I have divided this paper on research and methodology into three sections:

Speaking of Numbers
Excerpted Portions of Hawkins/Benard Discussion (w/ bibliography)

Excerpted Portions of a Hawkins/Benard Discussion

Note: Line numbers are based on printed text produced on my word processor. Given your window size and font the numbers may not actually correspond the numbered line as printed. To help you key lines presented here to those referenced in other sections of this paper line numbers are shown periodically in bold inside brackets, like so, [45].

At the Eighth Annual National Prevention Network (NPN) Research Findings Conference in 1995, the leading proponent of the risk-focused model debated with the leading resiliency model proponent. It is meaningful to note that the NPN itself has adopted the risk-focused model as its preferred model. So that particular model began with a bit more of an advantage because it was the "official model" of the debate sponsors.

[8] Bonnie Benard, the resiliency model proponent, spoke first. Benard works as a prevention researcher at the Center for Drug-Free Schools and Communities in San Francisco. David Hawkins, the risk-focused proponent, is professor and director of the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington in Seattle. Each had about twenty minutes to speak, and also fielded questions from the conference participants.

Benard began:

[15] Resiliency is all about relationship.

I will draw on research.

When we talk about strength-based and a spirituality-meaning-centered approach, that is what resiliency is about.

[19] My belief, which I think started a lot of the debate, is that resiliency really starts with our own-as adults who work with kids and families and communities-our own attitudes and beliefs and the way we see other people and the way we view them in our hearts. I came across this statement from Ghandi, "You must be the change you wish to see."

We have to model and be what we want kids to be.

[25] It starts with ourselves.

Non-judgmental truthfulness allows us to maintain our authenticity.

It was hard to show up, I was really tempted not to be here. But we all have to speak our truth.

[Shares a Taoist story with this tag line:] "The first thing you must do is not improve him, but to improve yourself." And I think that is the real challenge.

I want to keep this a forum for dialogue.

You are the ones working with kids. What you take away from tonight, you will construct your own meaning of and do what you damn well please to do.

I applaud you for being here and caring for kids, which everybody here does.

[45] [Benard asked the participants to do an exercise.] Exercise Question: What keeps you strong in times of stress? What keeps you going?

[Note: it was hard to bring group back to attention.] We never seem to have enough time to do all the talking we want to.

[Some answers to the exercise from participants: Humor, kids, friends, chocolate, prayer, perseverance, self-care, belief in what you're doing]

These are not only the things that keep us going, but we know from longitudinal studies and ethnographic studies of how kids survived adversity and how they survived trauma; these are exactly the kinds of things that keep kids going. That fosters their resiliency.

Definition of resiliency (from Robert J. Lifton, The Protean Self: Human Transformation in Times of Change): "Human resilience is our innate capacity for transformation and change." This is programmed into all of us.

Story: A college professor had students go into the Baltimore slums and do case histories of 200 young boys. In every case students wrote: he hasn't got a chance. Twenty-five years later, another professor came across the first study and followed up. Except for twenty who had moved away or died, 176 of the remaining 180 had achieved more than ordinary success as lawyers, doctors, and businessmen. The professor followed-up further by asking the men (who had all stayed in the area) how do you account for your success? In each case, the reply came with feeling, "There was a teacher."

[56] The teacher was still alive, so he sought her out and asked the old but still alert lady what magic formula she had used to pulled these boys out of the slums into successful achievement. The teacher's eyes sparkled and her lips broke into a gentle smile, "It's really very simple," she said, "I love those boys."

I think resiliency is really about love, it may sound fluffy, but that's what's there. That's our challenge. If we are going to evaluate it, we must learn how to evaluate things like love and caring. That's what we got to look for.

[63] I think that really illustrates what is in more scientific and longitudinal studies. The power of caring relationships that convey a sense of compassion. That convey to a kid that there is really unconditional acceptance. That you can look beneath acting-out behavior; look beneath the problem, and realize that there is a gem, and that every kid has a gift.

