What is Resilience?

It refers to the ability of an individual, family, organization, or community to cope with adversity and adapt to cahllenges or change. It is an ongoing process that requires time and effort and eganges people in taking a number of steps to enhance their response to adverse circumstances. Resilience implies that after an event, a person or community may not only be able to cope and recover, but also change to reflect different priorities arising from the experience and prepare for the next stressful situation.

How resilient are you?

Take The Resiliency Quiz by Nan Henderson, M.S.W.

  • Resilience is the most important defense people have agains stress
  • It is important to build and foster resilience to be ready for future challenges
  • Resilience will enable the development of a reservoir of internal resources to draw upon during stressful situations.

Several studies have shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary, and that people regularly demonstrate being resilient.

  • Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have
  • Resilience involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone
  • Resilience is tremendously influenced by a person’s environment

Resilience changes over time. It fluctuates depending on how much a person nurtures internal resources or coping strategies. Some people are more resilient in work life, while others exhibit more resilience in their personal relationships. People can build resilience and promote the foundations of resilience in any aspect of life they choose.

What is Individual or Personal Resilience?
What is Family Resilience?
What is Organizational Resilience?
What is Community Resilience?
What Factors Promote Resilience?
How Does Culture Influence Resilience?


Aguirre, B. (2007). Dialectics of vulnerability and resilience. Georgetown Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, 14(39), 1–18.

American Psychological Association. (2006). The road to resilience. Retrieved March 20, 2009, from their online Help Center at

Bonanno, G. (2004). Loss, trauma, and human resilience: Have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events? American Psychologist, 59, 20–28.

Kelly, S. (2007). Personal and community resilience: Building it and sustaining it. Retrieved March 23, 2009, from the University of California Los Angeles Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities at the West Virginia Dept of Health and Human Resources.

Simon, J., Murphy, J., & Smith, S. (2008). Building resilience: Appreciate the little things in life. British Journal of Social Work, 38, 218–235.

Wilson, S., & Ferch, S. (2005). Enhancing resilience in the workplace through the practice of caring relationships. Organization Development Journal, 23(4), 45–60.