Let Our Youth Speak: A Phenomenological Analysis of Resilience in Students with Multiple Risk Factors

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Virginia Tech

Resilience is a phenomenon that refers to the ability to overcome risk factors that increase the likelihood of academic or social failure. Considerable research has been conducted to determine what may enhance or hinder the ability of individuals to overcome adversity. Unfortunately, much of the research has focused primarily on factors that place individuals at greater risk of failure. Today in the United States, a number of students experience academic failure due to multiple risk factors. However, the research is clear that there are individuals referred to as resilient who are able to achieve at high levels in spite of many of the same risk factors. This heuristic phenomenological study provides insight, based on interviews with high risk, African-American, young adults, into those factors that enabled them to exhibit behaviors consistent with resilience in spite of risk factors in the home, school or community. The study helps to illuminate their challenges and the reasons for their success.

Resilience, Risk Factors, African-American, Protective Factors