Western literature provides an array of information regarding resilience within at-risk youth. Resilience research within non-Western contexts, and more specifically with exploited youth, is more limited. Despite exploitation, some youth develop a hardy ability to overcome adversity, allowing them more mastery over their environments and even increased psychological steadfastness. This project involved exploring the protective factors of resilience and psychological functioning in Cambodian youth, specifically a group of 24 survivors of sexual trafficking and another group of 24 rural youth without reported exploitation. The ages of participants ranged from J 3 to 22 years, with the average age being 15.62 years [standard deviation (SD=2.68)]. Results indicated resilience constructs (mastery and relatedness) correlated with psychological functioning (anxiety and depression), as expected. The sense of relatedness was moderately associated with age. Also, as predicted, the trafficked young women demonstrated more resilience and less pathology. Consistent with previous research, earlier trauma is believed to inoculate survivors of trauma against further stress, mobilize them to better confront adversity and reduce psychological disruptions. Understanding these issues can help in understanding the relationship between resilience factors and psychological functioning as well as the strengths of many trauma survivors. Their strengths are particularly useful for developing effective treatment protocols for traumatized youth from non-Western backgrounds.
Gray, Glori G.; Luna, Lilia E. U.; and Seegobin, Winston, "Exploring Resilience: Strengths of Trafficking Survivors in Cambodia" (2012). Faculty Publications - Grad School of Clinical Psychology. 235.