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Ordinary Magic


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Table of Contents

I. Introduction and Conceptual Overview
1. Introduction
2. Models of Resilience
II. Studies of Individual Resilience
3. Resilience in a Community Sample: The Project Competence Longitudinal Study
4. Overcoming Disadvantage and Economic Crisis: Homeless Children
5. Mass Trauma and Extreme Adversities: Resilience in War, Terrorism, and Disaster
III. Adaptive Systems in Resilience
6. The Short List and Implicated Protective Systems
7. The Neurobiology of Resilience
8. Resilience in the Context of Families
9. Resilience in the Context of Schools
10. Resilience in the Context of Culture
IV. Moving Forward: Implications for Action and Future Research
11. A Resilience Framework for Action
12. Conclusions and Future Directions
Appendix A. Glossary
Appendix B. Abbreviations
Appendix C. Recommended Readings by Topic

About the Author

Ann S. Masten, PhD, is a Regents Professor and the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development in the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. She is former president of the Society for Research in Child Development, a Fellow and former Division President (Division 7: Developmental Psychology) of the American Psychological Association (APA), and a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. She co-chairs the Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally for the U.S. National Academies. Dr. Masten is an internationally known expert on resilience in human development, with over 170 publications in scientific journals and books. She is a recipient of the 2014 Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society from the APA.


"A truly magnificent book that is very readable, highly informative, and hugely helpful for both understanding resilience and planning how best to foster it. Given that resilience is not a unitary trait, it presents quite a challenge to distill the key points from a complicated literature into straightforward messages, but that is exactly what this book does. It skillfully summarizes the main findings from both qualitative and quantitative research and combines all of that with telling case examples. Essential reading for any researcher or clinician interested in resilience."--Michael Rutter, MD, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, United Kingdom

"Nobody understands resilience as well as Ann Masten, and nobody writes about it as clearly, wisely, and deeply as she does. Dr. Masten is both a creator of new knowledge and a compelling narrator of the science and interventions that address how children manage to thrive in spite of adverse conditions. This indispensable book conveys the many facets of resilience, from neurobiology to cultural context to the importance of supportive relationships. Accessibly written, it makes complex concepts and processes easy to understand and impossible to forget. The book can be used as a text for undergraduate and graduate courses on typical development and developmental psychopathology, as well as in seminars for clinical interns and postdoctoral fellows."--Alicia F. Lieberman, PhD, Irving B. Harris Endowed Chair in Infant Mental Health and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco

"I consider Masten to be the preeminent thinker on resilience--and one of psychology's very best writers. Few authors possess the theoretical, empirical, clinical, and translational prevention skills to write such an integrative, well-presented volume. Masten makes a critical contribution to understanding the multiple pathways toward resilient outcomes for individuals who have experienced significant adversity. She does an amazing job of integrating literature from a variety of disciplines and levels of analysis. This is by far the best book I have ever read on resilience, and will set the standard for a long time to come."--Dante Cicchetti, PhD, McKnight Presidential Chair of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

"Resilience is an invaluable concept for our turbulent times. Masten, a highly esteemed developmental psychologist, has been at the forefront of resilience theory and research for decades. In this beautifully crafted volume, she guides readers through the advances in our knowledge of the multilevel processes--the interactions of neurobiological, psychological, family, and sociocultural influences over time--that enable children and adults to survive and grow stronger from serious life challenges. Essential reading for scholars, students, and mental health professionals who strive to understand and promote positive adaptation in traumatic situations and multistress contexts."--Froma Walsh, MSW, PhD, Mose and Sylvia Firestone Professor Emerita, School of Social Service Administration and Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago, and Codirector, Chicago Center for Family Health

"Ordinary Magic is an extraordinary achievement. Ann Masten has succeeded in integrating, synthesizing, and extending 40 years of resilience research into a compelling and highly readable volume. The book is audacious in scope, with Masten moving easily from genes to culture writ large. It is a 'must read' for a broad audience, including mental health practitioners, senior scholars, educators, and students."--Deborah Lowe Vandell, PhD, Founding Dean, School of Education, University of California, Irvine

"For nearly 40 years, Ann Masten has been at the forefront of the ever-changing science of resilience....Masten's intimate involvement with this research makes her uniquely suited to provide a comprehensive and concise overview of developments in resilience research to date....It is not only Masten's critical role in resilience research that makes Ordinary Magic a valuable read. Her clear and skillful writing makes the details of this complex field accessible to a broad audience, ranging from resilience scientists to undergraduate psychology majors. Complex matters are explained in simple terms, making them comprehensible to many readers from wide-ranging disciplines. Masten presents an impressive array of the knowledge that she has gained through her years in the field in a clear and concise manner....Ordinary Magic...centers on the innovative assertion that resilience is common and dependent on ordinary adaptive systems internal and external to individuals. Masten has succeeded in writing a book that expands on this core idea in a manner that is broadly accessible and applicable for researchers, professionals, and students alike."--Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 10/1/2016

"Sheer joy....All scholars wishing to better acquaint themselves with the resilience in development literature would do well to pick up Masten's book and read it solicitously....Applicable for scientists, practitioners, family members, teachers, early interventionists, policymakers, and countless others who genuinely strive for equity and equanimity among all--especially the vulnerable."--Infant Mental Health Journal, 8/1/2017

"I do so wish that this book had been available before I did my doctorate in resilience studies and when I had been teaching this subject....I continue to be very grateful for resilience research and theorizing as a practitioner and, in particular, for this unique summary and stock take of the discipline that Professor Ann Masten provides. Ordinary Magic will be of very great assistance to postgraduate students, and to beginning researchers, because it details the waves of resilience investigations that have brought us to the present day....In my teaching experience, even postgraduate students can have trouble really understanding the resilience perspective, and they will surely benefit from Masten's commitment to expressing complex ideas in straightforward language."--Psychology Aotearoa, 5/1/2015

"Masten's book deserves reading because of its extraordinary synthesis of selected theories and research....Masten has pulled together the wide range of approaches to the concept and its empirical grounding to this date. This has been a difficult task but the result is essentially a truly new 'manual on resilience,' which will last as a guide to further research for at least the next decade."--PsycCRITIQUES, 3/23/2015

"Ann Masten writes in an accessible narrative style while drawing on her vast personal and professional experience as a professor and international resilience expert....An illuminating and useful text for students, researchers, and anyone interested in this field."--Therapy Today, 2/6/2015

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