Superheroes as Resources to Promote Resilience in Children and Adolescents

ABSTRACT Studies indicate that children and adolescents at psychosocial risk can be more vulnerable for behavioral problems and their negative consequences during adult years. This study examined associations between the fictional adversities of popular comic superheroes, in their pre-super-powered stage and the studied real-life adversities of disadvantaged children. I examined a sample of 20 most influential comic superheroes was assembled and an detailed indexing was conducted. It was found that all the most relevant superheroes, in terms of pop culture visibility had a high commonality of shared adversities (e.g., abandonment by family, domestic violence and bullying) with several subgroups of disadvantaged children. This untapped resource has potential for developing psychoeducational interventions, as well as informing public policies that promote resilience among this at-risk population.