Resilience is commonly conceptualized as the ability to adapt and thrive despite experiencing adversity (Masten et al., 1995; Elder, 1998; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998). A resilient individual has been tested (Rutter, 2006) and continues to demonstrate healthy psychological and physiological stress responses (McEwen, 2003; Charney, 2004). For most, it is possible to conjure an image of such a person: a woman who chooses to work with sexual assault survivors after she herself is raped; a child growing up in poverty who earns a scholarship to college; a hurricane survivor who rebuilds her own home and helps to revitalize her community. For over three decades, scientists have worked to identify the states and traits characteristic of resilience, with the aim of developing more effective and more diverse evidence-based prophylactic and treatment interventions to combat the deleterious impact of stress on human body and brain. While the value of understanding the neurobiological substrates of resilience has always been appreciated, the lack of tools available to assess the integrity of neural structure and function has impeded progress. Hence, early research on resilience focused on illuminating the psychological and social determinants of stress resistance (Rutter, 1985; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998; Masten, 2001; Bonanno, 2004).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResilience and Mental Health
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges Across the Lifespan
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9780511994791
ISBN (Print)9780521898393
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011


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