It is a relationship that conveys respect, high expectations, a belief that this child, this family, this person, can be all they want to be and that they can achieve their dream.

If you believe this, you give people a chance to be resources: to solve the problem themselves. And you give them that opportunity to participate.

[73] Do we really believe this: "That in every child who is born, under no matter what circumstance and no matter what parents, the potentiality of the human race is born again." [a quote on her slides.] That is what we have to look at, that deep, deep, belief.

Strong relationships and opportunities to participate really create belonging. If I had to say one thing, prevention is really about building in that belonging. When we do that, we help give kids-and help them get in touch with-a sense of meaning. They feel like they have a place, their life has a sense of coherence. They feel that sense of connectedness.

Spiritual connectedness is really what it's about.

[83] How do we make this perspective fit with risk-focused prevention? My problem is that I think they are very different paradigms. Different world views, grounded in different assumptions and that they ask different questions, and essentially advocate different strategies.

In reading Communities That Care [Hawkins is a co-author] I find this premise: quote: "It is based on a simple premise that in order to prevent a problem we must find out what factors increase the chance of that problem's occurrence and then find ways to reduce these risk factors."

[93] The [reasoning is] that if we come to the understanding of a problem we will then know what to do about it, that if we understand that poor family management problems lead to problem behaviors-it's all in the correctional literature-then what does that tell us about what we need to do? It doesn't tell us a solution to it.

[99] Versus the perspective of a resiliency-focused perspective grounded in a developmental framework. It is based on human development and on meeting basic human needs. 'Cause when you look at caring relationships, respect, participation, we are really talking about basic human needs. Needs we all have for love, for belonging, for respect, for power. So our question then becomes, how do we meet the basic needs of kids who really aren't getting their needs met.

[107] The risk-focused perspective says that resiliency is a genetic trait of some people. I see it in a very different way: that it's all in our innate capacity that we all have.

Where do we start from these perspectives? From a risk-focused, which is more of a problem-focused or pathology paradigm, versus a human development paradigm, where do we start, where does that tell us we should start in our endeavors of working with people?

With risk-focused prevention the approach is to identify kids, families, and communities so they will get extra services.

[119] With the resiliency paradigm-and I think this is a real key difference-we start with strengths. We start with "what are our strengths here as a group," whoever we are.

I have a real hard time believing that if we start with risks we are going to get to the strengths. It's real hard not to label people and not get into some stereotypes.

[127] If someone is a problem, how can they be a resource, too?

Risk-focused tends to focus more on content. Resiliency perspective is really looking at the deep processes, the deep structures, that are going on no matter where we are. Even some of the wonderful programs that risk- focused prevention might do, some kind of family program or whatever, still for that program to work you got to focus on the quality of the relationship and the opportunities for power sharing.

[136] [A quote about changes in schools from Asa Hilliard:] "If we really want to restructure our schools, we must first look deeply at the goals that we set for our children and our beliefs that we have about them. Once we are on the right track there, then we can turn our attention to the delivery system. As we have begun to do. Untracking is right, mainstreaming is right, decentralization is right, cooperative learning is right, technology access for all is right, and multiculturalism is right. But none of these approaches or strategies will mean anything if the fundamental belief system does not fit the new structures that are being created."

[146] So, it's at that deeper level, it's not what we do but how we do it.

Two issues: The issue of predictability. As we know from longitudinal studies over and over we see a pattern. At least 50 percent, often closer to 70 percent, of the kids coming from very serious high-risk environments and trauma and adversity do become "confident, competent, caring adults," to use Emmy Warner's words. So that means focusing on what protective factors bring is a far more predictable approach.

[155] Labeling. My real issue, too, also, is around the whole issue of labeling. High-risk environments often become blamed communities, blamed families, and blamed kids. I think what happens is that we end up situating risk in people instead of in institutions. We don't look at our schools so much as high risk. We don't look at our national policies, which are doing far more greater damage by promoting poverty and racism, our two greatest risk-factors. We are situating risks in people. And we are blaming them as the cause of the problem that we need to fix.

