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Defining Resilience in Maltreated Children from the Practitioners’ Perspectives 

Project Summary

Despite growing interests in resilience research as well as the increasing recognition of the importance of strength-based approaches, significant confusion remains and debates continue on how to best define the construct of resilience. The lack of consensus or consistency with regard to the definition and conceptualization of resilience significantly limits the advancement of resilience research as well as practice. In order to directly impact the lives of maltreated children and help them reach their full potential, the scholarly debate on resilience must be translated into the realm of practice.


To date, very limited attention and efforts have been paid to examining how practitioners (e.g., clinicians, service providers) understand and define resilience in children with whom they work. It is critical to learn from practitioners’ experiences to gain a deeper understanding of the practice field’s conceptualization of resilience, the characteristics of a child exhibiting resilience, and what factors may promote or inhibit resilience development. Therefore, this project aimed to explore the definition and meaning of resilience from a practitioner’s perspective through a qualitative study of practitioners working with children who have experienced child maltreatment. 

Principal investigator: Susan Yoon, PhD


Partners: The Center for Family Safety and Healing, Youth Advocate Services


​Funder: The Ohio State University College of Social Work Seed Grant Program


Research Products:

Peer-reviewed Publications 

  • Yoon, S., Dillard, R., Beaujolais, B., & Howell, K. (2020). A Phenomenological Qualitative Approach to Examining Developmental Differences in Resilience among Maltreated Children. Psychology of Violence 

  • Yoon, S., Dillard, R., Pei, F., Shockley McCarthy, K., Beaujolais, B., Wang, X., Maguire-Jack, K., Wolf, K., & Cochey, S. (2020) Defining resilience in maltreated children from the practitioners’ perspectives: A qualitative study. Child Abuse & Neglect, 106, 104516. 

  • Shockley McCarthy, K., Yoon, S, & Pei, F. (2020). Developmental differential impact of child maltreatment: The practitioner's perspective. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal 

  • Beaujolais, B., Wang, X., Shockley McCarthy, K., Dillard, R., Pei, F., & Yoon, S. (2020). Caregiver influences on resilience development among children with maltreatment experience: Practitioner perspectives. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. 

  • Pei, F., Shockley McCarthy, K., Wang, X., Beaujolais, B., & Yoon, S. (2020). Critical Components of Interventions to Promote Resilience among Children with Maltreatment Experiences: A Qualitative Study of Practitioners’ Perspectives. Children & Youth Service Review, 110 


Research Briefs 

  • Yoon, S., Dillard, R., Pei, F., Shockley McCarthy, K., Beaujolais, B. (2019). Defining Resilience in Maltreated Children from the Practitioners’ Perspectives. Columbus, OH: Author.  

  • Yoon, S., Dillard, R., Pei, F., Shockley McCarthy, K., Beaujolais, B. (2019). Factors that inhibit and promote resilient functioning following childhood maltreatment: A qualitative exploration of practitioner perspectives. Columbus, OH: Author.  

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