Human Resilience

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National definitions

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Academic Definitions

From a psychological point of view, the term ‘resilience’ describes the individual ability to overcome a crisis situation. [Human] Resilience is “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress – such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences.” [1]

From a sociological/societal point of view, resilience refers to the ability of human communities to withstand external shocks to their social infrastructure, such as environmental variability or social, economic and political upheaval [2].

[Human] Resilience is “the ability of individuals, communities, organizations, or countries exposed to disasters and crises and underlying vulnerabilities to anticipate, reduce the impact of, cope with and recover from the effects of adversity without compromising their long term prospects”. [3]

See also



  1. American Psychological Association (APA), The Road to Resilience, retrieved November 2016.
  2. Adger, W. N. (2000). Social and ecological resilience: are they related? Progress in Human Geography, 24(3), 347–364.
  3. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), The road to resilience – Bridging relief and development for a more sustainable future, IFRC discussion paper on resilience, June 2012.