Development and Psychopathology

Resilience in developing systems: Progress and promise as the fourth wave rises

Ann S. Masten a1c1
a1 University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

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Perspectives based on the first three waves of resilience research are discussed with the goal of informing the fourth wave of work, which is characterized by a focus on multilevel analysis and the dynamics of adaptation and change. Resilience is defined as a broad systems construct, referring to the capacity of dynamic systems to withstand or recover from significant disturbances. As the systems perspective on resilience builds strength and technologies of measuring and analyzing multiple levels of functioning and their interactions improve, it is becoming feasible to study gene–environment interactions, the development of adaptive systems and their role in resilience, and to conduct experiments to foster resilience or reprogram the fundamental adaptive systems that protect development in the context of adversity. Hot spots for future research to study and integrate multiple levels of analysis are delineated on the basis of evidence gleaned from the first waves of resilience research.

c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Ann Masten, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, 51 East River Road, Minneapolis MN 55455. E-mail: