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The Resilience Portfolio Model: Understanding Healthy Adaptation in Victims of Violence


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Objective: Exposure to diverse forms of interpersonal violence is associated with a wide range of psychological problems in children and adults. However, many people who experience violence do not develop symptoms of psychopathology. Studies of resilience in victims of violence have identified protective factors associated with healthier outcomes but have a number of limitations for understanding how individuals exposed to violence adapt and even thrive. The present article addresses these limitations by introducing a conceptual framework that integrates insights from theory and research on resilience, positive psychology, posttraumatic growth, and stress and coping. Approach: The Resilience Portfolio Model is a strengths-based framework designed to provide a holistic understanding of the protective factors and processes that promote resilience in children and adults exposed to violence. It proposes that the density and diversity of resources and assets available to individuals (their resilience portfolio) shapes their responses to violence, and identifies 3 higher-order functional categories of strengths that are proposed to be particularly salient for resilience: regulatory, interpersonal, and meaning-making strengths. Conclusion: The Resilience Portfolio Model offers new directions for studying resilience in victims of violence and identifies a wider range of strengths and protective factors to address in prevention and intervention efforts.
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The Resilience Portfolio Model: Understanding Healthy Adaptation in
Victims of Violence
John Grych
Marquette University
Sherry Hamby
Sewanee, University of the South
Victoria Banyard
University of New Hampshire
Objective: Exposure to diverse forms of interpersonal violence is associated with a wide range of
psychological problems in children and adults. However, many people who experience violence do not
develop symptoms of psychopathology. Studies of resilience in victims of violence have identified
protective factors associated with healthier outcomes but have a number of limitations for understanding
how individuals exposed to violence adapt and even thrive. The present article addresses these limitations
by introducing a conceptual framework that integrates insights from theory and research on resilience,
positive psychology, posttraumatic growth, and stress and coping. Approach: The Resilience Portfolio
Model is a strengths-based framework designed to provide a holistic understanding of the protective
factors and processes that promote resilience in children and adults exposed to violence. It proposes that
the density and diversity of resources and assets available to individuals (their resilience portfolio) shapes
their responses to violence, and identifies 3 higher-order functional categories of strengths that are
proposed to be particularly salient for resilience: regulatory, interpersonal, and meaning-making
strengths. Conclusion: The Resilience Portfolio Model offers new directions for studying resilience in
victims of violence and identifies a wider range of strengths and protective factors to address in
prevention and intervention efforts.
Keywords: adaptation, adversity, positive psychology, protective factors, resilience
Research on the effects of violence on human functioning has
focused primarily on the negative outcomes that follow from these
experiences. This work has provided an important foundation for
describing the adverse impact of diverse forms of violence and
spurred the need for action at the levels of policy, prevention, and
intervention. However, many people exposed to violence exhibit
healthy functioning (e.g., Bonanno, 2004;Masten, 2001), and if
we are to develop a more complete understanding of the effects of
violence and identify more effective ways for helping those who
experience it, we will need to investigate the processes that ac-
count for positive as well as negative outcomes. Studies of resil-
ience in victims of violence have identified a number of protective
factors associated with better adjustment, but this work has limi-
tations for explaining the mechanisms that foster healthy adapta-
tion. The goal of this article is to introduce a framework, the
Resilience Portfolio Model, that is rooted in theory and research on
resilience but integrates insights from the fields of positive psy-
chology, posttraumatic growth, and coping to provide a more
comprehensive understanding of how individuals build fulfilling
lives despite their exposure to violence.
In the sections to follow, we highlight key contributions from
several lines of research that have examined how people adapt to
adversity and identify limitations of each for understanding
healthy functioning in victims of violence. We then introduce the
Resilience Portfolio Model, describing the strengths and protective
factors proposed to contribute to well-being and the specific path-
ways through which they are proposed to foster resilience. Finally,
we outline the implications of the model for research, prevention,
and intervention.
Research on Adaptation to Violence
Several fields of study have investigated healthy functioning in
individuals exposed to adversity, but they have developed rela-
tively independently and rarely have been integrated in the same
explanatory models. Research on different forms of violence sim-
ilarly is siloed, with most studies focusing on a single type of
violence (see Hamby & Grych, 2013). Recent work demonstrates
the interconnected and overlapping nature of different forms of
This article was published Online First August 24, 2015.
John Grych, Department of Psychology, Marquette University; Sherry
Hamby, Department of Psychology, Sewanee, University of the South;
Victoria Banyard, Department of Psychology, University of New Hamp-
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation. This
project was made possible through the support of a grant from the John
Templeton Foundation. We thank Al Bardi for his input on terminology,
Ed de St. Aubin, Christina Caiozzo, and Jessica Houston for their helpful
comments on an earlier draft of this article, and Liz Taylor for her
assistance with the references.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to John
Grych, Department of Psychology, Marquette University, 604 North 16th
Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233. E-mail:
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This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
Psychology of Violence © 2015 American Psychological Association
2015, Vol. 5, No. 4, 343–354 2152-0828/15/$12.00
violence (Hamby & Grych, 2013), and suggests that exposure to
different types of violence has similar outcomes and may operate
through similar mechanisms. The processes that promote resilience
in victims of diverse forms of violence also may be similar, and if
so, this argues for the value of integrating findings from related
areas of study to develop overarching models that describe path-
ways from violence to healthy outcomes.
Contributions From Research on Resilience
The term “resilience” has been used to refer both to healthy
functioning after exposure to significant adversity and to the
capacities needed to adapt successfully to significant adversity
(e.g., Luthar, Cicchetti, & Becker, 2000;Masten, 2007,2011).
Resilience is best understood as a dynamic process rather than a
stable quality of a person because it depends on the constellation
of stressors, risk, and protective factors that characterize the per-
son’s life at a particular time (e.g., Masten, 2011;Rutter, 2012).
Research on resilience in different populations and following
different types of adverse events has identified a set of individual,
relationship, and community factors that are consistently associ-
ated with healthy functioning, including self-regulation, secure
attachment, and neighborhood collective efficacy (for a review,
see Masten, 2007), and described general mechanisms by which
protective factors give rise to adaptive outcomes (e.g., Luthar et
al., 2000).
The identification of these protective factors has made an important
contribution to clinical psychology, and several dozen studies have
reported associations between many of them and positive outcomes in
individuals exposed to different types of violence (for a review, see
Houston & Grych, 2015). However, this work also has limitations for
understanding the processes that promote resilience in victims of
violence. First, many of the protective factors studied simply are the
inverse of risk factors (e.g., Masten & Tellegen, 2012). High levels of
constructs such as emotion regulation and parental warmth are reli-
ably related to healthy functioning, but low levels of these same
constructs are associated with greater symptomatology; labeling the
opposite pole of a continuous variable documented to be risk factor as
a “protective factor” does not reveal anything new about the nature of
the association between that construct and health. Second, most stud-
ies of resilience in victims of violence have defined good outcomes in
terms of the absence of pathology rather than the presence of health;
a recent review found that 2/3 of studies examining resilience in
children exposed to violence used a measure of symptomatology as
the sole measure of adjustment, with low levels of symptoms repre-
senting adaptive functioning (Houston & Grych, 2015). Although low
levels of pathology clearly are desirable, the emphasis on pathology
reflects a narrow view of human functioning and has limited what we
know about how people overcome adversity to lead fulfilling lives.
Few people characterize their hopes for a happy life simply in terms
of avoiding pain; human beings— even those who have experienced
tremendous adversity—are motivated to seek joy, love, and meaning,
not nondepression and nonanxiety (e.g., Bonanno, 2004;Linley &
Joseph, 2004). The emphasis on suffering also neglects the fact that
suffering and happiness are not incompatible; many people report
high levels of well-being despite experiencing violence and trauma
(e.g., Albrecht & Devlieger, 1999;Lecci, Okun, & Karoly, 1994).
