presenters: Christine Wekerle, Jones Adjei, Sarah Brown, Jennifer Fraser
Understanding health risks and promoting resilience in male youth with sexual violence experience: A Canadian initiative. This Symposium will be co-chaired by Dr. Christine Wekerle, McMaster University and Joan van Niekerk, MSW, Past-President, ISPCAN : Advocacy and resilience: From legislation to professional practice. 

Invited Symposium Abstracts
Setting the stage for resilience among male adolescents and young adults 
 Christine Wekerle (McMaster University, Canada)
Introduction: Sexual violence of male youth/young adults has been an under-attended area in research. A trauma-informed perspective spotlights the sub-group of male youth for whom externalizing behaviours represent an acting out of traumatization. The potential for the persistence of post-traumatic symptomatology has over-shadowed the resilience behaviours and processes of survivors. 
Methods: A selected review of the prevalence and features of male youth/ young adults experiencing various forms of sexual violence will be presented by region. Research will feature findings on various samples of child welfare-involved youth in terms of potential pathways to resilience. The Maltreatment and Adolescent Pathways (MAP) research study assessed 561 youth randomly sampled from child welfare caseloads. While youth were engaged in child welfare services for over a 6 month period, most had experienced years of service. Tools used included: Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, Childhood Experiences of Victimization Questionnaire and Sexual Motives Scale. 
Findings: Motives for sex differed between males and females with Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) experiences, pleasure differed between Non-CSA males and CSA males, and both CSA males and females reporting having sex for coping more so than non-CSA peers. Implications for gender-based, trauma-informed, and motivational approach to youth health/risk behaviours.

Resilience among Sexually Exploited Adolescent Boys in Western Canada: Risk and Protective Factors linked to Mental Health 
Presenter: Jones Adjei (University of British Columbia, Canada)
Co-Authors: Melissa Moynihan, Elizabeth Saewyc
Introduction: Research shows sexual exploitation experience among youth is significantly related to negative health outcomes including substance abuse, depressive symptoms, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal ideation, and sexual risks such as sexually transmitted infection. Little is known about protective factors that may help buffer exploited boys from further sequelae. 
Methods: Data from the British Columbia Homeless and Street-Involved Youth Surveys 2006 and 2014 were merged and analysed to explore exploitation experiences and health outcomes, then identified how patterns of risk factors and protective factors contributed to odds of mental health problems. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were used to identify theoretically based risk and protective factors, and then calculated probability profiles for varying combinations of the factors for exploited boys.
Findings: This study contributes to our understanding of pathways that may promote resilience and reduce health sequelae for sexually exploited adolescent boys, which may help programs designed to support sexually exploited youth offer more effective supports for the boys they reach. 

Can interventions designed to reduce reoffending in youths who have engaged in sexually harmful behaviour protect them from future victimization?
Presenter: Sarah Brown ( Centre for Research in Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement, Coventry University, UK)
Introduction: Research indicates considerable overlap between child and adolescent populations who are victimized and victimize however they are rarely studied together. A systems-focused treatment programme in Queensland, Australia, designed to address risk factors associated with the perpetration of sexual/violent crimes was investigated to see if it might also reduce future victimization.
Methods: Boys (average age 15 at time of referral offence) adjudicated for sexual offences who received ‘treatment as usual’ (TAU; n = 335) were compared with similarly adjudicated boys (n = 200) who completed the treatment programme on their histories of contact with the police either as offenders or victims.
Findings: Despite higher rates of pre-intervention victimization, the treatment group were victimized less frequently post-intervention than the TAU group. Continued offending was the strongest predictor of victimization post-intervention. Findings suggest offending and victimization share common risk/protective factors. Addressing these could help increase resilience following sexually harmful behaviour and design prevention interventions. 

Resilience and Capacity Building for the Health Workforce to Improve Recognition and Response to the Abuse and Neglect of Children 
Presenter: Jennifer Fraser ( Sydney Nursing School, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, The University of Sydney, Australia)
Introduction: Recognition/response to child abuse/neglect is of critical importance in healthcare settings, with significant negative outcomes for children who go undetected. This presentation will argue that increasing clinical/research capacity for health professionals can improve screening, identification, and treatment for children most at risk. 
Methods: An examination of workforce resilience and capacity with health professionals’ self-care practices for research conducted in Australia, Vietnam and Brazil. Focus on a unique Australian Palliative Care workforce and the relationship between self-care, and compassion for self and others. 
Findings: The cumulative negative effects of working with victims of family violence has received less attention. Interventions that include a focus on synchronizing self-care practices with professional self-efficacy for those who work in the area of child abuse, neglect, and family violence is proposed. 


