Journeys from Childhood to Midlife: Risk, Resilience and Recovery

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In a companion volume to their highly acclaimed book Overcoming the Odds, Emmy E. Werner and Ruth S. Smith continue their longitudinal study of approximately five hundred men and women who were born in 1955 on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. A third of these individuals had been considered "at risk" because of birth complications, parental mental illness, family dysfunction, and adverse early conditions such as poverty. Werner and Smith examine the long-term impact of these influences on the individuals' later adaptation to life.Drawing on data collected by a team of psychologists, pediatricians, social workers, and public health nurses across four decades, Werner and Smith chronicle the development of these men and women from birth to midlife: infancy, early and middle childhood, late adolescence, and early and middle adulthood. Their book focuses on protective factors within the individual, the extended family, and the community that allowed most of the men and women to be successful and to be satisfied with their lives by age forty. Most important, the authors document the remarkable resilience and capacity for recovery displayed by the majority of these baby boomers, who approached middle age as competent, confident, and caring adults. Journeys from Childhood to Midlife highlights key turning points in the third and fourth decades of life, and shows why more women than men succeeded in overcoming the odds. The work addresses the policy implications of the research and the need to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of current intervention programs for children.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a very readable narrative account, thanks to the authors' decision to place all tables, figures, and statistical information in an appendix. Highly recommended; all levels."—Choice, February 2002

"In a remarkable odyssey spanning some forty years, Emmy Werner and Ruth Smith seek answers to two fundamental questions: (a) what are the long-term effects of adverse perinatal and early child-rearing conditions on an individuals physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development at midlife? and (b) what factors may serve as buffers against such early childhood adversities' . . . Werner and Smith . . . detail midlife outcomes for specific high-risk subgroups of individuals during adolescence. . . . The reader learns of the remarkable power of recovery by midlife for most of these troubled or learning-disabled teens. . . . The third and four decades of life had opened many new opportunities and possibilities."—Jane Kroger, University of Tromso, Contemporary Psychology, 48:5, 2003

"Journeys from Childhood to Midlife: Risk, Resilience, and Recovery is a remarkable opportunity for all of us to see the development of resilience and coping systems in the underprivileged children of Kauai. Emmy Werner and Ruth Smith's scholarship and clarity provide a firm base for understanding the psychodynamics of these processes and lead us to opportunities for intervention."—T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.

"For decades no student of resilience could afford to miss Emmy Werner's pioneering study of the children of Kauai. This book offers the next important chapter in that project, and it tells an important story about what it means to be human, struggling to become whole in the face of adversity. It is a story both sobering and inspiring."—James Garbarino, author of Parents Under Siege: Why You are the Solution, Not the Problem, in Your Child's Life and Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Development at Cornell University

"This is a remarkable book about a remarkable study describing life and development over forty years. The authors have identified risk and protective influences which contribute to the development paths of individuals as they move from childhood into midlife. Importantly, the message is one of hope."—Barbara Keogh,University of California, Los Angeles

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801487385
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,020,524
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Figures
1 Introduction 1
2 The Context of the Study 16
3 Studying Lives over Time 25
4 Forty Something 38
5 Pathways of Resilience From Childhood to Midlife 56
6 Teenage Mothers: From High-Risk Pregnancy to Successful Midlife Adaptation 80
7 Troubled Teenagers: Roads to Recovery in Adulthood 102
8 Life Trajectories of Delinquent Youths 119
9 Coping with Learning Disabilities 132
10 Risk Factors and Protective Factors: What Matters over Time? 141
11 Paths to Successful Adult Adaptation 160
12 Lessons from the Journey to Midlife 165
App. I: Tables 1-29, Figures A1-A2 187
App. II Summary of Scoring System for Pre/Perinatal Complications 212
Dimensions of Psychological Well-Being 213
Scoring System for Ratings of Adult Adaptation 214
References 217
Index 227
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