Initial research on loss and potentially traumatic events (PTEs) has been dominated by either a psychopathological approach emphasizing individual dysfunction or an event approach emphasizing average differences between exposed and nonexposed groups. We consider the limitations of these approaches and review more recent research that has focused on the heterogeneity of outcomes following aversive events. Using both traditional analytic tools and sophisticated latent trajectory modeling, this research has identified a set of prototypical outcome patterns. Typically, the most common outcome following PTEs is a stable trajectory of healthy functioning or resilience. We review research showing that resilience is not the result of a few dominant factors, but rather that there are multiple independent predictors of resilient outcomes. Finally, we critically evaluate the question of whether resilience-building interventions can actually make people more resilient, and we close with suggestions for future research on resilience.
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