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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 233-239

A theoretical review of psychological resilience: Defining resilience and resilience research over the decades


1 School of Medicine, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
2 The Wollongong Hospital, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Ms. Shae-Leigh Cynthia Vella
School of Medicine, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales
Australia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/amhs.amhs_119_19

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Recent times have seen a shift in interest from a focus upon the deficits of individuals to a focus upon individual's strengths. Resilience is a positive psychology construct that has been investigated for decades, prior to this paradigm shift. This article reviews definitions of resilience over time. Although there is no single agreed definition; resilience is commonly described as the ability to bounce back. The risk of stress and negative life events in triggering mental illness has long been recognized. Similarly, the positive outcomes of some individuals to highly adverse situations have also been of interest for a long time. These positive responses or outcomes in the face of significant risk or adversity are generally known as resilience. This article provides a review of definitions of resilience and resilience related phenomena as well as a historical review of the focus of resilience research across the decades in order to inform future research and theorizing. The article concludes with recommendations to researchers to explicitly define their definition and conceptualization of the construct as well as the imperative to move towards a unified view of the construct of resilience. Further, it is clear that research on resilience has progressed and evolved over the decades however this does not denote that research in the area is complete. As such researchers should still seek to understand the complexities of resilience, how to build resilience in different populations, or in individuals experiencing similar adversities.


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