Contributions From Research on Positive Psychology
The field of positive psychology was founded as a response to
the emphasis of most psychological research on risk and pathology
(e.g., Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). It has advanced our
understanding of the conceptualization and measurement of
healthy functioning and identified a range of characteristics that
foster well-being, which are typically referred to as character or
personal strengths (Peterson, Park, Pole, D’Andrea, & Seligman,
2008;Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). Unlike many
protective factors, the strengths emphasized in the positive psy-
chology literature (e.g., gratitude, compassion, grit) generally do
not represent the inverse of a risk factor; for example, ingratitude
is not considered to be a risk factor for psychopathology. Thus,
strengths may function as unique protective factors that could
enhance psychological health following exposure to adversity.
However, positive psychology research also has limitations for
understanding resilience in victims of violence. First, much of the
work on strengths is correlational, and correlations between
strengths and well-being do not show that they have a causal effect
on psychological functioning. Second, the processes by which
these characteristics promote well-being have not been studied
systematically. To contribute to a model of adaptation following
adversity and serve as a means for improving psychological health,
it is critical to understand how these strengths function. Finally,
positive psychology research rarely has focused on victims of
violence. There are exceptions, such as studies of victims of the
9/11 terrorist attacks that found that character strengths such as
gratitude were associated with healthy functioning (Peterson &
Seligman, 2003), but we know little about whether character
strengths may help individuals exposed to violence.
Contributions From Research on
Posttraumatic Growth
One line of research that has focused explicitly on positive
aspects of functioning after exposure to adversity is the study of
posttraumatic growth (PTG). Posttraumatic growth refers to deriv-
ing meaning from highly stressful experiences that lead to positive
changes in views of self, the world, and/or relationships (Tedeschi
& Calhoun, 2004). Whereas resilience is conceptualized as main-
taining psychological health despite exposure to violence, post-
traumatic growth is a healthy outcome that occurs because the
individual experienced a stressful event. Research on PTG has
focused attention on the idea that the process of coping with
trauma can have beneficial effects on health, but this research has
some limitations for understanding its role in responding to
trauma. For example, PTG has been conceptualized both as a
process for coping with trauma and as an outcome of the coping
process (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004;Zoellner & Maercker, 2006),
and there is inconsistency in the extent to which growth is viewed
as a cognitive, emotional, or behavioral phenomenon (e.g., Hob-
foll, 2002;Janoff-Bulman, 2004;Wortman, 2004). Further, em-
pirical findings on the links between PTG and mental health are
mixed, with some studies showing positive associations between
PTG and health indicators and others showing negative associa-
tions (Helgeson, Reynolds, & Tomich, 2006). These data raise the
question of when the process of seeking to make meaning of
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traumatic experiences is growth-producing rather than an indicator
of a maladaptive process such as rumination.
Contributions From Research on Coping
Finally, research on stress and coping focuses on understanding
behavioral, cognitive, and emotional processes that are more or
less helpful for responding to stress, including coping strategies
used by victims of violence (e.g., Goodman, Smyth, Borges, &
Singer, 2009;Hamby, 2014). Many coping models have been
developed, but one of the most influential was created by Lazarus
and Folkman (1984). It proposes that behavioral responses to
stressful events are guided by individuals’ appraisals of the event,
which involve perceptions of how threatening the event is and
beliefs about their ability to cope effectively with the event. This
model suggests pathways through which strengths and protective
factors can shape both appraisals and coping behavior and thus
offers potential mechanisms through which intrapersonal charac-
teristics lead to adaptive outcomes. The coping literature also has
limitations for understanding resilience in victims of violence,
however. The focus of most coping research has been on attenu-
ating the impact of negative events in the short term, and less
attention has been paid to identifying behavior that promotes
growth and thriving over time. In addition, coping models have
often sought to classify particular strategies as effective or inef-
fective without taking the context into account (e.g., Hamby,
2014). For example, avoidant behavior generally is considered a
maladaptive strategy (Billings & Moos, 1981), but in some violent
situations, avoidance may be the safest response (Hamby, 2014).
In the Resilience Portfolio Model, we propose that particular
strengths and protective factors foster resilience by shaping ap-
praisals and coping behavior, but do not adopt any existing coping
frameworks to categorize these behaviors.
The Resilience Portfolio Model
The Resilience Portfolio Model draws on theory and research on
resilience, positive psychology, posttraumatic growth, and coping to
better understand how people build fulfilling lives despite experienc-
ing violent and traumatic events. Consistent with Bronfenbrenner’s
(1977) social-ecological framework, it includes protective factors at
the individual, family, peer, and community level, and proposes
processes through which they foster resilience in victims of violence.
The model differs from prior efforts to understand healthy functioning
after exposure to violence in several ways.
First, our primary goal is to inform prevention and intervention
efforts and so the Resilience Portfolio Model emphasizes what
people do in the face of stress that promotes health and well-being,
rather than simply describing qualities or resources that they have.
Although the coping options available to individuals depend in
part on the resources available to them, focusing on malleable
behavior offers greater potential for prevention and intervention
than addressing static personal characteristics or aspects of the
environment. Second, it integrates character strengths studied in
the positive psychology literature with protective factors identified
in work on resilience to provide a more comprehensive accounting
of the qualities that lead to better functioning in response to
adversity. Third, it proposes processes through which these
strengths and protective factors lead to positive outcomes. Fourth,
the model describes a wider array of possible outcomes than are
usually investigated in the violence literature. Finally, it has a life
span focus that considers continuities and discontinuities in how
protective processes may operate in childhood and adulthood.
There is a developmental disconnect in both resilience and positive
psychology research, with nearly all of the studies in these fields
focusing either on children or on adults (for exceptions, see Burt &
Paysnick, 2012); consequently, there is a need for theoretical
models that link the processes studied with children with those
from work on adults. See Table 1 for a summary of the unique
aspects of the model.
As illustrated in Figure 1, the Resilience Portfolio Model pro-
poses that individuals’ psychological health after exposure to
violence is a product of the characteristics of the adversity, the
assets and resources available to them, and their behavior or
responses. The relationships among these constructs are proposed
to be transactional: people who have the assets and resources to
deal effectively with adversity will tend to function better over
time, whereas those who do not will be increasingly vulnerable to
adversity; in turn, health and well-being tend to enhance resources
and assets (Bronfenbrenner, 1977). Although the largest influence
on children’s adaptation to adversity lies in their environment,
especially their relationships with caregivers (e.g., Biglan, Flay,
Embry, & Sandler, 2012), over time the sources of resilience
become increasingly internalized. Because both resources and
sources of stress tend to be at least somewhat stable, there often is
continuity in individuals’ ability to adapt to adversity (see Burt &
Paysnick, 2012); however, changes in either can lead to changes in
Exposure to Violence
The processes in the model are set in motion by exposure to
violence. As noted above, different forms of violence tend to have
similar effects on adjustment and many people who experience one
Table 1
Key Elements of the Portfolio Resilience Model
1. Builds systematically and integratively on research in resilience, positive psychology, posttraumatic growth, and coping.
2. Introduces new potential protective factors that are not simply the inverse of risk factors.
3. Proposes that the density and diversity of resources and assets are more important than particular characteristics for understanding resilience.
4. Identifies 3 higher-order functional categories of strengths that are particularly salient for resilience: regulatory, interpersonal, and meaning-making
5. Incorporates key resilience mechanisms (additive, buffering, inoculating, and insulating) in a single model.
6. Adopts a multi-dimensional approach to defining well-being, including psychological, physical, and spiritual aspects.
7. Adopts a developmental, lifespan focus.
8. Identifies specific paths to targets for prevention or intervention.
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type of violence experience others as well (see Hamby & Grych,
2013); consequently, we propose that the model applies to diverse
forms of violence. At the same time, certain aspects of the partic-
ular violent event(s) are likely to shape the impact of the event on
the individual and the efficacy of particular protective factors and
coping behaviors. First, the identity of the perpetrator is proposed
to be important. Violence perpetrated by caregivers or intimate
partners is likely to have a more negative impact that violence
perpetrated by strangers, in part because it also tends to undermine
critical sources of support (e.g., Martin, Cromer, DePrince, &
Freyd, 2013). Whether it is acute or chronic and occurs in the
context of other significant stressors also is proposed to have
different implications for the sufficiency of individuals’ ability to
cope effectively (e.g., Molnar, Buka, & Kessler, 2001).