[164] Basically, we deny people the opportunity to participate which is a major protective factor.

Resiliency gives us a sense of hope. We can't be the change we want to see if we don't have hope. Because the most we can give kids is a hope for a bright future.

[171] [Stanton Peale quote from 1986]: "That the real mission for those concerned with adolescent drug abuse is to create a cultural climate that encourages children to value and to achieve independence, adventure, intimacy, consciousness, activity, fun, self-reliance, health, problem-solving capacities, and a commitment to the community. There is no better antidote to drug abuse than an adolescent's belief that the world is a positive place. That they can accomplish what they want and that they can gain satisfaction from life."

[181] David Hawkins:

[183] There is so much with Bonnie's presentation with which I agree. But yet I believe that it is important to use all that we know, and not just some of what we know in moving forward if we're going to be effective in preventing substance abuse.

The goal of prevention, in my understanding, is to stop substance abuse before it starts. How can we best approach that task is our challenge.

[191] [Quoting Fred Garcia:] We must use all the knowledge currently available to us to move prevention beyond being a movement to being a discipline.

There is and has been developed a discipline of prevention called prevention science in the last few years in this country. And it has been written about just in this decade. And that discipline of prevention science is based on looking at, understanding, and using all the evidence that we can find about what predicts health and behavior problems and what inhibits the development of health and behavior problems.

[201] When we are talking about preventing problems before they happen, we must find a way to intervene in a process that has not yet occurred. And the best approach for doing that, according to prevention science, is to identify the things that predict that problem statistically and to seek to reduce those statistical predictors, and to seek to identify factors that have been shown to inhibit the problem statistically, and to enhance those protective factors.

[208] I believe it is incorrect that we cannot keep knowledge of risk and protective factors in our minds at the same time. In fact, the research on protective factors and resiliency was part of longitudinal studies which identified both risk and protective factors and the interaction among those factors in the etiology of health and behavior problems and in the etiology of healthy development.

[215] Prevention science began first in cardio-vascular disease prevention. We know that if you smoke you are at a greater risk for cardio-vascular disease, and that if you exercise you are at a lower risk. Smoking is a risk factor; exercising is a protective factor The combination of focusing on reducing risks and enhancing protective factors has reduced cardio-vascular disease in America by 42% in the last 30 years.

I would submit to you, that we must use the empirical basis, the knowledge base that we have, if we are going to be effective in prevention.

[225] I'm not going to belabor you with this except to tell you that we know from many studies that there are risk factors not only within individuals but risk factors that exist within schools, within the larger community, within the norms of the society, within families, within larger social institutions ,that in fact contribute to the probability of substance abuse problems in our society.

We also know that there are protective factors that have been identified that appear to inhibit the development of health and behavior problems even in the presence of exposure to high levels of risk.

[235] There is a distinction between risk factors and risk groups. Risk factors are simply factors present in the environment or in the individual that contribute to or enhance that person's likelihood of developing a health or behavior problem. That is different than risk groups-where we say "those people" are at high risk. When we talk about high risk in the research that we do, we are talking about people who by virtue of their experiences in this society have been exposed to high levels of many risk factors. We believe that that exposure increases their risk of developing substance abuse problems and other health and behavior problems, geometrically.

[245] But there are also protective factors. And the protective factors, as I read the research, have been divided into three types. First, factors that for the most part have been shown to exist within individuals.

[249] And it is very interesting that when Bonnie and I speak about resiliency how differently we talk about that word. Because resiliency, as I read the research of Emmy Werner and Michael Ruther and Norm Gurnsey, is in fact a characteristic of individuals. That it is a characteristic of being able to bounce back from difficult situations. To, as Bonnie said earlier, to be able to be flexible and responsive in situations; to adapt to new situations. But this is, in the research as I understand it, a characteristic of individuals.

[257] As is easy sociability, as is intelligence, as is gender. All of which are individual characteristics. In the research of resiliency, as I read it, that individual characteristic (1x), which some people have very naturally, and other people have less of, does appear to inhibit the development of health and behavior problems among those who have it.

