Research themes

The research that we conduct is focussed around several distinct themes.

Social Neuroscience

Researchers across a variety of disciplines have come to recognise that “sense of place” has implications for individual resilience and engagement in civic life. Our work explores the role of “self” in the sense of place–resilience links.  In addition, our work also examines applied urban issues including the role of resilience in adapting to housing crises or homelessness.

The more neuroscience based aspects of our work encompass the application of artificial intelligence and agent based modelling across research topics. Ongoing research also focuses on resilience in human cognition and ageing.

Researchers: Dr Julie Christian, Dr Dietmar Heinke

Resilience within forensic settings

Our research in this area focuses on resilient responses in relation to the experience or witnessing of aggression, violence and other offender behaviours. We undertake this work with both adult and child participants. In addition we also carry out research examining resilience among workers in the criminal justice system, including adaptive behaviours in response to threats and coping with other people’s traumatic experiences.

Researchers: Dr Stephane De Brito, Dr Jessica Woodhams

Resilience among children

Our research in this area focuses on how children, young people and families demonstrate resilience following adversity, and how this impacts on future outcomes. It also examines the relational context of successful coping by looking at the role of peer relationships, or belonging and commitment. For example, current work examines resilience following child maltreatment; the experiences of ‘looked after children’ and their carers; the experiences of families caring for young people with psychosis; and the consequences of institutionalisation for young people.

Researchers: Dr Stephane De Brito, Dr Gary Law, Dr Elizabeth Newton

Resilience and health-related outcomes

We have a comprehensive research portfolio within the area of physical and psychological outcomes. In particular, our research examines resilience in the context of psychological distress, including the demonstration and basis of resilience among high risk groups such as ethnic minorities, migrants and those with life threatening or progressive illness such as dementia or cancer and their partners/carers of patients. We are also interested in the role of factors such as hardiness in enabling individuals to adapt to new situations, for example the role of hardiness in the outcomes of Clinical Psychology trainees. Our research examines models of how staff maintain resilience, which are based on notions of reciprocity at different levels of organisation as well as perceptions of self-efficacy and defense of the self in the face of vulnerability.

Our work is also concerned with how individuals demonstrate resilience following periods of ill-health or health threats. In particular we examine factors that predict recovery (including outcomes such as wound-healing), survivorship issues and benefit finding and the impact of long-term psychological and physical sequela following treatment in relation to resilience-based outcomes. For example, recent work has examined benefit finding and the demonstration of resilience among survivors of breast cancer.

Researchers: Dr Theresa Powell, Dr Biza Stenfert Kroese, Dr Gerard Riley


How does redundant capacity aid resilience in biological, physical and social systems? Redundant capacity may provide an excess capacity, a form of functional redundancy enabling functional compensation and a redundant element on which evolution can act. Redundant capacity consequently enables systems to withstand, recover and adapt to disturbances. Such information could help to establish how redundancy can be built into biological, physical and social systems to aid resilience in an uncertain future.

Researcher: Dr Julie Christian