Assets and Resources: Portfolio of Protective Factors
Consistent with prior work (e.g., Fergus & Zimmerman, 2005),
we use the term assets to describe characteristics of the person that
promote healthy functioning and resources to refer to sources of
support outside of the person. Together, they represent what we
refer to as each person’s unique “portfolio” of strengths and
protective factors. This portfolio thus includes variables from
across the social ecology (Bronfenbrenner, 1977) and, also con-
sistent the ecological model, resources and assets are proposed to
have a reciprocal relationship: greater resources promote the de-
velopment of assets, and assets in turn can build resources. For
example, sensitive and responsive caregiving leads to greater so-
cial competence in children, and more socially competent children
in turn are able to draw others toward them and develop mutually
rewarding relationships that may help situate them in communities
with greater social capital and collective efficacy.
Assets. Of the wide array of individual characteristics that
have been identified as potential protective factors, resilience
researchers have described a “short list” of characteristics that are
most consistently associated with healthy adaptation (see Masten,
2007). Many of the strengths described in research on positive
psychology are conceptually similar to these protective factors but
expand on or add unique elements to them. In the model, we
organize these individual characteristics into categories represent-
ing functions proposed to be particularly critical for healthy adap-
tation: regulating emotions and behavior; building interpersonal
relationships; and fostering meaning-making. This grouping also
reflects an insight from the positive psychology literature that it is
useful to think not only about specific characteristics but also
about classes of constructs that share similar features. We propose
that it is the number and variety—what Schnell (2011) has called
the “density and diversity”— of these characteristics that is most
critical for resilience. That is, what matters most for adapting to
adversity is the total constellation of strengths and protective
factors represented in one’s “portfolio” rather than the presence of
any particular strength. We refer to this as a “poly-strengths”
approach that parallels the construct of “poly-victimization” that
has arisen in research on the cumulative burden of violence (Fin-
kelhor, Ormrod, & Turner, 2007). This concept is particularly
important for understanding adaptation to violence because expo-
sure to diverse forms of violence can adversely affect many of the
protective factors described below. For example, physical and
sexual abuse have been shown to undermine children’s capacity to
regulate affect (e.g., Kim & Cicchetti, 2010;Shipman, Zeman,
Penza, & Champion, 2000). Having more types of assets and
resources (diversity) and more strengths within each category
(density) is proposed to increase individuals’ capability to meet
self-regulatory, interpersonal, and meaning-making needs despite
their exposure to violence.
Regulatory strengths. Self-regulation is a multifaceted pro-
cess that involves emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and physiolog-
ical components (e.g., Cole, Martin, & Dennis, 2004;Thompson,
1994). It involves sustaining and supporting goal-driven behavior
both in the immediate situation (e.g., coping with a stressor) and
over longer periods of time (e.g., graduating from college). Suc-
cessfully achieving academic, occupational, and even relational
goals requires individuals to maintain focus and effort over months
or years, plan and organize their time, and continue to strive
despite difficulties and diversions. Aspects of self-regulation such
as executive functioning and planfulness have been identified as
protective in longitudinal research (e.g., Masten et al., 2004;Mof-
fitt et al., 2011), and this category encompasses a number of other
frequently identified protective factors, including cognitive abili-
ties, self-efficacy, achievement motivation, and self-direction (e.g.,
Masten, 2007). Several character strengths studied in the positive
psychology literature also can foster regulation and goal attain-
ment over time. Most notably, perseverance and grit (Duckworth,
Steen, & Seligman, 2005) reflect the ability to sustain motivation
and overcome obstacles while striving toward a goal, and charac-
teristics such as optimism and future-mindedness support contin-
ued effort by symbolizing desired outcomes and enhancing beliefs
in their attainability.
Emotion regulation is an aspect of self-regulation that plays a
critical role in responding effectively to stress. It has been studied
primarily in the context of managing negative emotions (e.g.,
Greenberg, Kusche, & Speltz, 1991;Kim & Cicchetti, 2010), and
has been shown to predict better outcomes in children exposed to
family (e.g., Cicchetti, Rogosch, Lynch, & Holt, 1993) and com-
munity violence (e.g., Kliewer et al., 2004). Although studied
much less, the capacity to generate and sustain positive emotions
may be just as important for resilience (e.g., Fredrickson, 2001;
Zautra, Affleck, Tennen, Reich, & Davis, 2005). Functionalist
models of emotion state that positive affect leads people to engage
Figure 1. The Resilience Portfolio Model. See the online article for the
color version of this figure.
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the environment (Fredrickson, 2001;Oatley & Jenkins, 1996),
which can further build their resources and promote effective
coping. Therefore, the capacity to experience, maintain, or gener-
ate positive affect, which is at least somewhat independent of the
capacity to manage negative affect, can support coping in difficult
times and build essential assets and resources in good times (e.g.,
Garland et al., 2010;Layous, Chancellor, & Lyubomirsky, 2014;
e.g., Ong, Bergeman, Bisconti, & Wallace, 2006).
Interpersonal strengths. Interpersonal strengths are charac-
teristics within the individual that foster the development and
maintenance of close relationships, which are a primary source of
happiness and meaning for many people as well as an important
source of support when adversity occurs. Social support is one of
the most commonly studied protective factors (for a review, see
Thoits, 2011) and constitutes a key resource for victims of vio-
lence, but resilience research has paid far less attention to people’s
ability to establish social bonds and what they do to strengthen
interpersonal connections. In any social milieu, including schools,
communities, and even families, the degree of social support
individuals have ranges widely. The positive psychology literature
offers the potential to identify personal qualities that are valuable
for developing and maintaining good relationships and to explore
how this process occurs rather than simply describing the level of
support that exists.
The strengths included in this category have both intra- and
interpersonal aspects, but we include them here to emphasize their
potential for building and sustaining supportive relationships.
Qualities such as gratitude, compassion, generosity, and forgive-
ness all can be conceptualized as internal states, but when ex-
pressed behaviorally they enhance social bonds and strengthen
interpersonal connections. For example, gratitude has been defined
as a disposition that involves noticing and being thankful for past
and present experiences (Wood, Froh, & Geraghty, 2010), and it
has been shown to predict well-being in longitudinal research
(Bono, McCullough, & Root, 2008;Wood, Maltby, Gillett, Linley,
& Joseph, 2008). Feeling grateful may enhance subjective well-
being, but acting grateful, for example, by expressing appreciation
to a friend, extends its internal benefits by enhancing interpersonal
relationships. Numerous studies have documented links between
gratitude and indicators of positive social relationships (for a
review see Wood et al., 2010). For example, Lambert and Fincham
(2011) showed that expressing gratitude promotes relationship
maintenance behaviors, and close relationships are particularly
important protective factors when adversity occurs (Fredrickson,
Meaning-making strengths. This category incorporates ideas
from research on resilience, positive psychology, and posttrau-
matic growth, all of which propose that the capacity to find
meaning in difficult and even traumatic life events promotes
mental health (e.g., Lyubomirsky, 2001;Masten, 2007). The desire
to explain and understand one’s experiences is a powerful human
characteristic. Even young children spontaneously seek explana-
tions for events that occur in their lives, and this tendency is
particularly strong when these events are aversive or distressing
(e.g., Fabes, Eisenberg, Nyman, & Michealieu, 1991;Garmezy,
1983;Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Individuals’ capacity to make
sense of the events that occur in their lives and to maintain
coherence between events and their broader beliefs and values is
instrumental in coping with adversity in the short term and also can
foster positive affect and optimism and support sustained effort
toward achieving long-term goals (Lyubomirsky, 2001;C. L. Park,
2010). The importance of attempting to make meaning of adverse
events has been the central focus of research on posttraumatic
growth (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004). Studies in this area have
described different aspects of meaning-making that individuals
engage in following trauma and examined their links with psycho-
logical health. However, there is disagreement about the number of
dimensions captured by current measures, and most assess self-
perceptions of growth that often show little relationship to behav-
ioral measures of changes (Frazier et al., 2009;Gunty et al., 2011;
Powell, Rosner, Butollo, Tedeschi, & Calhoun, 2003). Conse-
quently, the aspects of meaning-making that are most critical for
growth following traumatic events are not yet known.
