Definition of Resilience

  • Rebecca S. AllenEmail author
  • Hillary R. Dorman
  • Helmi Henkin
  • Keisha D. Carden
  • Daniel Potts


Since 2011, resilience research focusing on older adults has burgeoned. In this literature, resilience is conceptualized both as an individual difference characteristic or trait and as a dynamic coping process within the ever-changing physical and social environment. In order to maintain the process of resilience across the adult lifespan, individuals may continually reexamine and, potentially, refresh their identity through the use of positive coping practices in the face of adversity and normative challenges associated with aging. Choices may be made implicitly or explicitly to focus attention on positive aspects of the self in comparison with others or one’s previous functioning. In this chapter, our definition of resilience includes the processes of being mindful and prioritizing behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that facilitate contentment within one’s specific developmental, physical, emotional, and spiritual context. This chapter updates the literature review from the prior edition. Current ambiguities and methodological limitations of research regarding resilience in adult development also are described. The chapter ends with an overview of specific interventions wherein the strength and power of the resilience process are harnessed to promote behavior change. Directions for future research are considered.


Theory Adaptation Acceptance Meaning Interventions Art therapy Music therapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca S. Allen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hillary R. Dorman
    • 1
  • Helmi Henkin
    • 1
  • Keisha D. Carden
    • 1
  • Daniel Potts
    • 1
  1. 1.Alabama Research Institute on Aging, The University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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