What Do We Know About Resilience in Older Adults? An Exploration of Some Facts, Factors, and Facets

  • Phillip G. ClarkEmail author
  • Patricia M. Burbank
  • Geoffrey Greene
  • Deborah Riebe


Conceptualizing resilience in older adults presents unique potentials and pitfalls. Facts, factors, and facets that influence or are, in turn, affected by resilience are subjects of ongoing research. The purpose of this chapter is to construct a framework for sorting out the complex, confusing, and sometimes conflicting relationships among these different dimensions. We employ an interdisciplinary approach, highlighting the important contributions that different fields of study make to an understanding of the concept of resilience related to older adults. This chapter is structured around the following key dimensions of resilience: (1) traits and processes, (2) stresses and adversities, (3) life story and narrative, (4) life meaning and spirituality, (5) resilience metaphors, and (6) specific components of the resilience repertoire. It concludes with a discussion of how this deconstruction and interrogation can create a conceptual and practical framework.


Resilience Older adults Traits Processes Stresses Narrative Meaning Spirituality Metaphors Health Resources 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Phillip G. Clark
    • 1
    Email author
  • Patricia M. Burbank
    • 2
  • Geoffrey Greene
    • 3
  • Deborah Riebe
    • 4
  1. 1.P. G. Clark, Program in Gerontology, University of Rhode IslandSocial Sciences Research CenterKingstonUSA
  2. 2.College of Nursing, University of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Food Science and NutritionUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA
  4. 4.Department of KinesiologyUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA

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