Efforts to make meaning from stressful events do not invariably
improve well-being. They can result in rumination and distress if
the events cannot be integrated into individuals’ broader beliefs
and values, or if the meaning made reinforces maladaptive beliefs
(e.g., the self is bad and deserving of punishment) (e.g., Park,
2010). The Resilience Portfolio Model proposes that making
meaning of difficult experiences is facilitated when individuals
have a clear set of beliefs, values, and goals and the sense that life
has meaning and purpose. Their origin may be secular, but for
many people, meaning is rooted in spiritual and religious systems
of belief (e.g., King, Hicks, Krull, & Del Gaiso, 2006;C. L. Park,
2010). Although spirituality historically has been neglected in
mainstream psychological research (V. Banyard & Graham-
Bermann, 1993;Hamby, 2014) and religious activities like prayer
at times have been characterized as ineffective forms of coping,
empirical studies consistently show that spirituality is associated
with life satisfaction and posttraumatic growth (e.g., Shaw, Joseph,
& Linley, 2005), and of the strengths studied, spirituality has some
of the highest associations with adjustment following adversity (N.
Park, Peterson, & Seligman, 2004;Peterson & Seligman, 2003).
Regardless of their source, the ability to make sense of traumatic
events and integrate them into broader beliefs about the self and
the world is proposed to lead to more adaptive appraisals and
behavioral responses.
Resources include people who provide emotional, instrumental,
and/or financial support, characteristics of the social ecology such
as positive school climate, neighborhood cohesion and collective
efficacy, and socioeconomic status.
Supportive relationships. Across the life span, supportive
and caring relationships with others are reliably related to more
adaptive functioning, although which relationships are most salient
evolves over time (e.g., Biglan et al., 2012;Masten, 2007). For
children, caregivers are the most critical resource for fostering
resilience; they provide protection and nurturance and foster the
development of qualities such as self-regulation (Biglan et al.,
2012;Conger & Conger, 1982;Fergusson & Lynskey, 1997).
Although parents remain important influences, peers become in-
creasingly important sources of support as children transition into
adolescence, and romantic partners take on more significant roles
in late adolescence and adulthood. These relationships provide a
wealth of benefits for mental health, including the enhancement of
self-worth and efficacy (e.g., Collishaw et al., 2007). Parental
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support (represented by constructs such as parental warmth and
secure attachment) is the most commonly studied protective factor
in studies of children exposed to violence, and has been associated
with resilient outcomes in the majority of these studies (Houston &
Grych, 2015). Unfortunately, for children exposed to violence in
the home and adult victims of intimate partner violence, the people
in the best position to provide support are also the source of the
violence. In these cases, relationships with individuals outside of
the home—friends, extended family, teachers, and so forth—
become increasingly important resources. Indeed, the documented
success of prevention programs like Big Brothers, Big Sisters rests
on cultivating such relationships (Tierney & Grossman, 1995).
Environmental factors. Environmental characteristics play a
key role in theories of healthy development (Bronfenbrenner,
1977), though they have been the subject of relatively little em-
pirical research on resilience in victims of violence. Certain envi-
ronmental factors have effects on both the resources that promote
resilience and the likelihood of being exposed to certain kinds of
adversity (Swisher, 2008) including violence (Rothman et al.,
2011). For example, the socioeconomic status of individuals and
their families often is used as a marker for the ecological context
in which individuals live, what resources are available to them, and
so forth, and also is consistently related to better mental health
outcomes (e.g., Wickrama & Noh, 2010). Nurturing schools and
community organizations characterized by supportive staff who
model, teach, and reinforce pro-social behavior provide opportu-
nities for children to develop important competencies and promote
well-being (e.g., Biglan et al., 2012). In addition to providing
resources that can promote healthy functioning, environmental
forces also may shape how resilience is expressed or what coping
options are utilized. For example, Fleisher (2009) discusses “cul-
tural resilience” or processes of adaptation and response to adver-
sity by groups of people, often via social networks and relation-
ships. Investigating the possibility that resilience is expressed
differently in different environmental contexts, as a result of cul-
tural norms about relationships, role flexibility, and the acceptance
of particular coping strategies, is an important direction for future
Coping responses. This component refers to what people do
specifically in response to adversity and how these actions may
promote well-being. A number of classification schemes for cop-
ing behaviors have been developed (for a review, see Compas,
Connor-Smith, Saltzman, Thomsen, & Wadsworth, 2001), but
because the context in which violence occurs has a powerful effect
on what behaviors may be adaptive or maladaptive (Hamby,
2014), the Resilience Portfolio Model does not label particular
strategies as inherently positive. Rather, it identifies how particular
strengths and protective factors may influence individuals’ ap-
praisals and behavioral responses to violence.
The focus on appraisals underscores the importance of the
meaning of an adverse event to an individual; when a threatening
or stressful event occurs, people try to make sense of why it
occurred and what it may mean for and about their lives (Lazarus
& Folkman, 1984;C. L. Park, 2010). Meaning-making strengths
thus are proposed to shape the kinds of appraisals individuals make
for specific events. People who have a coherent sense of meaning
may find it easier to fit stressful events into their world view and
experience them as less negative and more controllable. For ex-
ample, Skaggs and Barron (2006) reported that individuals who
view an adverse event as something that helped them to develop as
a person show better functioning than those who cannot find
meaning in the experience. Meaning-making strengths such as a
sense of purpose also can sustain goal-driven behavior and rein-
force regulatory and interpersonal strengths (Hamby, 2014). Reg-
ulatory and interpersonal strengths are proposed to guide coping as
well. Emotion regulation serves to modulate affect and physiolog-
ical arousal in the face of stressful events and to help individuals
to sustain positive affect and motivation to engage in constructive
behavior (e.g., Cole et al., 2004). Individuals high in self-efficacy
tend to experience a stronger sense of control in the face of
stressful events and are more likely to engage in adaptive forms of
coping (e.g., Masten et al., 2004). Interpersonal strengths tend to
engender support from others; for example, Wood and colleagues
(2007) found that more grateful people were more likely to seek
and utilize social support and to use coping strategies that involved
engaging with the problem.
Psychological Health and Well-Being
The final component of the model, psychological health, is
defined broadly to include indicators of well-being and positive
affect in addition to symptoms of psychopathology. Well-being is
conceptualized both in terms of subjective evaluations of satisfac-
tion with different aspects of life and the attainment of develop-
mental tasks or competence in multiple areas of functioning (e.g.,
Bonanno, 2004;Masten, Burt, & Coatsworth, 2006). Positive
emotions are included not only because they are phenomenologi-
cally pleasant, but because they have functional benefits: positive
affect promotes creativity, engagement with others, and participa-
tion in productive and enjoyable activities, and enhances a sense of
meaning in life (e.g., Fredrickson, 2001;King et al., 2006). Pos-
itive affect also can reduce negative affect in the moment and thus
may play a role in reducing the negative impact of adverse events
(e.g., Garland et al., 2010;Ong et al., 2006;Zautra et al., 2005).
Research shows that individuals’ experience of positive affect is
largely independent of their experience of negative affect (e.g.,
Zautra et al., 2005), and thus the factors that give rise to positive
emotions may be somewhat distinct from those that lead to neg-
ative affect and could be enhanced even if circumstances causing
negative affect do not change.
