HDFS 434 - Risk and Resilience Across the Lifespan

  • 3 credits

This course focuses on why some individuals are at high risk for poor developmental outcomes, and why certain individuals fare well despite such risks or adversities. The course has a strong developmental emphasis because resilience is viewed as a process, the results of which may not be manifest for years, that is in reference to stage-related outcomes or competencies. There is an ecological emphasis because protective and vulnerability factors often reside in families, schools, neighborhoods, and communities.

Course Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the key concepts and principles of resilience theory and practice in human development and family studies.
  • Evaluate divergent views on the definition and operationalization of resilience.
  • Explain risk and protective factors at each stage of development from birth to late adulthood.
  • Describe personal attributes that influence the odds of resilient functioning.
  • Explain how the contexts in which individuals are embedded may shape their adaptation to adversity.
  • Explain resilience as involving mutually beneficial, reciprocally influential relations between a person and his or her context.
  • Evaluation interventions and policies with and on behalf of children, adolescents, adults, families, and communities from a resilience framework.
  • Exhibit effective written communication skills related to risk and resilience across the lifespan.

This course has online exams that require a proctor. Two proctoring options are available: 1) taking the exam on campus at the University Testing Center (UTC), or 2) using ProctorU, an online proctoring service, which allows you to take the exam from your home but requires that your computer has a webcam and a microphone. For full system specifications, please visit: http://proctoru.com/tech.php.

The cost for online proctoring through ProctorU is included in the cost of the course for students enrolled in Division of Continuing Education course sections. Students are responsible for purchasing any software that may be needed for exams taken with ProctorU, including a webcam and microphone.

See http://www.online.colostate.edu/current-students/proctoring.do. for detailed instructions. For full system specifications, please visit: http://proctoru.com/tech.php. If you have any questions, please call the proctor line at 205-870-8122.

This course requires the use of electronic proctoring ProctorU or ProctorTrack as determined by the course faculty. The course syllabus will provide information on the approved electronic testing service. Please see http://www.online.colostate.edu/current-students/proctoring.dot for detailed instructions. For students requiring accommodations, please contact Resources for Disabled Students (RDS); for consideration of exceptions outside the scope of RDS, please contact the University Testing Center.


HDFS 310 (Infant and Child Development in Context), may be taken concurrently and HDFS 311 (Adolescent/Early Adult Development in Context), may be taken concurrently.

Important Information

All prerequisites must be completed or consent from the instructor given prior to enrollment.

If you register for this course after the start of the term, please contact the instructor at the time of registration. By contacting the instructor, you ensure you are added to the CANVAS section as soon as possible and have access to the course and details about the class requirements.

Textbook and Materials

Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.


  • Ordinary Magic (2014)
    Masten, Ann S.
    ISBN: 978-1462523719
  • Resilience in Children, Families, and Communities: Linking Context to Practice and Policy* (2005)
    Peters, Ray D., Leadbeater, Bonnie, and McMahon, Robert J. (eds.)
    ISBN: 978-0387238241

*Note: The E-book version is available for free download through Morgan Library.

Additional readings will be posted on CANVAS, available through the library e-reserve system.


Lilyana Ortega
Lilyana Ortega