Jones Adjei

Red Deer College

Sarah Brown

Coventry University

Jennifer A Fraser

The University of Sydney
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Christine Wekerle

McMaster University
Dr at McMaster University Christine Wekerle, is associate professor at Department of Pediatrics – Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University. She is the lead investigator in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funded Boys’ and Men’s Health Team grant. Her... Read More →

Thursday June 15, 2017 13:30 - 15:00
Hall C Century City Conference Centre


Invited Symposium: Researching Resilience in Brazil and Portugal - Adolescents, Families and Communities - Renata Maria Coimbra, Ana Almeida, Maria Angela Mattar Yunes, Normanda Araujo de Morais
Invited Symposium Summary
Researching Resilience in Brazil and Portugal - Adolescents, Families and Communities

Presenters: Renata Maria Coimbra, Ana Almeida, Maria Angela Mattar Yunes, Normanda Araujo de Morais
The symposium will present four studies carried out by Brazilian and portugueses researchers, focusing on the methodological procedures used to analyse resilience processes and promotion  on adolescentes involved in drug trafficking, in at-risk families, different educational contexts and at-risk communities.    

Invited Symposium Abstracts
Understanding resilience processes of adolescents involved in the drug trafficking through the mixed-method approach 
Renata Maria Coimbra (São Paulo State University, Brazil)
Co-Author: Alex Pessoa 
Introduction: This paper analyses the advantages and challenges in using the mixed methods in the research with young people involved in the drug trafficking. The fieldwork was conducted in a midsized city located in the inner of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Methods: The sample consisted by 60 adolescents who were involved in the drug trafficking and the control group was formed by 560 adolescents who were attending regular public schools and a youth service provided in the city. The findings in the quantitative study showed that the services provided are precariousness and do not make sense in the lives of the participants, including formal and non-formal institutions. Furthermore, the qualitative showed that the activities around the drug trafficking are permeated by personal meanings that makes complex the break with the trade, once they become attractive to this social segment. 
Findings: The complementarity of data from the mixed method allowed the exploration of aspects still obscure in the literature and brought practical implications for social policies. The resources used in terms of the design will be presented to the audience, as well as the methodological and ethical implications 

The Family Resilience Q-set. Contributions of ipsative methodology to family resilience assessment
Presenter: Ana Almeida (University of Minho, Portugal)
Co-Author: Cláudia Miranda 
Introduction: The focus on family strengths and resources is of particular relevance in the assessment and intervention of at-risk families where evaluation should encompass a preventive and psychoeducational perspective, and allow for their protection, preservation and of their children. 
Methods: Although recognizing the interest of combining qualitative and quantitative methods in the area of family resilience evaluation, the first has been a constant .The challenge of capturing the dynamics of risk and protective factors and the intersubjectivity of each particular family context was brought to the Q-sort methodology to explore the family scripts in topics related to stressful events and family strengths, in contextual and family-cycle perspectives. In this paper we report data of a set of 16 experts to create a prototype measure and a correlational study with 30 families and their respective case managers in Child Protection services. 
Findings: Family resilience assessments consider the balance of risk-protection in family resilient processes. However, families compared to professionals give more salience to resilience processes and professionals to the absence of risk factors. Drawing from empirical and conceptual analyses we highlight implications for family assessment resilience and avoidance of risk-centred visions. 

Experiential methodology for investigating and promoting resilience in different educational contexts
Presenter: Maria Angela Mattar Yunes (Centro Universitário La Salle, Unilasalle, Canoas, RS, Brazil)
Introduction: Experiential methodology is a strategy for developing qualitative research and/or evidence-based interventions with small or medium-sized groups. The method´s characteristics preserve the vitality of the participant´s experiences as they happen in their own real world. The researcher/facilitator creates situations where the qualities of experiences emerge spontaneously.
Methods: It provides chances for insights and new meanings that might change beliefs, behaviors and attitudes. The experiential model´s philosophy is connected with Paulo Freire´s educational theory, based on dialogical activities and reflection of people´s own knowledge, traditions and beliefs. This work aims to present three scenarios and populations where this methodology was used: 1) individual resilience in school adolescents using super heroes pre-cloak stage as a resource; 2) parental resilience in an organized program to build positive parenting in at-risk families; 3) professional resilience within a group of social educators who work with sheltered children and adolescents in institutions.
Findings: The use of this methodology showed that this model of research/intervention can implement people´s perception of their own performances and resolve conflict situations more effectively. It allows the awareness of alternative personal views and search of new individual and collective resources that lead to empowerment.

