Resistance and resilience: the final frontier in traumatic stress management

Int J Emerg Ment Health. 2008 Fall;10(4):261-70.


This paper asserts that the constructs of resistance and resilience represent a domain rich in potential for a wide variety of applications in the field of traumatic stress. Resilience holds great potential for those working in applied settings such as public health planning and preparedness, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and business continuity, as well as transportation, law enforcement, fire suppression, emergency medical services, pre-deployment training for military and other high risk professional groups. Additionally, its application to "the war on terrorism" cannot be denied. Finally, the construct of resilience may have direct applicability to businesses and organizations wherein there is perceived value in preparing a workforce to effectively function under adverse or high stress conditions. The putative value of resistance and resiliency in such applied settings resides in their ability to protect against stress-related behavioral morbidity, as well as counterproductive behavioral reactions. Given its importance, the question arises as to whether resilience is an innate trait or an acquired skill. This paper will report on preliminary data suggesting resiliency may be an attribute that can be acquired through participation in a relatively brief training program.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Crisis Intervention / methods*
  • Humans
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*