There are also protective factors in the environment. One is this sense of bonding, emotional closeness, being part of, a social group. Being cared for by someone and caring about someone.

[267] Finally, healthy beliefs and clear standards for behavior-which exists within the groups that young people become bonded to within the larger society- turn out to be very important protective factors.

And so, when I read the research, and when I hear about resiliency as the silver bullet, the single protective factor that will solve our problems, I become concerned, because I believe that there are multiple protective factors that are important and that that individual characteristic of resiliency is one important among them but not the only one.

[277] This is an issue of the norms and standards of society and it has very little to do with the individual characteristic of resiliency.(2x)

There are young people who don't care about the norms and standards in our society, there are young people growing up with no sense of commitment to school. And they don't care if the school has a clear no drug use policy. They don't feel bonded to school.

[285] Creating the conditions that promote bonding is the second key essential thing we must do in prevention. We have identified three key protective factors. This is very similar to what Bonnie is advocating when she talks about a resiliency based approach. (1) Opportunities for active involvement are the first protective characteristics that must be present if we want people to become bonded to a group.

(2) The second characteristic that needs to be present is skills to be successful in achieving and meeting the opportunities that are provided.

(3) [The third thing that needs to be present:] a consistent system for recognition and reinforcement of skillful performance.

[296] I would suggest to you that these are particularly important when youngsters don't come into the world with the special advantage of a resilient temperament. (3x) When they don't come into the world with the special advantage of high intelligence. It may be more difficult for the child who doesn't have an easy sociability and high intelligence to develop the skills and to recognize opportunities as opportunities and therefore to become bonded in the classroom of a teacher who doesn't teach well.

[303] And so I would again submit to you that it is essential that we not focus simply on instilling characteristics within individuals (4x); but that we ensure that the social groups that socialize young people in this society-families, school classrooms, peer groups, groups in the community, and ultimately our communities themselves-create the conditions that promote bonding and both healthy beliefs and clear standards for behavior.

[309] I ask you not to simply take my word for this, I ask you to look at the empirical results of research that my partner and I been doing since 1981. Youngsters entering the classroom were assigned to the project group; or served as controls, and received no intervention. [By the end of the project, there were three conditions: (1) a group of children and families who received a full six years of intervention; (2) a group only intervened with during fifth and sixth grade of elementary school, and (3) the control group which received no interventions. For the two experimental groups half of the children were living below poverty levels.]

[318] Reducing risk by enhancing protection, it's only two things to do at the same time. I don't think it is too hard for us to do.

We know poverty puts young people at risk, whether we want to say it or not, it does!

[322] I want to show you what the results were for children who were progressing normally-some were dropouts at that time, etc. There were three conditions: a control group that go not services from the project other than the regular Seattle School experience; a group that go the intervention late in their school careers, that is, only in the fifth and sixth grade; and the full intervention condition that got it for the entire six years of elementary school. And what I can tell you today with confidence is that prevention that seeks to reduce risk factors and enhance protective factors was successful in reducing school problem behaviors of suspension and expulsion from school, in increasing bonding to school, that is attachment and commitment to education and increasing academic achievement for all students in that project six years after the intervention had ended.

[334] In addition we found that although there were not significant effects on health and behavior problems for children from high income families, among that half of the sample that came from low income families, there were significant reductions in the proportion of those who had ever been delinquent in their lifetime: 76% of the control group vs. 54% of the fully treated prevention panel. [There were also significant reductions in the proportion of those who had ever been arrested (32% to 14%) and those who had ever been in a juvenile facility (24% to 10%. Other findings: lower sexual activity and lower rates of drug use in the last year)]

[343] These are outcome data; these are not ideas these are results.

Reducing risk and enhancing protective factors has been shown to be effective in 39 prevention research studies reviewed by the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Science, in the book called Reducing Risks For Mental Disorders.

It works. Prevention works. Risk- and protective-focused prevention works.

