, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 194-200

The brief resilience scale: Assessing the ability to bounce back

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Abstract

Background: While resilience has been defined as resistance to illness, adaptation, and thriving, the ability to bounce back or recover from stress is closest to its original meaning. Previous resilience measures assess resources that may promote resilience rather than recovery, resistance, adaptation, or thriving. Purpose: To test a new brief resilience scale. Method: The brief resilience scale (BRS) was created to assess the ability to bounce back or recover from stress. Its psychometric characteristics were examined in four samples, including two student samples and samples with cardiac and chronic pain patients. Results: The BRS was reliable and measured as a unitary construct. It was predictably related to personal characteristics, social relations, coping, and health in all samples. It was negatively related to anxiety, depression, negative affect, and physical symptoms when other resilience measures and optimism, social support, and Type D personality (high negative affect and high social inhibition) were controlled. There were large differences in BRS scores between cardiac patients with and without Type D and women with and without fibromyalgia. Conclusion: The BRS is a reliable means of assessing resilience as the ability to bounce back or recover from stress and may provide unique and important information about people coping with health-related stressors.

The authors gratefully acknowledge Dr. Richard D. Lueker and the staff of New Heart, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico, for providing the opportunity to study patients in their cardiac rehabilitation program. We also gratefully acknowledge Dr. Paul Mullins, Dr. Wilmer Sibbitt, and Erica Montague for their help and support in the study of women with fibromyalgia and healthy controls. Finally, we are grateful to the University of New Mexico for providing a Research Allocation Committee Grant (#06-17) to support the study with women with fibromyalgia and healthy controls.