Resilience and Transitioning to Adulthood among Emerging Adults with Disabilities

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Journal Title or Book Title

Journal of Pediatric Nursing








Transitioning to adulthood is not without challenges. The move away from family influence towards independence and self-determination is filled with uncertainty. Increased challenges and vulnerabilities in transitioning are evident among emerging adults with disabilities because they face additional challenges related to their disability over and above what others of this developmental stage experience. The purpose of this convergent parallel mixed methods study was to understand resilience in a select group of emerging adults with disabilities, who have been recognized for their accomplishments, as they are transitioning to adulthood. Quantitative instruments were used to measure the relationship among resilience, physical health, mental health, satisfaction with life, future orientation, and social support resources, while a qualitative focus group and individual interviews further explored the central phenomenon of resilience. This study revealed transitioning goals and values, challenges encountered while transitioning, and key attributes of resilience that have aided in transitioning. Findings conclude that resilience mitigates adversity and facilitates transitioning, the capacity for resilience is well within reach, and resilience comes from a variety of individual and environmental attributes. Nurses care for individuals and are uniquely present to intervene throughout all stages of the transitioning process. Knowing which resilient attributes are most effective in facilitating transitioning would be especially useful in the development of preventative holistic patient-centered nursing interventions. The research and practice implications of this study may suggest that resilience is a viable concept for the development of strength-based, patient-centered nursing interventions that facilitate transitioning.

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