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Resilience in the transition to adulthood

  • Keith B. Burt (a1) and Amy A. Paysnick (a1)

The emerging adulthood years, commonly defined as the late teens and twenties, represent a period of significant variability and change for much of the population. Thus, it is important for the field to consider pathways of at-risk youth as they move through this key window of development. We review research on positive outcomes in the transition to adulthood following a history of experienced adversity, including both investigations focused on resilience in diverse specific populations as well as broader longitudinal studies. There is compelling evidence for major protective and promotive factors identified in younger age periods continuing to exert an influence at this stage of development, along with evidence for new factors unique to this developmental time and/or to specific populations. We conclude by noting recommendations for future work in this area, emphasizing Garmezy's call for the testing of competing models.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Keith Burt, Department of Psychology, University of Vermont, 2 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, VT 05405; E-mail:
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