Collaborative resilience-building: supporting childhood resilience through interaction between adults and children

Zeta Williams-Brown, Jayne Daly, Michael Jopling, Andy Aston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article reports on the key findings from a project that investigated children’s perspectives on their resilience, including whether they had a positive perception of themselves, whether they believed they were resilient and what support was available. The project formed part of an evaluation of Headstart, a programme funded by the Big Lottery (2017-2021) trialling a range of initiatives for improving resilience and emotional wellbeing in six locations in England. To identify shared perspectives, this study used Q-methodology, which provides a means of gathering quantifiable data from highly subjective viewpoints. In 2018, 55 children (aged 9-16 years) in one of the Headstart locations took part in the data collection during community and school-based activities. There was a clear message from all of the children that, regardless of their self-perception and support networks, they valued the support they received from others, but they did not value the role others played in tackling adversity in their lives. Other findings include a significant link between family support (and the support from other groups) and the child’s self-perception and enjoyment of life. Children with limited or no family support sought the support of friends and Headstart. The paper emphasises the need to ensure there is a collaborative resilience-building approach between adults and children where children are listened too in a range of ways and also encouraged to value the involvement they play in tackling adversity in their lives. This is especially significant given the emphasis placed by all children on accessing their support groups at times of adversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-40
Number of pages17
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • adversity
  • childhood
  • education
  • resilience
  • self-regulation


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