Resilience in psychology
|Nenuphar, commonly known as “water lily” that grows despite the muddy terrain.|
Resilience as a personality trait
From one point of view, resilience is defined as a personality trait.
Resilience as a dynamic process
Why is important to study resilience?
Resilience is negatively correlated with:
Resilience in the face of trauma and non-traumatic adversity (daily hassles)
When considering resilience and trauma, it is worth recognizing that even if a normal life can be free of trauma, it is never free of adverse circumstances. Terr (1991) distinguishes two types of trauma: type I: that is a single sudden traumatic event (such as a car crash) and Type II: that is a chronic exposure to a specific trauma (such as intra-familial violence).
Later, Solomon and Heide (1999) introduced type III: that is recurrent multiple trauma starting in childhood until later age.
Other researchers have developed alternative approaches, for example, the Sense of Coherence concept (SOC; Antonovsky, 1987). The Sense of Coherence is a global orientation of the individual that allows them to perceive their surrounding world as comprehensible, manageable and meaningful. This worldview enhances physical and psychological well-being, regardless of the presence or lack of trauma. The higher the Sense of Coherence, the more individuals are capable of coping with the daily obstacles they are confronted with.
It is still unclear what specific emotional process explain the healing process through resilience. This process may involve the sense of helplessness, the presence of positive emotions, or the perception of control of the situation. Many studies take these concepts into account. Nevertheless, we have yet to see clear evidence of the influence of these dimensions on resilience. It is relevant to increase the level of importance of the emotional, cognitive and behavioral dimensions of resilience. The separation in three dimensions could allow a more precise identification of underlying processes. It should be noted that other areas of psychology are based on this categorization: for example, the separation of intergroup relations (Klein & Leys, 2013) into prejudice (emotional aspect), stereotypes (cognitive aspect), and discrimination (behavioral aspect).
It is also important to take into account that, until now, trauma and resilience have been deeply intertwined. However, nothing truly indicates that this is necessary. Further research is needed to develop studies highlighting the links between resilience and the daily stress management, with the aim of unifying the research areas of resilience and the Sense of Coherence. If we did so, it would be easier to identify those processes that command the coping strategies.