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Skill training to Empower Teachers, Health Professionals and Social Workers
KIDS STRENGHTS promotes resilience processes of children and adolescents in the context of mentally vulnerable parents.

What do we understand by "resilience"?

Resilient children are expected to adapt successfully even though they experience risk factors that are against good development. Resilience can be described by viewing:
  1. good outcomes regardless of high-risk status,
  2. constant competence under stress, and
  3. recovery from trauma. (Masten et al. 1990)

Why do we preferably use the term "mental vulnerability" ?
When working with parents we use this term as the attribution of a "mental illness" to parents is usually associated with high stigma and mostly provokes fear, anger or denial. The term “vulnerability” is less stigmatising, more easily accepted by the affected parent and more understandable for the child: Also children understand that they might not feel well and e.g. have less energy, if they are hurt (by an injury) and are therefore more sensitive.

Within the KIDS STRENGTHS project the term "vulnerability" (Zubin 1977) covers emotional, cognitive, social and behavioural changes and disturbances, which sometimes become diagnostic criteria of a mental illness. (Pretis & Dimova 2004, 37f.)

Kessler et al. (2005). Severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry; 62(6):617-27).
Küchenhoff, B. (2001). Kinder psychisch kranker Eltern. Psychiatrie, 2, 1-4.
Masten, A.S., Best, K.M., Garmezy, N. (1990). Resilience and development: Contributions from the study of children who overcome adversity. Development and Psychopathology, 2, 425-444.
Pretis M., Dimova, A. (2004). Frühförderung mit Kindern psychisch kranker Eltern. München: Reinhardt.
Ramchandani, Stein (2003). The impact of parental psychiatric disorder on children. Avoiding stigma, improving care. BMJ, 2; 327(7409): 242–243.
Zubin, J., Spring B. (1977). Vulnerability – A new view of schizophrenia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 86. No.2, 103-124.

Dr. Manfred Pretis
S.I.N.N Sozial INnovatives Netz
Lerchengasse 4c, A-8054 GRAZ
Phone/Fax: +43 316/251699
Mob: +43 699/12652070
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. Furthermore this project has been funded by the Austrian ministery for education, arts and culture (BMUKK). © 2009-2023 by KIDS STRENGTHS Project
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. powered by