Psychological resilience

Our work is concerned with cognitive, affective and social processes that influence behaviour and support adaptation to adversity, stress or change.

The sort of research questions that we aim to answer include:

  • What are the social and psychological factors that impact on physical and psychological outcomes?
  • Do lay beliefs about resilience differ across ethnic or socio-economic groups?
  • How can we foster resilience in employees working with other people’s trauma?
  • What is the role of redundant capacity in conferring resilience?
  • What can be learned about resilience and wellbeing from exploring the insights and experiences of people who cope successfully with difficult circumstances?
  • What is the relational context of wellbeing?
  • Can we identify structural and functional brain markers of resilience?

We use a range of methodologies in order to answer these questions, including questionnaires, in-depth interviews and cognitive interviewing, measurement of stress responses, tissue viability techniques, neuropsychological testing and brain imaging.

We are also part of the Resilience and Urban Living Initiative at the University of Birmingham. The Birmingham approach to resilience research integrates high quality, multidisciplinary teaching with innovative applied research. Furthermore, we aim to ensure that our research is disseminated to key stakeholders and community groups and translated into changes in policy or into effective interventions. We are interested in exploring the processes, predictors and outcomes of resilience. In recognition that several types of resilience may operate simultaneously within a system or community we aim to examine the interrelationships between different types of resilience in response to a range of stressors, threats or conditions of adversity.