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Resilience: Its Nature and Significance (A Theoretical Overview)

Selwyn Stanley, V. Sethuramalingam, S. Pandian



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 article
with reference to the ecosystems perspective. The concluding section briefly outlines
implications for intervention

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