Measuring Resilience in the Adolescent Population: A Succinct Tool for Outpatient Adolescent Health

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ObjectiveTo create a valid tool to measure adolescent resilience, and to determine if this tool correlates with current participation in risk behaviors and prior adverse childhood events.Study designOne hundred adolescents were recruited from primary care clinics in New Jersey for this cross-sectional study. A “7Cs tool” was developed to measure resilience using the 7Cs model of resilience. All participants completed the 7Cs tool, the Adverse Childhood Events Survey, and the Health Survey for Adolescents to identify current risk behaviors. Demographic and background data were also collected. To assess the validity of the 7Cs tool, Cronbach alpha, principal factor analysis, Spearman coefficients, and sensitivity analyses were conducted. The χ2 test and ORs were used to determine if any relationships exist between resilience and prior adverse childhood events and risk taking behaviors.ResultsParticipants ranged from 13 to 21 years old (65% female). Internal consistency was established using Cronbach alpha (0.7). Lower resilience correlated with higher adverse childhood events (P = .008) and Health Survey for Adolescents scores (P < .001). Lower resilience was associated with increased problems in school (OR 2.6; P = .021), drug use (OR 4.0; P = .004), violent behavior (OR 3.7; P = .002), recent depression (OR 5.0; P < .001), and suicidality (OR 4.1; P = .009). Higher resilience was associated with participation in exercise (P = .001) and activities (P = .01).ConclusionsThe 7Cs tool is an internally validated tool that may be used to screen adolescent resilience and guide pediatricians' counseling against risk behaviors. Further studies will evaluate resilience-building interventions based on results from this study.

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