We use research to inform the current state of knowledge on the best practices to develop, build, and maintain resilience and self-control among children and adolescents. We are actively collecting data from youth, parents, and educators to continuously assess and refine our intervention. As an important part of research, our objective is to spread the word on our findings and build upon our work.

Resilience Builder Program® in Schools

Resilience Across Borders administered the Resilience Builder Program® (RBP) in five schools in the DC region serving students from economically marginalized communities. RBP is designed to teach children how to cope with disappointments and setbacks, from everyday frustrations to larger obstacles, in weekly small group lessons. To assess the effectiveness of the program in schools, 169 students were randomly assigned to receive the intervention immediately or following a one semester delay. Students, teachers, and parents completed questionnaires at the beginning of the semester and following the intervention or semester delay. Students who participated in the RBP reported improved self-efficacy and relations to others, both important domains of resilience. Their parents and teachers reported improved resilience. Student’s resilience was also related to academic functioning. Teachers reported that students who participated in the RBP showed significant improvements in study skills, academic engagement, interpersonal skills, and academic motivation. Students who participated in RBP also reported significant improvements in study skills and academic engagement. These findings are now published in the peer-reviewed journal “Evidence Based Practice in Child & Adolescent Mental Health.” Based on the evidence that this program is effective in school settings, Resilience Across Borders is adapting the intervention so that teachers can administer the RBP, ultimately reaching more students.

Resilience Builder Program® in Private Practice

Since 2009, Alvord, Baker & Associates, LLC, a private mental health practice in Maryland, has been involved in a collaborative research effort with Dr. Brendan Rich, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology of the Catholic University of America. Their ongoing studies are investigating the effectiveness of the Resilience Builder Program® for youth 7-12 years old with psychological, self-regulation and social skill deficits. Preliminary results find significant improvement in multiple domains following participation in this 12-week therapy.

For example, in youth with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), results found that parents and children reported significant reductions in problem behavior, hyperactivity, inattention, and emotional problems, and improved social functioning and emotion regulation, while parents and teachers reported significant improvements in resilience. In youth with anxiety disorders, following participation in the Resilience Builder Program®, parents and teachers reported significant improvements in social functioning, parents reported reduced depression, and teachers reported improved emotional problems and emotion regulation. In youth with autism, following participation in the Resilience Builder Program®, youth displayed significant improvements in social skills, communication, emotion regulation, and autism-related symptoms. When administered to at-risk youth in schools, a randomized-control trial found that compared to youth who did not receive intervention, youth who received the Resilience Builder Program® displayed significant improvements in their emotional control and decreases in negative emotion.

Overall, research provides preliminary support for the effectiveness of the Resilience Builder Program® with children with ADHD, anxiety, and autism for improving social, emotional, and behavioral functioning according to multiple informants and in multiple environments.