What factors enable individuals to overcome adverse childhoods and move on to rewarding lives in adulthood? Drawing on data collected from two of Britain's richest research resources for the study of human development, the 1958 National Child Development Study and the 1970 British Cohort Study, Schoon investigates the phenomenon of 'resilience' - the ability to adjust positively to adverse conditions. Comparing the experiences of over 30,000 individuals born twelve years apart, Schoon examines the transition from childhood into adulthood and the assumption of work and family related roles among individuals born in 1958 and 1970 respectively. The study focuses on academic attainment among high and low risk individuals, but also considers behavioural adjustment, health and psychological well-being, as well as the stability of adjustment patterns in times of social change. This is a major work of reference and synthesis, that makes an important contribution to the study of lifelong development.