Understanding Culture, Resilience, and Mental Health: The Production of Hope

  • Catherine Panter-BrickEmail author
  • Mark Eggerman


The authors report on their multidisciplinary and longitudinal studies of Afghan families that included paired interviews with adolescents and adult caregivers. The authors argue that cultural values are the “bedrock” of resilience: they underpin the meaning attributed to great suffering, hope for the future, and a sense of emotional, social, and moral order to ordinary and extraordinary aspects of life. Remarkably, they show that war-related trauma is not the principal driver of poor mental health: traumatic experiences are linked to fractured family relationships and a failure to achieve personal, social, and cultural milestones. Resilience, meanwhile, rests upon a demonstration of family unity. In the context of structural disadvantage that includes poverty, crowded living conditions, and exposure to violence, the authors also show that cultural dictates come to entrap Afghans in the pursuit of honor and respectability, a core facet of psychosocial resilience. The chapter highlights linkages between psychosocial and structural resilience, cautioning against a simplistic view of culture as a set of protective resources. The authors discuss the ramifications of social policies that raise not just hope, but undue expectations without sufficient resource provision.


Mental Health Child Mental Health Political Violence Resource Provision Social Ecology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and Jackson Institute for Global AffairsYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Macmillan Center for International and Area StudiesYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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