Concepts and Measures of Resilience 

Stress has been implicated as a mediator of processes that lead to poor health outcomes for minority groups as well as for all older adults as they experience the losses of aging. Studies of aging and minority groups emphasize resilience as a counterbalancing mechanism that can buffer the adverse effects of stressors.

The concept of resilience is complex and multidimensional, thus there is no broad agreement on its definition. It has been defined as a trait (capacity to adapt to adversity), a process (process of adapting to respond to stress), and an outcome (recovery of original state of health after stress). Resilience is influenced by culture, making it important to obtain perspectives of minority elders in defining it.

Given the complexity of the concept, it is not surprising that there are numerous measures and no agreement on which are the best, although there are some systematic reviews of measures.

A preconference workshop “Concepts and Measures of Stress and Resilience for Minority Aging Research” was held at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, sponsored by the Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research.

Concepts and Measures of Resilience Resources

A slide presentation “Concepts and Measures of Resilience” by Dr. Stewart was part of the preconference workshop. In the presentation, Dr. Stewart recommends developing a comprehensive conceptual framework of the process of resilience as a starting point for developing measures. She presents such a framework that blends trait and process and discusses how it might be developed. Suggestions are made for future research in this area.

Download “Concepts and Measures of Resilience”

A reference list of the literature reviewed for the presentation is also available. It includes a brief summary of literature on definitions of resilience (the concept), overall conceptual frameworks, qualitative research on resilience in minority groups, examples of measures of resilience in secondary datasets, and examples of studies of resilience in secondary datasets. It includes 54 references.

Download Reference List for Concepts and Measures of Resilience