[349] I fear that Bonnie, in advocating for a paradigm shift, is asking us to throw out or ignore this progress in prevention. She asks us to ignore all we know about the predictors of substance abuse. And much about what we know about the protective factors or inhibitors of substance abuse in order to focus on the single protective factor of resilience. (5x) Why is that a mistake? First of all, as unpleasant as it is to confront the fact that exposure to risk factors predicts increased probability of substance abuse, we must recognize this. We can't allow ourselves to be in denial simply because it is uncomfortable to confront the facts.

[358] It is like ignoring smoking when we are trying to reduce cardio-vascular disease and congratulating people for adopting a low-fat diet. We must encourage people to adopt a low-fat diet and exercise and we must also encourage people to stop smoking and thereby reduce their risks.

Further, the current evidence we have from substance abuse indicates that just building protection or resilience isn't enough. We must address and reduce risks as well.

[365] Even having a large number of protective factors does not insulate children from substance use if they are exposed to large numbers of risk factors. We must do both. We must reduce risk and enhance protection if we want to be effective.

Fred Garcia talked to us this morning about bubble gum packaged like tobacco. In my judgment, bubble gum packaged like tobacco has very little to do with resilience and it has a lot to do with the norms of our society, and it is a risk factor and we have to minimize it or eliminate it.

[373] We know that easy access to guns among urban children is a risk factor for substance abuse, it has very little to do with resilience.

What I am saying to you is that resilience is only one of several protective factors that must be strengthened as we also attend to reducing known risk factors. (6x) Promoting resilience alone is not enough to prevent health and behavior problems. I would submit to you that for a child born in poverty, in a neighborhood where using and selling drugs is the norm, a resilient response is to become a drug dealer.

We must do more that promote resilient responses in individuals. (7x)

[382] I fear that focusing simply on resilience is like saying "Victim heal thyself. Be resilient in the face of risks." We think we must encourage resilience within individuals, but we also reduce risks in their environments. We can't ignore the societal contributions to risks.

[386] The third reason I think it is misguided to only focus on enhancing resiliency, is that if there are no risk factors, that if we are going to be blind to risks, then all communities, then all individuals, should receive an equal amount of preventive attention. Universal prevention is the only thing to do. There's no reason to focus prevention, and no way to allocate resources. Everyone should be resilient. We need to be able to provide resources to those populations which have been exposed to multiple risk factors during development. And insure that prevention resource are differentially available and available in higher levels to those populations.

[395] Fourth, we do not have empirical evidence of the type that I just showed you that shows us and proves to us that resilience can be created in individuals. (8x) I want to believe that it can. I am looking forward to the studies that we can, in fact, show that resilience is a malleable characteristic and can be changed so that people can be made more resilient. But today we do not have that evidence. We do have evidence that risk factors can be reduced, that protective factors can be enhanced and substance use and other health and behavior problems will be reduced as a result.

[403] Finally, I am concerned that the new emphasis on a "paradigm shift" is creating divisions where none need to be. The paradigm of risk and protective factor prevention has encompassed resiliency from the beginning. I think we should avoid the very kind of labeling that we criticize in others. I think we should stop characterizing one approach as being negative, and another approach, resiliency-focused, as being positive; and describe accurately what goes on in risk and protective focused programs rather than creating straw people against whom we can argue.

[411] We've got to come together as a fieldThey're laughing at us up in Congress, because we are like the leftists in the sixties, arguing among ourselves about small differences of opinion in wording and telling each other that it requires a paradigm shift. In fact we have to be about the business of using everything we know to do the best job we can and enhance protection against substance abuse in our society.

[418] Comments from the floor:

[420] Woman #1: Risk seems to be the tool to evaluation, resiliency is where we put our minds and our hearts to facilitate the process of change and empowerment. The third 'R' is the outcome, which is reaching our vision. Our personal vision and our community vision. And David, you did that with your program.

