Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chairperson

Lauri Hyers, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lia O'Brien, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jonathan Friedman, Ph.D.


In this qualitative archival diary study, Holocaust-era diaries were explored for evidence of the resilience of adolescent girls. Adolescent-themed passages were selected from the posthumously published diaries of Anne Frank and Renia Speigel, who kept private diaries while under the constant threat of war and genocide. To explore how the everyday affairs of adolescent development may contribute to resilience in the face of trauma, I used thematic analysis to determine the prevalence and emotional valence of four themes of adolescence: evolving social-relationships, emotional fluctuation, cognitive-identity changes, and physical changes. The emotional valence of the adolescent-themed diary passages was more likely to be positive than negative. Based upon emic coding, positive emotions included affiliation, love, joy, excitement, lust, self-efficacy, trust, contentment, and justice. Negative emotions included relationship conflict, sadness, loneliness, social-emotional distancing, confusion, embarrassment, frustration, and jealousy. The attention the girls paid to affiliation and socio-emotional coping is highly consistent with women’s gendered patterns of resilience. Theoretical conceptions of the resilience of adolescent girls and implications for humanitarian aid workers, therapists, and educators are discussed.