Proposed Mechanisms of the Path to Resilience
The resilience literature has described a number of mechanisms
by which protective factors may operate; these schemes tend to
describe similar processes, but often use different terms for the
same mechanisms or use the same terms to refer to different
processes. Fergus and Zimmerman (2005) attempted to add clarity
to this situation by organizing resilience processes into three
primary categories, which they label compensatory, protective, and
challenge. This classification effectively captures the essential
differences among the processes, but in the interest of further
increasing clarity and improving communication across subdisci-
plines of research and practice, we use terms for the mechanisms
that we believe best convey how each is proposed to work and
avoid using terms that have been used inconsistently, ambigu-
ously, or for more than one concept in studies of resilience. In the
model, assets and resources are proposed to promote healthy
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functioning in four ways. First, they reduce the likelihood that
individuals will experience certain kinds of adversity (Path A).
This can be designated an “insulating” effect. For example, indi-
viduals with greater economic resources tend to live in neighbor-
hoods that experience less community violence. Types of adversity
that are more random (e.g., natural disasters) or unavoidable (e.g.,
death of a loved one) will not be prevented by individuals’ port-
folio of assets and resources, but those with more “reliable re-
source reservoirs” (Hobfoll, 2002) are likely to have lower cumu-
lative lifetime exposure to stress. Although reducing exposure to
adversity might not be considered a process that promotes resil-
ience because resilience is defined by the experience of significant
adversity, decreasing exposure to stressful events is one way that
a robust portfolio of protective factors fosters healthy develop-
ment. Second, assets and resources can have a “main effect” on
health and well-being (Path D). This type of mechanism involves
protective factors directly promoting healthy functioning indepen-
dent of their exposure to violence. For example, people who
experience higher levels of gratitude report greater positive affect
in their daily life (e.g., Wood et al., 2008) and secure and support-
ive interpersonal relationships enhance psychological and physical
health across the life span(e.g., Fergusson & Lynskey, 1997;
Sroufe, Egeland, Carlson, & Collins, 2005). From this perspective,
individuals’ psychological functioning can be viewed in terms of
the balance of protective factors and stressors. A scale therefore
makes an apt metaphor: as the number or potency of protective
factors available to individuals increase, they tend to exhibit
healthier functioning, whereas increasing exposure to adversity
tends to reduce psychological health. Fergus and Zimmerman
(2005) use the term “compensatory” for this mechanism, but
because it could also apply to the next mechanism, we believe that
“additive” offers more distinctive and immediately apparent mean-
Third, resources and assets can have a buffering (moderating)
effect on health and well-being (Path B). This type of model
represents the protective process originally described by Garmezy
in his pioneering work on resilience (e.g., Garmezy, Masten, &
Tellegen, 1984). A buffering effect occurs when a protective factor
reduces the impact of a stressful event on adjustment but does not
lead to healthier functioning in the absence of the stressor. A
metaphor for this mechanism is an umbrella: they are valuable for
staying dry when it is raining (when stress is experienced), but do
not make someone more dry when it is not raining (in the absence
of stress). Statistically, this represents a moderating or interaction
effect because the association between stress and adjustment dif-
fers at different levels of the protective factor. For example, Skopp,
McDonald, Jouriles, and Rosenfield (2007) found that exposure to
intimate partner violence was positively related to children’s ex-
ternalizing behaviors when their mothers were low in warmth, but
not at high levels of warmth. In the model, this effect occurs
because individuals’ unique constellation of protective factors—
their portfolio—shapes what they do when faced with adversity
(Path C); effective coping then mitigates the impact of the stressor
on mental health and well-being (Path F). Fergus and Zimmerman
(2005) use the term “protective” for this mechanism, but because
that term is used to label the factors that benefit people in any of
the three ways described here, using it as the label for one of the
mechanisms can create confusion. Finally, PathsE&Grepresent
inoculation effects. Inoculation models propose that exposure to
manageable amounts of stress promotes the development of coping
skills that in turn equip the individual to adapt to more markedly
negative events that occur later in life. This also has been referred
to as a “steeling” effect and is labeled the “challenge” model by
Fergus and Zimmerman (2005). Vaccinations provide a metaphor
for this type of effect: giving a small dose of a virus creates
antibodies that help individuals defend against a more serious
infection later. This model proposes that there is a nonlinear
relationship between stress and both protective factors and health
more broadly in which low levels of stress promote the develop-
ment of protective factors that maintain healthy functioning
whereas high levels of stress are more likely to overwhelm indi-
viduals, undermining effective coping and leading to clinical
symptoms. Almost all research on adversity assumes that the best
score on any adversity measure is zero, but the inoculation model
questions this assumption. Given that some form of adversity will
befall virtually every person who survives to adulthood, perhaps
the experience of successful coping with minor adversities leaves
people better equipped to deal with more significant losses. For
example, children who experience the death of a pet often are quite
distressed but may develop better emotion regulation skills by
talking about the loss with a supportive parent. Most research
investigating processes by which protective factors predict resil-
ience in victims of violence have tested either additive or buffering
models. Additive effects tend to be more commonly documented
than buffering effects (Houston & Grych, 2015), with the excep-
tion of the social support literature (V. Banyard & Williams,
2007), but it is not clear whether those findings indicate that the
additive model better explains how protective factors work or the
greater difficulty in detecting statistical interactions in correla-
tional research. The few studies examining inoculation effects are
equivocal. For example, the National Survey of Children’s Expo-
sure to Violence shows a linear association between the degree of
adversity faced by individuals and their health (Turner, Finkelhor,
& Ormrod, 2010). It is possible that protective factors may func-
tion differently in different contexts or in relation to different types
of stress, and so it may not be the case that a particular factor
always operates through the same mechanism. However, explicat-
ing the specific ways that protective factors foster resilience is
important for developing more effective prevention and interven-
tion strategies.
Developmental Considerations
The resources, assets, and adversities described in the model all
are expected to change over the course of development. A full
treatment of the developmental trajectories of each element is
beyond the scope of this article, but we highlight a few points for
illustration. Assets such as self-regulation skills develop over the
course of childhood, though different strengths develop at different
rates. For example, basic abilities to self-soothe and inhibit ag-
gression normally become established in childhood, whereas as-
pects of executive functioning (e.g., inhibitory control) continue to
develop into early adulthood (Burt & Masten, 2009). Similarly,
meaning-making strengths depend in part on cognitive develop-
ment and evolve over the course of adolescence and early adult-
hood, and may become more salient as individuals get older. The
relative influence of internal assets versus external resources also
is likely to change over the life span. Most of the protective factors
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available to children are external resources, most centrally their
caregivers, whereas internal assets become increasingly important
as autonomy increases in adolescence and adulthood. External
resources remain influential for adults, but they are in a position to
exert more control over the resources available to them. It also is
important to note the transactional nature of the relations among
the model’s components. The double-sided arrows in Figure 1
denote reciprocal associations among the constructs. Hobfoll
(2002) used the term “resource caravans” to describe how indi-
viduals who have greater resources are able to continue to build on
them over time, and the model similarly proposes that individuals
who exhibit resilience after adversity are more likely to further
develop intra- and interpersonal resources that can protect them in
the future. For example, those who characteristically experience
and express greater positive affect are likely to develop more
supportive relationships (Path D), and those who have greater
competencies are likely to feel more efficacious to cope with new
difficulties that arise (Path F). At the same time, adversity expe-
rienced over the course of childhood and adolescence can under-
mine the development of resources (Path A), and so children who
are exposed to high levels of adversity are likely to have fewer of
the environmental, relational, and individual resources that foster
well-being. This transactional process explains why considerable
continuity in both maladjustment and resilience has been docu-
mented by studies that follow participants from childhood into
adolescence (e.g., Masten et al., 2004;Werner & Smith, 2001).
However, age also presents opportunities to change. One of the
most important factors explaining why youths exhibiting a mal-
adaptive trajectory switched to the resilient group in adulthood in
these longitudinal studies was their capacity to take advantage of
“second chance” opportunities in adolescence. These opportunities
most often involved developing a satisfying intimate relationship
with a well-functioning partner, a stable job, or entry into second-
ary education (e.g., Werner & Smith, 2001). Of course, their
capacity to take advantage of these opportunities was influenced
by the assets and resources that they had developed earlier in life,
but these findings speak to the importance of considering context
in understanding how resilience develops.
