© 2015

Youth Resilience and Culture

Commonalities and Complexities

  • Linda C. Theron
  • Linda Liebenberg
  • Michael Ungar


  • Focusses on the influence of culture on resilience

  • Demonstrates the complex influence of culture(s) on positive adjustment across five continents

  • Challenges the hegemony of Western-born resilience theories


Part of the Cross-Cultural Advancements in Positive Psychology book series (CAPP, volume 11)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. The Complex Interactions of Resilience and Culture

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Margaret O’Dougherty Wright, Ann S. Masten
      Pages 3-22
  3. Illustrative (Case) Studies: Youth Resilience and Culture

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 49-49
    2. Elias Mpofu, Nancy Ruhode, Magen Mhaka-Mutepfa, James January, John Mapfumo
      Pages 67-79
    3. Patrick Russell, Linda Liebenberg, Michael Ungar
      Pages 131-141
    4. Elizabeth A. Moore, Donna M. Mertens
      Pages 143-155
  4. Researching Resilience Across Cultures

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 187-187
    2. Linda Liebenberg, Linda C. Theron
      Pages 203-215
    3. Laurie “Lali” D. McCubbin, Jennifer Moniz
      Pages 217-229

About this book


Until researchers and theorists account for the complex relationship between resilience and culture, explanations of why some individuals prevail in the face of adversity will remain incomplete. This edited volume addresses this crucial issue by bringing together emerging discussions of the ways in which culture shapes resilience, the theory that informs these various studies, and important considerations for researchers as they continue to investigate resilience. Using research from majority and minority world contexts, ‘Youth Resilience and Culture: Commonalities and Complexities’ highlights that non-stereotypical, critical appreciation of the cultural systems in which youth are embedded, and/or affiliate with, is pivotal to understanding why particular resilience processes matter for particular youth in a particular life-world at a particular point in time. In doing so, this book sensitizes readers to the importance of accounting for the influence of cultural contexts on resilience processes, and to the danger of conceptualising and/or operationalising resilience, culture, and their interplay, simplistically or idealistically. In short, the progressive contents of ‘Youth Resilience and Culture: Commonalities and Complexities’ make it an essential read for resilience-focused scholars, students, academics, and researchers, as well as policy makers, practitioners, and humanitarian workers engaged with high-risk populations.


Culture and Resilience of African American Youth Culture and Resilience of Zimbabwean youth Deaf and Youth Resilience in American Communities Hegemony of Western-born Resilience Theories Influence of Culture on Resilience North American Cultures and Resilience Processes Qualitative Eplorations of Culture and Reilience Reciprocity and Resilience Research Relationship between Resilience and Culture Resilience Processes among Black American Adolescents Resilience Processes of Aboriginal Youth Resilience Research Centre (RRC) Resilient Responses among Young Adults in Itagui, Colombia Respect and Resilience Research Responsibility and Resilience Research Social Support of At-Risk Youth in China Study of Risk and Resilience Theorising Resilience and Culture

Editors and affiliations

  • Linda C. Theron
    • 1
  • Linda Liebenberg
    • 2
  • Michael Ungar
    • 3
  1. 1.Optentia Research Focus AreaNorth-West UniversityVanderbijlparkSouth Africa
  2. 2.Resilience Research CentreDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.Resilience Research CentreDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

About the editors

Linda Theron, D.Ed. (Educational Psychology), is professor in the Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, South Africa.  Her research explores why, and how, some South African youth adjust well to poverty, orphanhood, and/or learning difficulties, and how sociocultural contexts shape their processes of resilience (see / She is an associate editor of the South African Journal of Education and School Psychology International. In 2013, the Education Association of South Africa awarded her a research medal for her contributions to a richer understanding of resilience processes in South African youth.

Linda Liebenberg, D.Phil., is Co-Director of the Resilience Research Centre, and Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Dalhousie University. Her work focuses on the use of elicitation methods and mixed-methods designs in understanding the lives of children and youth living in challenging contexts, with a focus on resilience processes. Her work also includes the design of measurement instruments used with children and youth. She has published and presented internationally on resilience related themes relevant to the understanding of youth across cultures and contexts.  Her publications include the two co-edited volumes (with Michael Ungar, Ph.D.) Researching Resilience and Resilience in Action.

Michael Ungar, Ph.D., is the Killam Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University, Network Director, CYCC Network, and Co-Director of the Resilience Research Centre. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and chapters and 11 books on the topic of resilience and its application to clinical and community work with children and families with complex needs (the Social Ecological Approach to counseling). His latest work includes a clinical textbook Counseling in Challenging Contexts, an edited volume of international papers, The Social Ecology of Resilience: A Handbook of Theory and Practice, and a novel The Social Worker.

Bibliographic information