Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Education

Supervisor

Dr. Alan Leschied

Abstract

The present study examined how a child’s mental health is impacted by protective factors and his/her gender. Resiliency research has been growing in recent years as researchers recognize the value of focusing on strengths in individuals. Previous research has shown that certain protective factors help buffer against the negative effects of mental health disorders differently for males and females. The present study sought to explore this further. The participants were children and youth with severe mental health and behavioural challenges and were drawn from a tertiary care facility and other mental health organizations. The results revealed that the children and youth had few strong protective factors to help them overcome their challenges. Gender findings were inconclusive. These findings suggest that it is vital to conduct more research on protective factors and how they can be used to help, especially considering that children with severe challenges seem to lack effective protective tools.