Resilience : its nature and significance - a theoretical overview

Stanley, Selwyn and Sethuramalingam, V. and Pandian, S. (2018) Resilience : its nature and significance - a theoretical overview. Indian Journal of Social Work, 79 (1). pp. 5-30. ISSN 0019-5634

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The Positive Psychology movement has turned the focus on the strengths that people bring to deal with trauma and crisis. The concept of resilience has assumed increasing significance in this regard and looks at how people withstand the effects of adversity and return to a state of normalcy. The understanding of resilience has been approached from several disciplinary perspectives resulting in a plethora of definitions and explanations. It has been regarded as a personality attribute by some and a contextual disposition by others. This theoretical overview adopts a historical approach and seeks to consolidate and synthesise key points in the understanding of resilience. It examines the multi-faceted nature of resilience and other related concepts as detailed in the extant literature. Characteristics of resilient people and its importance in coping have also been discussed. The bio-psychosocial nature of resilience is explored in this paper with reference to the ecosystems perspective. The concluding section briefly outlines implications for intervention.