The Resilience Research Centre // rrc@dal.ca // +1 902 494 3050

Our Approach

The RRC views resilience from a socio-ecological approach. Our definition of resilience reflects a more pluralistic understanding of the phenomena; where we cannot only focus on youth themselves, but have to account for the relationships that surround them; the communities in which they find themselves and the resources made available to them there. As well as the larger life worlds that effect the allocation of resources to communities, and the impact of global political economies on the wellbeing of families and communities.

In this way, our understanding of resilience becomes a collective one

Furthermore, we need to consider the interactions between the various players, and the capacity of youth and especially those that surround them, their broader communities, to negotiate for resources.

In this way, our understanding of resilience shifts from a static state to one of processes and flux.

Finally, we need to understand the role of culture and context in these collective processes. Consideration of culture and context raises important questions regarding the appropriateness and relevance of resources, responses and interventions, and perhaps most importantly, in how we define health and doing well.

In this way, our understanding of resilience is ultimately contextually and culturally bound.

A Multidimensional Model of Resilience

There are many factors that are associated with resilience. Some of the more common aspects of successful navigation and negotiation for well-being under stress include the following:

Individual factors:

Assertiveness; the ability to solve problems; Self-efficacy; Being able to live with uncertainty; Self-awareness; Perceived social support; A positive outlook; Empathy for others; Having goals and aspirations; Showing a balance between independence and dependence on others; Appropriate use of or abstinence from substances like alcohol and drugs; A sense of humour; A sense of duty (to others or self, depending on the culture).

Relationships factors:

Parenting that meets the child's needs; Appropriate emotional expression and parental monitoring within the family; Social competence; The presence of a positive mentor and role models; Meaningful relationships with others at school, home, perceived social support; Peer group acceptance.

Community contexts:

Opportunities for age-appropriate work; Avoidance of exposure to violence in one's family, community, and with peers; Government provision for children's safety, recreation, housing, and jobs when older; Meaningful rights of passage with an appropriate amount of risk; Tolerance of high-risk and problem behavior; Safety and security; Perceived social equity; Access to school and education, information, learning resources.

Cultural factors:

Affiliation with a religious organization; Tolerance for different ideologies and beliefs; Adequate management of cultural dislocation and a change or shift in values; Self-betterment; Having a life philosophy; Cultural and/or spiritual identification; Being culturally grounded by knowing where you come from and being part of a cultural tradition that is expressed through daily activities.

Physical Ecology factors:

Access to a healthy environment; Security in one’s community; Access to recreational spaces; Sustainable resources; Ecological diversity (for more on this, see our publications page

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