Implications for Future Research
The value of a conceptual framework lies in large part in its
capacity to organize existing data and its potential to generate new
research questions. The Resilience Portfolio Model identifies sev-
eral directions for research investigating how children and adults
cope with and overcome adversity, many of which arise from the
effort to bridge research in different domains (e.g., positive psy-
chology and resilience). In the next section we describe some of
the most pressing issues highlighted by the model.
Specifying Relations Among Resources, Assets,
Behavior, and Health
A key premise of the model is that personal strengths can foster
resilience in victims of violence, and this idea leads to a number of
testable hypotheses regarding the potential for strengths identified
in the positive psychology literature to uniquely predict adjustment
beyond established protective factors. The model generates ques-
tions about the specific relations among strengths, protective fac-
tors and coping; that is, how resources and assets influence what
people do in response to adversity. For example, how does the
process of meaning-making affect how individuals appraise and
respond to violence in the moment? Or how does a strength like
perseverance relate to individuals’ success in managing their affect
and behavior at the time a stressor occurs? Conceptualizing health
more broadly also leads to questions about whether particular
strengths and protective factors have different associations with
different outcomes, such as whether strengths are more closely
related to (greater) well-being and protective factors are more
closely associated with (lower) clinical symptoms. As noted
above, happiness and clinical symptoms are somewhat indepen-
dent, and it is possible that specific assets and resources may have
different associations with different aspects of psychological
health. Examining multiple aspects of well-being will offer a more
comprehensive understanding of how resilience is experienced.
Investigating protective factors and personal strengths together
creates opportunities to test hypotheses that reflect the full con-
stellation of assets and resources available to people. It might be
possible to develop profiles of strengths and protective factors that
characterize individuals and test whether these profiles better pre-
dict adjustment than specific strengths, or whether there are
strengths that appear to be more critical or foundational for par-
ticular outcomes than others. Adopting a polystrengths perspective
similar to the recent focus on polyvictimization in violence re-
search (Finkelhor et al., 2007) also raises the question of whether
the total number of strengths in individuals’ portfolio is a more
potent predictor of their functioning than the nature of those
Investigating the Mechanisms by Which Strengths
Promote Resilience
Research on resilience and positive psychology has identified a
number of correlates of better mental health, but still has far to go
in identifying which have a causal effect on functioning and how
they promote resilience (e.g., Vagi et al., 2013). The Resilience
Portfolio Model offers a guide for specifying and testing the
processes by which particular strengths influence psychological
health directly (additive effect; Path D) and indirectly via apprais-
als and behavioral responses to stressors (buffering effect, Path C).
Kleiman and colleagues (2013) provide an illustrative example.
They found that the interaction of gratitude and grit predicted
increased meaning in life, which in turn predicted lower levels of
suicidal ideation over 4 weeks in a sample of college students.
Investigating how specific self-regulatory, interpersonal, and
meaning-making strengths promote resilience following adversity
has important implications for improving prevention and interven-
tion. To test questions about the processes that foster healthy
functioning, longitudinal, and where feasible, experimental de-
signs are needed to investigate whether resources and assets pro-
mote mental health or simply act as indicators of resilience. More-
over, these processes may operate differently at different ages, and
so it will be important to consider developmental changes in when
particular strengths develop and whether their associations with
adjustment differ at different ages.
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Exploring Situational and Cultural Factors
One limitation of the research on positive psychology and
resilience that is reflected in the Resilience Portfolio model is a
lack of attention to situational and cultural contexts. Most of the
work in these areas implicitly adopts a culture-neutral, resource-
neutral view that emphasizes individual characteristics as determi-
nants of functioning (V. Banyard & Graham-Bermann, 1993;
Hamby, 2014). McMillen (2004) also notes the lack of attention to
situational and cultural contexts in research on posttraumatic
growth and outlines a number of ways that such contexts may
influence growth after stress. To fully understand how individuals
adapt to violence, it is critical to move beyond a focus on the
individual to explore how communities can serve as sources of
resilience. Which community or communities are most relevant is
likely to vary across sample, as are the most important aspects of
the community. In some places, physical location (e.g., neighbor-
hood, county) may be most salient, whereas in others, family ties
or shared culture may be more meaningful to individuals. These
distinctions may not be obvious to people outside of the commu-
nity, and so researchers interested in studying violence in a par-
ticular area will need to be familiar with the community and open
to learning from its members.
Implications for Prevention and Intervention
We believe there is a real hunger in the field for work that can
help people achieve true thriving and not simply the avoidance of
symptoms. By describing how regulatory, relational, and meaning-
making strengths can foster well-being in victims of violence, the
Resilience Portfolio model offers a number of directions for en-
hancing prevention and intervention efforts.
Enhancing Prevention
Prevention programs addressing violence typically focus on
identifying risk factors and warning signs rather than building a
foundation of skills for healthy relationships, self-efficacy, and
decision-making (for an exception, see Social Emotional Learning;
Durlak & Weissberg, 2011;Hamby & Grych, 2013). Research
stemming from the Resilience Portfolio Model could be useful for
identifying character strengths and protective factors that are most
relevant for fostering resilience in the face of diverse forms of
violence. For example, early in life programs could focus on
building resources and assets, such as parenting competencies, to
create more nurturing environments (Biglan et al., 2012). Such
efforts could have both inoculating and additive effects by reduc-
ing children’s exposure to violence, fostering strengths, and di-
rectly enhancing psychological functioning. Protective factors that
have buffering effects may be particularly important targets for
more focused prevention programs designed for individuals al-
ready experiencing adversity. For example, Wolfe’s “4th R” pro-
gram demonstrated success in preventing interpersonal violence
among youth who had experienced child maltreatment (Wolfe,
Scott, Wekerle, & Pittman, 2001). Many bystander programs work
to help friends be better supports when they receive a disclosure
about interpersonal violence, which may have positive effects on
community as well as interpersonal resources (V. L. Banyard,
Plante, & Moynihan, 2004).
The emphasis of the model on what people do to respond to
adversity also highlights the value of building key skills across the life
span and developing constructive ways to appraise and cope with
difficult events. This can include timing programs to match particular
developmental moments. For example, Testa and colleagues (2010)
evaluated an intervention for incoming college students that involved
teaching parents how to have directed conversations about alcohol
abuse and sexual assault with their children prior to beginning their
first semester. They found that participants receiving the intervention
reported increased mother– daughter communication, which in turn
predicted less heavy drinking and lower rates of sexual victimization
during the first year of college.
Improving Intervention
Enhancing well-being rather than simply reducing symptoms is
central for some models of psychotherapy (e.g., ACT; Hayes, Stro-
sahl, & Wilson, 2012) but traditionally has been emphasized much
less than reduction of symptoms. Research in positive psychology has
given rise to a wide range of activities designed to build strengths and
improve people’s quality of life, and they may add value to existing
prevention and intervention programs focused more on clinical prob-
lems (for reviews, see Seligman et al., 2005;Sin & Lyubomirsky,
2009). Interventions that foster gratitude are among the most fre-
quently studied (see Wood et al., 2010). They involve activities such
as regularly making lists of things for which one is grateful and
writing and delivering letters to people for whom one is grateful (e.g.,
Emmons & McCullough, 2003;Froh, Kashdan, Ozimkowski, &
Miller, 2009). Empirical evaluations of many of these activities doc-
ument positive effects on mood and well-being, but few studies have
employed longer term follow-ups to determine whether the effects are
lasting (for an exception, see Cohn & Fredrickson, 2010), and their
efficacy for victims of violence is unknown. Concerns also have been
raised about the quality of data used to support some interventions,
including the appropriateness of the comparison groups utilized (e.g.,
Sin & Lyubomirsky, 2009;Wood et al., 2010). Although much needs
to be done to establish their efficacy and generalizability, existing data
suggest that focusing on strengths may provide new avenues for
increasing the impact of prevention and intervention efforts (e.g.,
Lyubomirsky & Layous, 2013;Seligman et al., 2005).
