Health Assets in a Global Context

pp 101-115


Resilience as an Asset for Healthy Development

  • Mel BartleyAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London Email author 
  • , Ingrid Schoon
  • , Richard Mitchell
  • , David Blane

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This chapter examines positive adjustment and resilience as an asset, which can promote good health, even in adverse conditions. It presents a number of different models that have been put forward to explain how resilience works; compensatory, protective and challenge. Resilience is not a constant but is something moulded and shaped by the physical and social environment. Some people, depending on financial or social determinants, will have more freedom and capacity to make healthy choices. A healthy diet is used as an example of a factor which can promote health resilience in some communities, even those where there are levels of socioeconomic disadvantage. Relative health inequalities in a number of Southern Mediterranean countries are used as an example of this. However, the authors argue that in these countries health advantage is conferred by a much more complex range of factors than diet alone. The role of social, religious and ethnic support following deindustrialisation is discussed. The paper concludes with an analysis of the largely unexplored impact of the contemporary removal of much unpaid female labour (both physical and emotional) from the domestic sphere and the untold impact of this on the physical and emotional development of the family. The changing roles and relationships of men and women within in the family have effectively, and perhaps unexpectedly, removed beneficial health assets.


Resilience Diet Capability Health inequality