[426] Man #1: I value both of you taking the risk to go head to head, with sharing your views on what works and where the field should be going. And I also believe that this is a very resilient group right here to hold the tension of the two views and personally struggling with it and trying to say what makes sense and what works. We shouldn't let our theories become stagnant. I don't feel stagnant tonight at all. I believe that if we go into this dialogue and discussion with an emphasis on what we can learn from each other, that we're going to come out of this much stronger as a field.

[435] Woman #2: My table was wondering if whether both of you have the same independent variables, really. The difference is in your dependent variables. Where, David, your dependent variable is a little bit death, disease, and destruction. Just a little bit, though. And Bonnie's dependent variables are peace and happiness.

[One difference would affect evaluation of programs-will evaluation look at negative or positive outcomes?] The practitioners at my table felt it was important to work from the positive dependent variable because if they do the negative thing, it's the labeling problem, and so on.

[445] Hawkins: [in 1983 when I was funded by the office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention], we called it then "caused-focused" prevention. We borrowed and moved to the public health language to describe those "risk factors" because we thought it was more honest and accurate to what the data said about those predictors that we were seeking to reduce.

[451] Woman #3: One of the greatest dangers we have in the field is to say this is the model, this is the paradigm shift I'm going to go for. I don't think the differences are a conflict at all, it just gives me more on the menu. I think they can co-exist.

[456] Man #2: I don't think a paradigm shift is needed at all because the risk and protective factors are broad enough to encompass resiliency.

[459] Woman #4: From what Bonnie is talking about, too many services for too many kids, while David is focusing on getting services to kids who really need it. If I were a funder and I was listening to both presentation. I would say David has the figures to back up what he's saying, but Bonnie sounds lovely but I don't know what it's going to do. David, does it make a difference who (in terms of race identity) provides the services?

[466] Hawkins: It absolutely makes a difference who is providing the services. We know that to be effective, prevention programs and services have to be acceptable to the population. Before they can be effective they have to be acceptableI think that services provided by someone that people can identify with, that people can bond to, that people can develop that sense of commitment and attachment to. [interrupted from the floor, "does cultural sensitivity make a difference"]. Cultural sensitivity and cultural competence is fundamental.

[474] Benard: Sensitivity and listening works, may not matter as much as racial identity. It was the qualities of relationship and opportunities to participate which helped the young people get out of gangs, etc.

[478] Man #3: The risk and protective factor model has moved us in my area out of labeling and blaming. Instead of looking at the individual youth as being the problem we looked at what can we do in the environment to make it better for them. Instead of blaming the student for a lack of commitment to school, we asked ourselves what could we incorporate in the school that would raise their level of commitment, which is give them more authority over their own learning experience.

[486] Man #4: In my communities, David, you have done a nice job of helping our communities break down denial. To allow that we do in fact have problems, that they aren't just the big city problems. When you focus on a risk factor strategy as you've done that has been really useful.

[491] Bonnie, people have been presented with the risk factors. People were all inspired and went out to do something. But they stopped to think, well, we know the risks, what do we do? That's where your piece has been so valuable, as well as David's protective factors. When you talk about caring and support, meaningful participation, high expectations/respect, Bonnie, what you've done is to cause a variety of community groups to sit down and say, "Oh gee whiz, we're the Boy Scouts. Are we providing caring and support? Are we doing meaningful participation/high expectations for our young people?" We looked at what you talk about related to resiliency and we said, "Gee whiz, we may or may not be in fact a protective factor." Just the fact that you work with youth is no guarantee that you're a protective factor. What I think is so rich in the discussion around resiliency and protective factors is in fact getting people to look and say "What is it that we are doing with our young people? What is it that we are doing in our communities? Is that in fact fostering what it is that kids need?"

[507] David, in your definition of resiliency as an individual characteristic, I would say from experience working with small children, that I believe in fact there is research out there that would support that there are a number of resiliency skills which you can in fact teach children. That if we are just under the belief that you are born with it, that doesn't provide a sense of hope in the future, if you're either born with it or you don't have it. I believe that it can be taught.



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