What Are the 7 Cs of Resilience?

Updated: Jan 13

Pediatrician Ken Ginsburg, MD, who specializes in adolescent medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, developed the 7 Cs model of resilience to help kids and teens build the skills to be happier and more resilient.

The 7 Cs model is centered around two key points:

  • Young people live up or down to the expectations that are set for them and need adults who love them unconditionally and hold them to high expectations.

  • How we model resilience for young people is far more important than what we say about it.


The American Academy of Pediatrics summarizes the 7 Cs as follows:

  • Competence This is the ability to know how to handle situations effectively. To build competence, individuals develop a set of skills to help them trust their judgments and make responsible choices.

  • Confidence Dr. Ginsburg says that true self-confidence is rooted in competence. Individuals gain confidence by demonstrating competence in real-life situations.

  • Connection Close ties to family, friends, and community provide a sense of security and belonging.

  • Character Individuals need a fundamental sense of right and wrong to make responsible choices, contribute to society, and experience self-worth.

  • Contribution Ginsburg says that having a sense of purpose is a powerful motivator. Contributing to one’s community reinforces positive reciprocal relationships.

  • Coping When people learn to cope with stress effectively, they are better prepared to handle adversity and setbacks.

  • Control Developing an understanding of internal control helps individuals act as problem-solvers instead of victims of circumstance. When individuals learn that they can control the outcomes of their decisions, they are more likely to view themselves as capable and confident. (6)

The 7 Cs of resilience illustrate the interplay between personal strengths and outside resources, regardless of age.

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