Lessons in resilience

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Science  02 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6379, pp. 976-979
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6379.976

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Run by the nongovernmental organization Mercy Corps, the Youth Take Initiative—or, in Arabic, Nubader program—teaches stress management and relationship skills to at-risk 11- to 18-year-olds. Nubader falls into a booming category called psychosocial support; interventions are as diverse as play therapy, parenting courses, and mindfulness training, and they've flourished across more than a dozen countries. Many aim to enhance the resilience of children affected by war and other disasters. The question is, do they work? In 2015, scientists recruited more than 800 teenage boys and girls in northern Jordan, half of them Syrian refugees and the other half Jordanians living in the area, to help put Nubader to the test. It's part of a broader effort to pinpoint which resilience interventions work for which community. With hundreds of millions of young people living in countries riven by armed conflict, finding ways to support them has never been more urgent.

  • Reporting for this project was supported by a Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism.