Overcoming the Odds: High Risk Children from Birth to Adulthood / Edition 1

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Overcoming the Odds looks closely at the lives of an ethnically diverse group of 505 men and women who were born in 1955 on the Hawaiian island of Kauai and who have been monitored from the prenatal period through early adulthood by psychologists, pediatricians, public health professionals, and social workers. Werner and Smith trace the impact of a variety of biological and psycho-social risk factors and stressful events on the development of these individuals, most of whose parents did not graduate from high school and worked as semiskilled or unskilled laborers. Incorporating vivid case study accounts with statistical analysis, the authors focus on both the vulnerability and the resilience of those who overcame great odds to grow into competent and caring adults. They trace the recovery process through which most of the troubled adolescents in the cohort—those with histories of delinquency, teenage pregnancy, and mental health problems—emerged with improved prospects in their twenties and early thirties. Identifying both the self-righting tendencies that enable high risk children later to adapt successfully to work, marriage, and parenthood, and the conditions under which professional and volunteer care is most beneficial, Werner and Smith offer concrete suggestions for effective intervention policies.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Overcoming the Odds is of interest to researchers, as it documents the ways in which the study itself has grown over time. It is also of great value to educators, counselors, and administrators who take interest in the ways that the subjects of this study have overcome difficulties as children to lead healthy and productive adult lives."—K. G., Harvard Educational Review, Winter 1992

"This fine account of the general course of the lives of high risk subjects who made adequate social adaptations tells the factors that enabled them to win a battle that so many in their socioeconomic strata lose."—Sylvia Brody, New York, The Psychoanalytical Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 4,

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801480188
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Figures
1 Introduction 1
2 The Context of the Study 17
3 Ordinary People 37
4 The Resilient Children in Adulthood 55
5 Teenage Mothers in Later Years 82
6 Delinquents with and without Records of Adult Crimes 103
7 Mental Health Problems: Troubled Youths Grown Up 129
8 Stressful Events in Childhood and Youth and Adult Adaptation 154
9 Protective Factors and Adult Adaptation 173
10 Summing Up 189
Appendix I
Tables 1-28 213
Figures A1-A4 242
Appendix II
Summary of Data Base: Kauai Longitudinal Study 249
Summary of Scoring System for Prenatal-Perinatal Complications 251
Instruments Used in the 31/32-Year Follow-Up 253
Interview 253
Questionnaire 256
Life Event Checklist 259
Scoring System for Ratings of Adult Adaptation 260
References 263
Index 271
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