As described above, the Resilience Portfolio Model’s focus on
building strengths describes how individuals can respond to victim-
ization in ways that not only alleviate symptoms and enhance well-
being but perhaps also create buffers against future adversity. The
proposed effects of character strengths on appraisals and coping, for
example, suggest specific behavioral strategies that could be inte-
grated into psychotherapy. The model also supports the value of
systematically assessing multiple dimensions of well-being. Some
dimensions, particularly spiritual well-being, have been relatively
neglected in mainstream psychology, and the model’s emphasis on
meaning-making would be helpful in many direct care settings. Like-
wise, a multifaceted conceptualization of psychological health has
implications for the development of better assessment tools to capture
the full range of well-being as well as intervention goals that go
beyond symptom reduction.
The Resilience Portfolio Model draws on key contributions from
research on resilience, positive psychology, posttraumatic growth, and
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This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
coping in an effort to develop a more comprehensive understanding of
how individuals exposed to violence overcome these experiences and
go on to live happy and successful lives. The model expands the range
of protective factors that have been studied in violence research by
incorporating personal strengths identified in the positive psychology
literature, and describes processes by which they guide appraisals and
coping behaviors and promote healthy functioning following expo-
sure to violence. It also identifies new questions for investigating
resilience in victims of violence and offers new ideas for prevention
and intervention. Integrating insights from these complementary
fields of study offers the potential to provide a deeper understanding
of how people adapt to adversity and to improve the strategies that we
develop to assist them in that process.
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Received October 19, 2014
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Accepted July 13, 2015
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... The resilience theoretical framework adopts a strengths-based lens to understand the protective factors, processes, and pathways through which individuals achieve adaptive functioning in the face of adversity (Luthar et al., 2000;Rutter, 2000). The resilience portfolio model (RPM; Grych et al., 2015;Hamby et al., 2018) is one such strengths-based framework. The RPM posits that resilience is a process rather than a fixed feature and that resilience is shaped by multilevel socio-ecological systems (e.g., individual, family, community) and strengths (e.g., self-regulation, interpersonal strengths, meaning-making) that support individuals' positive development (Grych et al., 2015;Hamby et al., 2018). ...
... The resilience portfolio model (RPM; Grych et al., 2015;Hamby et al., 2018) is one such strengths-based framework. The RPM posits that resilience is a process rather than a fixed feature and that resilience is shaped by multilevel socio-ecological systems (e.g., individual, family, community) and strengths (e.g., self-regulation, interpersonal strengths, meaning-making) that support individuals' positive development (Grych et al., 2015;Hamby et al., 2018). Building on this theoretical approach, children who have experienced child maltreatment may | 3 PATTERNS AND TRANSITIONS IN RESILIENCE obtain positive adaptation and resilience, which may manifest in different forms and patterns at different time periods, depending on the protective factors and strengths in which children are embedded. ...
... To date, little is known about the factors that are associated with the patterns and transitions in resilience among young children with a history of maltreatment. Drawing from the RPM's emphasis on interpersonal strengths as a salient protective factor for resilience in children exposed to violence (Grych et al., 2015), caregiver-child relationships might play a critical role in resilience following child maltreatment. Attachment theory adds further support for examining caregiving environments and parenting as vital factors for childhood resilience. ...
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This study examined transitions in resilience profiles and the role of caregiver risk and protective factors in resilience transition probabilities over 18 months among children involved with the child welfare system, using latent profile analysis and latent transition analysis. The sample included 486 children (48% female, baseline Mage = 3.49). There were three resilience profiles at Time 1 (19.9% low emotional behavioral, 26.1% low cognitive, 54.0% multidomain) and two profiles at Time 2 (18.9% low emotional behavioral, 81.1% multidomain). Caregiver mental health problems were negatively associated with membership in the multidomain resilience group at Time 1. Higher levels of cognitive stimulation were associated with initial and continued membership in the multidomain resilience group. Implications for resilient child development are discussed.
... Emotional support is often conceptualized as behavior that fosters feelings of being cared for, loved, valued, and esteemed (Cohen & Wills, 1985;Jacobson, 1986;Thoits, 2011). Caregiver emotional support is theorized to benefit children and adolescents who have experienced violence and other forms of adversity through a variety of mechanisms (Grych et al., 2015). For example, emotional support is hypothesized to promote a sense of truly mattering to others as well as general feelings of self-esteem (Cohen & Wills, 1985;Thoits, 2011). ...
... Both of these constructs are thought to buffer adolescents from some of the negative outcomes associated with adversity. This may occur by providing a sense of purpose and an enhanced sense of self-value, which help counter threats to their self-image, feelings of worthlessness, and thoughts of abandoning goal-driven activities, which sometimes accompany adversity (Cohen & Wills, 1985;Grych et al., 2015;Thoits, 2011). Emotional support may also bolster adaptive coping following adversity (Cohen & Wills, 1985;Thoits, 2011). ...
Background: Emotional support from a caregiver is believed to be important for reducing the likelihood of adolescent trauma symptoms and adjustment problems after sexual abuse. Conflict with a caregiver, another relational dynamic, is very common during adolescence, but little is known about how it might operate in tandem with emotional support to influence adolescent trauma symptoms and adjustment after sexual abuse. Objective: To better understand how caregiver emotional support and caregiver-adolescent conflict jointly contribute to adolescent trauma symptoms and adjustment after sexual abuse. Participants and setting: Participants were 477 adolescents (M age = 13.59, SD = 1.77) and a non-offending caregiver presenting at a children's advocacy center. Methods: Adolescents completed measures of caregiver-adolescent conflict, caregiver emotional support, and their own trauma symptoms and adjustment. Caregivers completed a measure of adolescent adjustment. Results: Caregiver-adolescent conflict and caregiver emotional support each correlated in the expected direction with adolescent trauma symptoms and adjustment (conflict correlations ranged from 0.27 to 0.38, all p values ≤.001; support correlations ranged from − 0.15 to − 0.21, all p values ≤.01). Regression analyses, which simultaneously considered conflict and support, indicated that conflict related to adolescent trauma symptoms and each of the measures of adolescent adjustment, whereas caregiver emotional support contributed to caregiver reports of adolescent adjustment. Caregiver-adolescent conflict did not moderate any of the relations between caregiver emotional support and adolescent trauma symptoms or adjustment. Conclusions: In the aftermath of sexual abuse, caregiver-adolescent conflict contributes to adolescent trauma symptoms and adjustment.
... The concept of "resilience" refers to a dynamic process rather than a stable quality of an individual capable of mitigating risks, adversity, or victimizations (Grych et al., 2015). Resilience also includes an individual's ability to adapt to disturbances that threaten their function, viability, or development (Masten, 2014). ...
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Child behavior problems (CBPs) are pressing social and developmental issues because of their short- and long-term effects on psychosocial development. Among CBPs, depression and conduct disorder stand out as two salient examples of internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Guided by Ungar’s Systemic Model of Resilience, this comprehensive literature review explored the complex associations between sources of risk and resilience, with respect to their impact on the development of depression and conduct disorder during childhood and adolescence. We reviewed literature focused on risk and resilience factors related to depression and conduct disorder from a dynamic systems bioecological perspective focusing on individual, family, and community etiologic sources of influence as well as their impacts at different stages of development. We also examined the impact of first exposure to sources of risk and resilience at various age periods (children vs. adolescence) to better understand contextual changes in the individual’s social-emotional interpersonal networks, for example, the increasing role of peers and community levels of influence. Children with access to a wide range of resilient processes as well as resources and support, are more likely to overcome and outgrow from risk and develop more adaptive behavior patterns than those who do not. However, simply lumping all resilient factors together to explain the protective and promotive factors and processes may obscure how each level of resilience factors promotes and protects certain types of risk factors. Hence, future studies should employ more rigorous and diversified methodological endeavors to examine the interactions of resilience across various domains. Further, practitioners should develop a more comprehensive intervention across the individual, family, and community domains to enhance a child’s resilience to prevent and alleviate depression and conduct problems.