The use of Bioecological Approach in the research on Community Resilience: a study in a community in northeastern Brazil
Presenter: Normanda Araujo de Morais (University of Fortaleza (UNIFOR), Brazil)
Co-Author: Ana Tercila Campos Oliveira 
Introduction: The Bioecological approach proposed by Bronfenbrenner has been constituted as an important perspective to the study of the development-in-context. In this sense it is relevant to study community resilience (CR) related to processes, strengths and collective actions to face and have a positive adaptation to adverse situations experienced in communities
Methods: This presentation aims to describe the use of the Bioecological approach in the process of qualitative research on the factors that favor the CR in a community in northeastern Brazil marked by hardships-poverty, violence and stigma but also by strong indicators of cultural identity, collective self-esteem, community mobilization and support. It will describe the theoretical and methodological justifications for the use of the Bioecological approach in research on CR; the stages of achievement of research and ecological engagement (implementation strategy of the approach developed in Brazil) as well as the benefits and perceived limits in the use of this methodology. 
Findings: The relevance of the analysis model which includes person, process, context and time (PPCT) and the insertion of the data collection team in the researched contexts for the study of community resilience are the highlights observed.  


Ana Almeida

PhD in Education at Universidade do Minho Teacher and advisor at the post graduation studies in education in Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal.
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Renata Maria Coimbra-Libório

Renata Maria Coimbra-Liborio is Psychologist, with master and PhD in Developmental Psychology at University of São Paulo (USP). Professor at Sao Paulo State University (UNESP), at Graduate Program in Education, in Presidente Prudente, Brazil. She has a professional master's degree... Read More →

Normanda Araujo de Morais

University of Fortaleza
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Maria Angela Mattar Yunes

Associate Professor, Centro Universitário La Salle, Unilasalle, Canoas
Lecturer and advisor at the programs of post graduation studies in education in Centro Universitário La Salle - UNILASALLE, Canoas and Universidade Federal do Rio Grande - FURG, Brasil. Main interest on research and intervention on family resilience, community resilience and parental... Read More →

Thursday June 15, 2017 13:30 - 15:00
Room 09 Century City Conference Centre


Invited Symposium: Resilience expressed in contexts of vulnerability in the Global South - Silvia H. Koller, Clarissa Pinto Pizarro de Freitas, Maria Angela Mattar Yunes, Itumeleng Khumalo
Invited Symposium Summary
Resilience expressed in contexts of vulnerability in the Global South 

Presenters: Silvia H. Koller, Clarissa Pinto Pizarro de Freitas, Maria Angela Mattar Yunes, Itumeleng Khumalo
This symposium will emphasize the innovative knowledge in positive psychology produced in the Global South, related to the research about resilience and vulnerability. It gathers a clear agenda that takes cultural perspectives and diverse contexts into account to understand variables such as well being, coping, and resilience among vulnerable populations. 

Invited Symposium Abstracts 
Impact of presence of meaning in life on relationship of personal characteristics and well-being in Brazilian context
Clarissa Pinto Pizarro de Freitas ( Universidade Salgado de Oliveira, Brazil)
Abstract: The present study aimed to investigate the mediation role of presence of meaning in life on the relationship of optimism, pessimism and self-esteem with life satisfaction, stress, positive and negative affect in the Brazilian context. The sample was composed by 1945 Brazilians (64% women), aged from 18 to 88 years (M = 38.7, SD = 16.2). The results of structural equation modeling indicated that the relations of optimism and self-esteem with life satisfaction, stress, positive and negative affect were partially mediated by levels of presence of meaning in life. However presence of meaning in life did not mediated the associations of pessimism with levels of life satisfaction, stress, positive and negative affect. This study contributes to well-being literature advancing on the comprehension of relations of personal characteristics and well-being. 

Self-perception of workers in Brazilian shelter institutions for children and adolescents: identities, role and professional resilience 
Presenter: Maria Angela Mattar Yunes (Centro Universitário La Salle, Spain)
Co-Authors: Ângela Adriane Schmidt Bersch
Introduction: The aim of this study was to investigate workers´ perception of three governmental institutions about their identities and roles in institutions in the south Brazil. 
Methods: Thirty participants completed a semi-structured questionnaire with a terminology that would best define its role in the institution. The options were: monitor; agent; caregiver; educator, other and should be justified. Results indicated that only 30% perceived themselves as educators. However, the majority characterized their job functions with a variety of tasks from instrumental basic health care, control of school activities until more complex forms of discipline activities. Most participants referred to these practices as challenging and only 20% showed awareness of the effects of their practices/quality of relationships in the psychological development of children and adolescents. 
Findings: Therefore, strategies to enhance workers` professional resilience should be developed with focus on strengthening their role as Educators. Further research is required to design and implement interventions with this workforce that plays an active role for the wellbeing of the assisted population. 

