Demonstrating resilience in an HIV and AIDS context : an emotional intelligence perspective

10 Aug 2007

In this article we contemplate resilience in vulnerable children as a form of emotional giftedness. By foregrounding relevant segments of six ongoing studies and focusing on ways in which vulnerable children in communities in South Africa cope with the impact of HV&AIDS. The concepts of protective factors, processes and cumulative protection shape our understanding of vulnerable children’s coping in terms of resilience as a signature form of (emotional) giftedness. In our studies we use a qualitative case study research design with groups of children in the six participating communities. We rely on dimensions of resilience to extract evidence of vulnerable children’s resilient coping. The results of the study indicate that traces of resilient coping amongst the participating group of children do exist, and that these traces are closely related to the manifestation of emotional intelligence. Themes indicative of children’s resilient coping include a sense of self-worth (based on added responsibility and related to education), the presence of hope and optimism, a sense of security, comfort and belonging (based on knowledge of future caregivers and remaining in a familiar community), as well as selfregulation capacity. We conclude by debating these resilient coping strategies as a form of emotional giftedness.