Predictors and parameters of resilience to loss: toward an individual differences model

J Pers. 2009 Dec;77(6):1805-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2009.00601.x. Epub 2009 Oct 6.


Although there is marked variation in how people cope with interpersonal loss, there is growing recognition that most people manage this extremely stressful experience with minimal to no impact on their daily functioning (G. A. Bonanno, 2004). What gives rise to this resilient capacity? In this paper, we provide an operational definition of resilience as a specific trajectory of psychological outcome and describe how the resilient trajectory differs from other trajectories of response to loss. We review recent data on individual differences in resilience to loss, including self-enhancing biases, repressive coping, a priori beliefs, identity continuity and complexity, dismissive attachment, positive emotions, and comfort from positive memories. We integrate these individual differences in a hypothesized model of resilience, focusing on their role in appraisal processes and the use of social resources. We conclude by considering potential cultural constraints on resilience and future research directions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Internal-External Control
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Life Change Events*
  • Mental Health*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Self Concept*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology