The brief resilience scale: Assessing the ability to bounce back

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Agnes, M. (Ed.). (2005). Webster’s new college dictionary. Cleveland, OH: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Ahern, N. R., Kiehl, E. M., Sole, M. L., & Byers, J. (2006). A review of instruments measuring resilience. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 29, 103–125.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bagby, M. R., Parker, J. D. A., & Taylor, G. J. (1994). The twenty-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale-I item selection and cross-validation of the factor structure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, 23–32.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Block, J., & Kremen, A. M. (1996). IQ and ego-resiliency: Conceptual and empirical connections and separateness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 349–361.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Carver, C. S. (1997). You want to measure coping but your protocol’s too long: Consider the Brief COPE. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 4, 92–100.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Carver, C. S. (1998). Resilience and thriving: Issues, models, and linkages. Journal of Social Issues, 54, 245–266.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Chan, I. W. S., Lai, J. C. L., & Wong, K. W. N. (2006). Resilience is associated with better recovery in Chinese people diagnosed with coronary heart disease. Psychology and Health, 21(3), 335–349.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Charney, D. S. (2004). Psychobiological mechanisms of resilience and vulnerability: Implications for successful adaptation to extreme stress. American Journal of Psychiatry, 161, 195–216.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24, 385–396.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Cohen, S., Mermelstein, R., Karmarck, T., & Hoberman, H. (1985). Measuring the functional components of social support. In I. G. Sarason & B. R. Sarason (Eds.), Social support: Theory, research, and application. The Hague, Holland: Martinus Nijhoff.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Connor, K. M., & Davidson, J. R. T. (2003). Development of a new resilience scale: The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC). Depression and Anxiety, 18,76–82.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Denollet, J. (2005). DS14: Standard assessment of negative affectivity, social inhibition, and Type D personality. Psychosomatic Medicine, 67, 89–97.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Finch, J. F., Okun, M. A., Barrera, M., Zautra, A. J., & Reich, J. W. (1989). Positive and negative social ties among older adults: Measurement models and the prediction of psychological stress and well-being. American Journal of Community Psychology, 17, 585–605.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Larsen, R., & Diener, E. (1992). Promises and problems with the circumplex model of emotion. In M. S. Clarke (Ed.), Emotion (pp. 25–59). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56, 227–238.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Moos, R. H., Cronkite, R. C., & Finney, J. W. (1986). Health and Daily Living Manual (2nd ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Center for Health Care Evaluation, Stanford University Medical Centers.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Ryff, C. D., & Keyes, C. L. M. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 719–727.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Scheier, M. F., Carver, C. S., & Bridges, M. W. (1994). Distinguishing optimism from neuroticism (and trait anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem): A reevaluation of the Life Orientation Test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 1063–1078.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Sherbourne, C. D., & Stewart, A. L. (1991). The MOS social support survey. Social Science and Medicine, 32, 705–714.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Tusaie, K., & Dyer, J. (2004). Resilience: A historical review of the construct. Holistic Nursing Practice, 18,3–88.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Veit, C. T., & Ware, J. E. (1983). The structure of psychological distress and well-being in general populations. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 51, 730–742.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Wagnild, G. M., & Young, H. M. (1993). Development and psychometric evaluation of the resilience scale. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 1, 165–178.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS Scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063–1070.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Zautra, A. J., Johnson, L. M., & Davis, M. C. (2005). Positive affect as a source for resilience for women in chronic pain. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 212–220.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Zigmond, A. S., & Snaith, R. P. (1983). The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 67, 361–370.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Bruce W. Smith or Jeanne Dalen or Kathryn Wiggins or Erin Tooley or Paulette Christopher or Jennifer Bernard.

Additional information

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.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Smith, B.W., Dalen, J., Wiggins, K. et al. The brief resilience scale: Assessing the ability to bounce back. Int. J. Behav. Med. 15, 194–200 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1080/10705500802222972

Download citation

Key words

  • brief resilience scale
  • stress
  • recovery
  • pain
  • cardiac