Development and Psychopathology

Research Article

Risk, resilience, and recovery: Perspectives from the Kauai Longitudinal Study

Emmy E. Wernera1 c1

a1 Division of Human Development and Family Studies, University of California, Davis


This article summarizes the major findings of a longitudinal study that traced the developmental paths of a multiracial cohort of children who had been exposed to perinatal stress, chronic poverty, and a family environment troubled by chronic discord and parental psychopathology. Individuals are members of the Kauai Longitudinal Study, which followed all children born in 1955 on a Hawaiian island from the perinatal period to ages 1, 2, 10, 18, and 32 years. Several clusters of protective factors and processes were identified that enabled most of these high-risk individuals to become competent and caring adults. Implications of the findings for developmental theory and social action programs are discussed, and issues for future research are identified.


c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Emmy E. Werner, Division of Human Development and Family Studies, 1333 Hart Hall, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.