Article

Resilience

Anthony Mancini

in Psychology

ISBN: 9780199828340
Published online November 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0050
Resilience

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
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Resilience is the capacity to maintain stable levels of functioning, as well as positive emotions and generative experiences, following or under conditions of significant adversity. Resilience researchers have largely focused on two broad types of adversity: (1) acute and time-limited events that are outside the range of ordinary experience, such as physical or sexual assault, traumatic injury, disease, natural disaster, mass casualty events, war, and interpersonal loss; and (2) chronic enduring stressors, usually experienced in childhood, such as neglect, socioeconomic disadvantage, oppressive political conditions, and physical or mental abuse. Although these two types of adversity necessarily entail different methods and theoretical frameworks, research findings from both literatures have converged on a common conclusion: resilience is common, even under the most extreme adversity. The empirical study of psychological resilience as such is a relatively recent phenomenon—until about thirty-five years ago it drew almost no serious scientific attention. Recently, however, the resilience literature has burgeoned at an exceptional rate. Unfortunately, the study of resilience has been plagued by definitional controversies and methodologically uninformative research. One important cleavage concerns the way resilience is defined and measured. A substantial body of research defines resilience as a personality construct; another literature insists that resilience is defined as an outcome (or process) in response to the experience of significant adversity. Although both approaches have produced relevant and informative research, it is worth noting that, in sheer volume, most resilience research is now devoted to the personality-as-resilience approach. Because these studies often do not study reactions to a marker event, rely exclusively on self-report scales, and employ cross-sectional designs, they are usually (but not always) of inferior methodological quality. Consistent with the suggestions of a number of scholars, this latter approach is described here as “resiliency,” not resilience. Although this bibliography includes high-quality studies that define resilience as a personality construct, most of the research and scholarship listed here operationally defines resilience as an outcome or process that unfolds following acute adversity or during chronic forms of adversity.

Article.  8245 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Health Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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