Community Level Factors in Youth Resilience


Dr. Michael Chandler, University of British Columbia
Dr. Chris Lalonde, University of Victoria

This project grows out of an ongoing program of research focused on the ways in which children, adolescents and whole communities achieve a sense of personal or cultural persistence in the face of inevitable change. This earlier work has shown links between low rates of suicidal and other self-destructive behaviors among adolescents and young adults, and the maintenance of "cultural continuity" (i.e., connections to a traditional past and local control of future community prospects). This project involves three distinct steps: 1) Work with partners in Australia and New Zealand will identify community -level variability in several health-related outcome variables including Indigenous youth suicide, accidents and school performance, and the range of culturally relevant and practically available community level variables that may serve as proxy measures of cultural continuity and other potential resilience factors; 2) The data will be used to map cross-community variability in available proxy measures of cultural continuity that best distinguish communities with high versus low or absent rates of youth suicide and other markers of community wellbeing. These factors will then be interpreted in consultation with scholars and partners knowledgeable about the history and dynamics of the communities, and 3) In collaboration with clinicians, public health experts and indigenous policy makers, the results of the analyses will be used to develop models of resilience at community levels, and to identify potential interventions to foster resilience in communities.

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