Impact of presence of meaning in life on relationship of personal characteristics and well-being in Brazilian context
Presenter: Silvia H. Koller (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil)
Co-Authors: Emily Jean Haddad 
Abstract: The present study aimed to investigate the mediation role of presence of meaning in life on the relationship of optimism, pessimism and self-esteem with life satisfaction, stress, positive and negative affect in the Brazilian context. The sample was composed by 1945 Brazilians (64% women), aged from 18 to 88 years (M = 38.7, SD = 16.2). The results of structural equation modeling indicated that the relations of optimism and self-esteem with life satisfaction, stress, positive and negative affect were partially mediated by levels of presence of meaning in life. However presence of meaning in life did not mediated the associations of pessimism with levels of life satisfaction, stress, positive and negative affect. This study contributes to well-being literature advancing on the comprehension of relations of personal characteristics and well-being. 

The colour of resilience pathways: Investigating “Africultural” coping styles among African teachers
Presenter: Itumeleng P. Khumalo (North-West University, South Africa)
Introduction: Stress emanates from person-environment interaction. Life circumstances, sociodemographic variables and socio-historical and cultural heritage place some groups in more vulnerable positions. This study, among South African teachers, shows gender and race embedded differences in stress experiences and resilience processes.
Methods: The optimal capturing of the experiences stress and operationalisation of coping based on socio-cultural contextual factors, using the Africultural Coping Styles Index (ACSI) are studied. White and Black male and female South African teachers (n=400) completed a two wave longitudinal survey and responded to questions about sources of stress and psychological distress, as well as social support, problem-solving, avoidance, cognitive-emotional debriefing, ritual-, spiritual-, and collective-centred response mechanisms. Using multivariate statistics and structural equation modeling, group differences (race and gender) are reported for mean scores, factor structure, and inter-variable relationships and dynamics.
Findings: Implications for stress management and well-being promotion (such as measurement and group differences in resilience mechanisms) that take into account differences in person-environment interaction embedded in race and gendered realities are discussed.

Impact of presence of meaning in life on relationship of personal characteristics and well-being in Brazilian context


Clarissa Pinto Pizarro de Freitas

Universidade Salgado de Oliveira - UNIVERSO
avatar for Itumeleng Khumalo

Itumeleng Khumalo

North-West University

Silvia Koller

Visiting Scientist, Harvard
avatar for Maria Angela Mattar Yunes

Maria Angela Mattar Yunes

Associate Professor, Centro Universitário La Salle, Unilasalle, Canoas
Lecturer and advisor at the programs of post graduation studies in education in Centro Universitário La Salle - UNILASALLE, Canoas and Universidade Federal do Rio Grande - FURG, Brasil. Main interest on research and intervention on family resilience, community resilience and parental... Read More →

Thursday June 15, 2017 15:00 - 16:30
Hall C Century City Conference Centre


Invited Symposium: The neurobiology of resilience and gene-environment mechanisms - Justine Gatt, Michael Pluess, Alan Emond, Robert Paul
Invited Symposium Summary
The neurobiology of resilience and gene-environment mechanisms

Presenters: Justine Gatt, Michael Pluess, Alan Emond, Robert Paul
The neuroscience of resilience is a burgeoning field. This symposium will present leading edge theory and research in resilience from human studies. The role of environment versus genetics will be specifically discussed, and their modulating role on brain function drawing on examples from neuropsychological and brain imaging techniques.

Invited Symposium Abstracts
Resilience and Environmental Sensitivity: A Neurobiological Perspective 
Michael Pluess (Queen Mary University of London, UK)
Introduction: The observation that some people are more affected than others by the same experience is usually framed in a Diathesis-Stress perspective: some people are more vulnerable to adverse experiences as a function of inherent risk characteristics (e.g., personality, genes). More recently, it has been suggested in the Differential Susceptibility framework 
Methods: (Belsky & Pluess, 2009) that individuals may vary in their “Environmental Sensitivity” more generally with some being more affected by both negative as well as positive environmental influences. Variation in response to positive experiences has been described in more detail in the new concept of Vantage Sensitivity (Pluess & Belsky, 2013). Thinking behind the concepts of Differential Susceptibility and Vantage Sensitivity, as well as other related theories, suggests that it may be genetically influenced characteristics of the central nervous system that predict Environmental Sensitivity. After introducing an overarching theoretical framework for individual differences in Environmental Sensitivity (Pluess, 2015) empirical evidence
Findings: for such differences will be presented featuring related personality, genetic, and neuroimaging factors as moderators of a wide range of experiences ranging from family environment to psychological intervention. Finally, implications of a perspective of Environmental Sensitivity on the traditional prevalent conceptualisation of resilience will be discussed.

