In both the academic and popular press, the related concepts of risk, protection, and resilience have emerged as constructs for conceptualizing social and health problems. The idea of “risk” is ubiquitous in social work. In everyday use, the term conveys the notion that an individual, family, group, school, neighborhood, or organization is likely to experience a negative outcome. Although the ideas of protection and resilience conjure up images of extraordinary feats in overcoming adversity, they are elusive. In light of the growing salience of what some call the “risk-and-resilience” perspective, this special issue of Social Work Research highlights social work research that uses the concepts of risk, protection, and resilience. In this introductory article, the authors define key terms, discuss methodological issues, and explore implications for the profession.

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