By Machelle D. Madsen Thompson and Bart Klika, Academy on Violence and Abuse, March 2020
Lifespan research reveals that although ACEs are common, many people are able to move toward recovery and achieve reportedly good functional status. This resilience does not occur in isolation but is supported by a composite of protective factors that empower a child to return to functional status following ACEs. Resilience is observed when a child is immersed in positive influences, such as supportive relationships, and is protected from risk factors across ecological systems, which by definition range from individual characteristics of the child to structures in the environment. Protective factors are positive qualities located within the cognitive, emotional, environmental, social, and spiritual experience of the child that are associated with resilience and, when combined, facilitate positive outcomes. These modifiable factors work cumulatively to empower and support the child so that she or he may avoid or successfully work through the trauma associated with ACEs.