Development and Psychopathology

Special IssueSelf-OrganizationEditorsDante Cicchetti & Fred A. Rogosch

The role of self-organization in the promotion of resilience in maltreated children

a1 Mt. Hope Family Center, University of Rochester


The dynamic nature of resilience necessitates that children from high-risk backgrounds who are functioning adaptively despite experiences of adversity must be examined over time. In the current investigation, the adaptation of school-age maltreated and nonmaltreated socioeconomically disadvantaged children was examined over 3 consecutive years. In accord with predictions, a higher percentage of nonmaltreated children than of maltreated children were found to be resilient. Moreover, a higher percentage of maltreated than of nonmaltreated children were shown to exhibit functioning consistently in the low adaptive range. Differential predictors of resilience were found in maltreated and nonmaltreated children. Specifically, for maltreated children, positive self-esteem, ego resilience, and ego overcontrol predicted resilient functioning, whereas relationship features were more influential for nonmaltreated children. These findings are discussed in relation to the unfolding of resilient self-organizational strivings in maltreated and nonmaltreated children.

c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Dante Cicchetti, Director, Mt. Hope Family Center, 187 Edinburgh Street, Rochester, NY 14608.