Genetic variants and traumatic experiences are two possible risk factors for mental disorders. However, a wider range of outcomes often results from such risk factors. Alim et al. (CME, p. 1566) identified 259 people with trauma histories in a high-risk urban area. Psychiatric illness was not the inevitable result of trauma. Compared to those who were currently ill, resilient individuals who did not develop psychiatric disorders were more likely to report having a purpose in life. However, they had experienced fewer types of trauma, especially physical assaults. Those who had psychiatric histories but had recovered were also more likely to report having a purpose in life, as well as feelings of mastery. Paracchini et al. (p. 1576) pinpointed genetic factors in reading skills among the general population. A genetic haplotype found initially in dyslexia was more generally associated with poor reading and spelling performance among more than 6,000 children ages 7–9 from a general population cohort. In an editorial on p. 1505, Dr. Robert Freedman discusses these articles as models of research on the spectrum of normal response to risk factors.