The importance of IQ in promoting resilience in children and young people.
Presenter: Alan Emond (University of Bristol, UK)
Co-Authors: Nisreen Khambati, Jon Heron 
Introduction: We report a longitudinal study investigating the role of IQ in promoting resilience in children and young people.
Methods: The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children is an on-going UK cohort study, which tested over 5,000 ALSPAC participants with a short version of the WISC III in research clinics at the age of 8, and measures of wellbeing, mental health and educational outcomes in 4,000 participants at age 17/18 years. The adversity exposure was child physical and emotional maltreatment prior to 5 years reported by the parents. A series of analyses have looked at the protective effect of IQ on the impact of other developmental traits, including social communication difficulties, inattention/hyperactivity and poor motor co-ordination.
Findings: The importance of IQ in promoting resilient adaptation to adversity will be explored using the exposure of maltreatment (physical and emotional abuse) and the outcomes of wellbeing, self-esteem and educational attainment in late adolescence. Potential interactions with other cognitive abilities and developmental traits will be presented, demonstrating the role of IQ in pathways to resilience across childhood and adolescence.

Demographic and clinical predictors of brain structure and function in early life stress
Presenter: Robert Paul (University of Missouri, USA
Co-Authors: Dan Stein, John Joska, Jackie Hoare 
Introduction: Early life stress (ELS) events are linked to poor health across the lifespan. Prior work suggests these outcomes are linked to ELS-mediated neurodevelopmental disruption and associated dysregulation of cognitive and emotional behavior. The critical demographic and ELS-specific variables that underlie these health outcomes remain unclear. We examined age, sex, and 
Methods: ELS subtype as moderators of brain integrity in otherwise healthy individuals (n=178). Brain integrity was measured using structural and diffusion neuroimaging and cognitive performance, all from an archival database. Results suggested that older age of ELS onset and exposure to complex trauma (e.g., abuse) corresponded to reduced brain integrity on neuroimaging and cognitive measures. The effects were most pronounced in brain white matter. Together, the correspondence between white matter disruption and demographic and clinical variables informs the neurodevelopmental model of ELS. Myelination and axonal widening in brain white matter continues through young adulthood and these brain regions are susceptible to
Findings: pathogenic mechanisms, including processes implicated in ELS such as immune activation. Future studies are needed to examine the interdependence of ELS, neurodevelopmental stage, immune dysregulation, and brain integrity in order to more completely define the neuropathogenic model of ELS and ideally identify targets for clinical interventions.

Cognitive and neuroimaging markers of wellbeing and resilience in adult twins
Presenter: Justine M Gatt ( Neuroscience Research Australia and UNSW, Australia)
Co-Authors: Kylie Routledge, Karen Burton, Mayuresh Korgaonkar, Stuart Grieve, Anthony Harris 
Introduction: Research into the neuroscience of resilience has increasingly emerged over recent years. We propose that the neural networks of threat, reward and executive functioning may play a key role in modulating the resilience process, yet this remains to be confirmed. We examined the role of these networks in resilience using
Methods: both neuropsychological tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 1,684 healthy adult twins from the TWIN-E study of whom 270 twins also completed the MRI testing (Gatt et al., 2012). We defined higher resilience by higher scores on our COMPAS-W composite scale of wellbeing (Gatt et al., 2014) in the presence of adverse childhood trauma exposure. Evidence will be presented demonstrating associations between wellbeing and mental illness symptoms, and how specific neuropsychological functions (e.g., working memory, inhibition) and brain activity to functional MRI tasks that measure threat vs reward and executive functioning (e.g., emotional faces and Go/no-go inhibition tasks) may modulate the resilience process. 
Findings: By comparing monozygotic (MZ) to dizygotic (DZ) twins, we can also show how genetics and environment drive these associations. Together, the findings will highlight the core neural networks that underpin wellbeing and resilience. Implications for preventative mental health and intervention work will also be discussed.  


Alan Emond

University of Bristol

Justine Gatt

NeuRA and UNSW

Robert Paul

Missouri Institute of Mental Health
avatar for Michael Pluess

Michael Pluess

Associate Professor / Head of Department, Queen Mary University of London

Thursday June 15, 2017 15:00 - 16:30
Room 11 Century City Conference Centre