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Achieving Despite the Odds: A Study of Resilience Among a Group of Africa American High School Seniors

Caren Floyd
The Journal of Negro Education
Vol. 65, No. 2 (Spring, 1996), pp. 181-189
DOI: 10.2307/2967312
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2967312
Page Count: 9
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Achieving Despite the Odds: A Study of Resilience Among a Group of Africa American High School Seniors
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Abstract

This article reports on a study examining the phenomenon of resilience, or the manifestation of competence despite the presence of stressful life events or circumstances, as a factor leading to the academic success of 20 African American 12th-graders (10 females, 10 males) from impoverished backgrounds. Interviews were conducted with these at-risk but achieving urban California high school seniors, to identify internal and external forces contributing to the development of resilience among them. Interview data suggest that their academic success is largely attributable to three protective mechanisms: a supportive, nurturing family and home environment; the youths' interactions with and the involvement of committed, concerned educators and other adults in their lives; and the development of two key personality traits-perseverance and optimism.

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