Mental health is more than the absence of symptoms. For this reason, we give attention to resiliency, which encompasses a set of traits that reflect general resourcefulness and sturdiness of character, as well as flexibility in functioning in response to varying environmental circumstances. While strong relationships and supports are critical for resilient adaptation to the world, as children grow, their personal attributes come to assume increasing importance in determining positive versus negative outcomes. Children and adolescence who possess greater amounts of resiliency have “protective” characteristics that can modify the negative effects of adverse life circumstances. Several aspects or characteristics of resiliency measured by our clinicians include:

Sense of Mastery

  • Optimism: The positive attitude of the child about the world/life in general and the individual’s life specifically, currently and in the future.
  • Self-efficacy: The child’s approach to obstacles or problems, whether or not he/she believes their environment can be overcome.
  • Adaptability: The child’s flexibility, receptivity to feedback, ability to learn from his/her mistakes, and ability to ask others for assistance when necessary.

Sense of Relatedness

  • Sense of trust: The first stage of social emotional development in which the child is able to receive and accept what is given.
  • Perceived access to support: The child’s perception of his/her access to support, rather than actual support, based on an underlying capacity for trust in relatedness.
  • Comfort with others: The child’s experience in the presence of others resulting from past experience with others, as well as physiological makeup; this also works along with other aspects of the sense of relatedness.
  • Tolerance of differences: The child’s ability to have his/her own thoughts and express them, even though they might differ from the thoughts of others, while still remaining in a positive relationship with whom his/her thoughts differ.

Emotional Reactivity

  • Sensitivity: Any strong emotion that disrupts the equilibrium of the child and the intensity of the reaction. The assumption made is that the quickness and intensity of emotional response is distinct from the specific affect that is triggered.
  • Recovery: How soon and how well a child returns to normal functioning after a strong emotional reaction.
  • Impairment: The extent to which intellectual or executive functioning and emotional equilibrium can retain relative autonomy in periods of stress, as opposed to being disrupted and overridden by emotionality.

Other Types of Pediatric Assessments