... Pored usmerenosti na smanjenje riziko faktora, od naročitog je značaja da programi budu usmereni i na jačanje protektivnih faktora (Grych et al., 2015). Generalno gledano, jačanje unutrašnih resursa, ličnih pozitivnih kompetenci svakog pojednica u funkciji su prevencije i doživljenog i počinjenog nasilja; ovo se odnosi na razvijanje empatije (Caiozzo et al., 2016;Frick & White, 2008), jačanje samopoštovanja , jačanje ukupnog mentalnog zdravlja (npr. ...
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Background The JoyPop™ smartphone app is a digital intervention designed to enhance day-to-day resilience in youth, particularly those exposed to traumatogenic events [adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)]. Processes of adaptation that foster resilience in response to high stress include affect, cognitive, and behavioral regulation, and social interaction. Digital interventions have application for youth and those who provide them support, including social work trainees navigating the stressors of university studies concurrent with practice internships. Research on resilience-enhancing apps is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms by which change occurs and who is most likely to benefit from these interventions. Methods Social work student participants ( N = 91) were invited to use the JoyPop app two times daily for 28 days. Baseline ACE exposure and change-over-time in affect regulation, stress responsivity, and social support were evaluated after 2 and 4 weeks of app use with t -tests and generalized estimating equation (GEE) modeling. Results Participants identified predominantly as cisgender women of European descent, mean age 26 years (SD = 6.78), 70% undergraduates, and reported consistent daily app use ( Mean days = 26.9, SD = 1.90). Self-reported baseline ACE exposure was high (30% ≥ 5+). We tested change-over-time with generalized estimating equation and saw improvement in affect regulation in the Abbreviated Dysregulation Inventory scale ( β = −3.38, p = <.001), and subscales of behavioral ( β = −1.63, p = <.001), affect ( β = −3.24, p = <.001), and cognitive regulation ( β = 1.50, p = .009). Perceived stress decreased with app use ( β = −2.65, p = <.001) and even more so for participants with reported exposure to more than 4 ACEs ( β = −3.786, p = .030). Conclusions The exploratory findings from our pilot study suggest that consistent use of the app may enhance multidimensional resilience amongst university students who self-report higher than average levels of baseline traumatogenic exposures. Our findings support an approach modeling resilience as a complex, dynamic, multicomponent process supported by resources within and between individuals. Further testing of the mechanisms of adaptation in response to high stress that enhance resilience and identification of the JoyPop™ app features that influence this change is needed to validate that daily app use could help youth with experiences of past and current high stress to better regulate their affect, reduce stress reactivity, and increase resilience.
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Accumulating evidence indicates the multifaceted nature of social support. Although support seekers may receive help, they may also encounter upsetting responses. It remains unclear how seeking and receiving social support, when differentiated, are associated with individuals’ strengths and well-being. This study collected survey data from 357 adults recruited from the southeastern United States. We classified participants using the factors of support seeking and support received into four groups: Interconnected (high on support seeking and receiving), Tended (low on support seeking, high on support receiving), Rebuffed (high on support seeking, low on support receiving), and Isolated (low on support seeking and receiving). We then examined the differences among groups. Findings The study found significant differences among the four groups in measures of regulatory strengths, meaning-making strengths, interpersonal strengths, and perceived well-being. In general, the Interconnected group scored highest among the four groups, followed by the Tended group, the Rebuffed group, and lastly, the Isolated group. Applications The finding that the Rebuffed group did not score significantly lower than the Isolated group underscores the importance of support seeking. Individuals may benefit from the support seeking process even though they do not obtain the support needed. Social work practitioners should facilitate and optimize their clients’ support seeking, including removing clients’ barriers to support seeking and addressing clients’ negative experiences in the support seeking process. Social work researchers should measure multiple aspects of social support, including support received and support seeking.
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This study aimed to explore the interplay between physical activity, self-efficacy, stress self-management and mental health among adolescents. The study gathered data from an online survey conducted among 400 Chinese middle school students (mean age = 13.74 years). The collected data were analyzed using SPSS 27.0 and PROCESS 4.1. The findings indicated a positive and significant relationship between physical activity, self-efficacy, stress self-management, and mental health. Notably, the association between physical activity and mental health was entirely mediated by self-efficacy and stress self-management. Moreover, self-efficacy and stress self-management exhibited a chain mediation effect on the relationship between physical activity and mental health. It is suggested that interventions focusing on physical activity should prioritize strategies for enhancing students' self-efficacy and stress self-management skills as integral components of promoting adolescents' mental health. Future research should delve into identifying specific types of physical activities that have a greater potential to enhance self-efficacy and stress self-management abilities.
Intimate partner violence (IPV), also called domestic violence between marital or romantic partners, affects millions of children worldwide. Extensive research has demonstrated the negative effects of exposure to IPV on children, which include internalizing and externalizing problems, negative perceptions and cognitions, traumatic stress, and problems with physical health, interpersonal relationships, or social competence. There is a wide range of variability in the onset, seriousness, and longevity of these effects; however, some children are resilient despite their challenging circumstances. Research studies are now focused on identifying risk and protective factors that not only explain individual differences in adjustment but can also be modified to enhance prevention and intervention programs. In order to advance this evidence base, more research is needed on the effects of exposure to multiple forms of violence across different contexts, as well as how developmental pathways of how resilience are optimized or regained over time.
Psychosis research has traditionally focused on vulnerability and the detrimental outcomes of risk exposure. However, there is substantial variability in psychological and functional outcomes for those at risk for psychosis, even among individuals at high risk. Comparatively little work has highlighted the factors associated with resilience and the processes that might avert serious mental illness and promote positive outcomes. In this Review, we first discuss the prevailing risk-based approach to psychosis. We then outline a resilience-based approach by defining multisystemic mental health resilience and considering what constitutes a positive outcome. We examine evidence of biological, psychological, social and environmental protective and promotive factors that might confer resilience in the context of psychosis risk. A greater understanding of the factors and processes implicated in resilience has the potential to inform psychosis intervention and prevention efforts at multiple levels, including individuals, institutions and policy-making.
The effect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being was examined. In Studies 1 and 2, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 experimental conditions (hassles, gratitude listing, and either neutral life events or social comparison); they then kept weekly (Study 1) or daily (Study 2) records of their moods, coping behaviors, health behaviors, physical symptoms, and overall life appraisals. In a 3rd study, persons with neuromuscular disease were randomly assigned to either the gratitude condition or to a control condition. The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.
Since the original publication of this seminal work, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) has come into its own as a widely practiced approach to helping people change. This book provides the definitive statement of ACT—from conceptual and empirical foundations to clinical techniques—written by its originators. ACT is based on the idea that psychological rigidity is a root cause of a wide range of clinical problems. The authors describe effective, innovative ways to cultivate psychological flexibility by detecting and targeting six key processes: defusion, acceptance, attention to the present moment, self-awareness, values, and committed action. Sample therapeutic exercises and patient–therapist dialogues are integrated throughout. New to This Edition *Reflects tremendous advances in ACT clinical applications, theory building, and research. *Psychological flexibility is now the central organizing focus. *Expanded coverage of mindfulness, the therapeutic relationship, relational learning, and case formulation. *Restructured to be more clinician friendly and accessible; focuses on the moment-by-moment process of therapy.
Psychology has increasingly turned to the study of psychosocial resources in the examination of well-being. How resources are being studied and resource models that have been proffered are considered, and an attempt is made to examine elements that bridge across models. As resource models span health, community, cognitive, and clinical psychology, the question is raised of whether there is overuse of the resource metaphor or whether there exists some underlying principles that can be gleaned and incorporated to advance research. The contribution of resources for understanding multicultural and pan-historical adaptation in the face of challenge is considered.