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ORIGINS

 

Origins

Resilience was originally used in the context of materials science and describes the ability of a material after elastic deformation to return to its original shape.

 

Linguistic origin

The word resilience comes from the Latin "resilire" and means "to jump back" or "to rebound". The English word resilience also includes the ability to change (survival and adaptability) which is very important for our zeitgeist. For example, a "resilient ecosystem" not only survives, but adapts relatively quickly to new circumstances (conditions / occurrences).

In the midst of difficulties lie favourable opportunities.
 Albert Einstein
Resilience in Psychology

Since Emmy Werner (US-American developmental psychologist) the term resilience has also been used in psychology. The internationally recognized longitudinal study (40 years old) with 698 children on the Hawaiian island of Kauai (started in the 1960s) compared children from different family settings. Some of the children were specifically selected on the basis of their biological, medical and/or social risk factors.

 

The comparative study shows that 2/3 of the children at risk developed less well than children without risk factors. They were more often delinquent, psychologically stricken, less healthy and less successful later in life. Many of these "less successful" children have copied and adopted the behavioral patterns of their parents or social systems. They have also adopted behaviours they suffered from as children and passed them on to their children. Nobody was very surprised by this result, as the aim was to measure the influence of socialisation. 

 

However, the most widely observed result of Werner's study was the fact that, despite numerous risk factors, one third of the children developed positively and sometimes achieved better results and successes than children from very protective and supportive families. These children were resilient despite the risk factors. The continuation of the study focused on the behaviour of this selection group (in the meantime adults). What was their recipe for success? The resilience factors or resilience competencies are the result. A person's resilience is not a state, but a lifelong learning process. We have summarized these factors in the Resilience Wheel.