Resilience of Individuals, Families, Communities, and Environments: Mutually Dependent Protective Processes and Complex Systems

  • Ashley Collette
  • Michael UngarEmail author
Part of the European Family Therapy Association Series book series (EFTAS)


Theories of resilience across different systems (biological, psychological, social, environmental) share common ground but vary widely depending on the discipline in which they have been constructed. There has, however, been a growing convergence in systemic thinking to explain the complexity of positive growth under conditions of adversity with global efforts to make individuals, their families, communities, governments, and even natural environments better able to adapt and transform when facing severe stress. In this chapter we will show that protective factors and dynamic processes operating at multiple levels are mutually dependent and that new ways of understanding resilience are required if we are to address major social challenges. Using the example of military personnel and the challenges they face, we demonstrate the importance of social and physical ecologies (including both social and material resources) to outcomes associated with resilience. Case examples highlight the need to model resilience in ways that account for the variable pathways to successful adaptation. This equifinality is evident when we study populations facing complex environmental stressors. Implications for both interventions and research are also discussed with an emphasis on broadening the discourse of resilience to be more systemic.


Social ecological resilience Systemic resilience Positive psychological adaptation Resource navigation and negotiation Decentrality Complexity Atypicality Cultural relativity Canadian Armed Forces Military resilience 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Royal Roads UniversityVictoriaCanada
  2. 2.Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience, Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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