Bloodied but unbowed: resilience examined in a South asian community

Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2012 Jul;82(3):367-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-0025.2012.01163.x.


The construct of resilience was examined in a South Asian community impacted by natural and human-made disasters. Forty-three Sinhala, Tamil, and Muslim Sri Lankans (27 women; age range 21-62 years) participated in 6 focus groups, conducted in either Sinhala or Tamil, to elicit participants' own ideas about components of resilience. Schema analysis of transcripts revealed that although some elements of resilience were common across ethnocultural groups, others differed by ethnic group. The differences appeared to be as much a function of type of trauma exposure as of culture. Components of resilience included many that are recognized in the western construct of resilience as well as 2 culturally unique components: strong will relating either to religious faith or to karma and psychosocial gratitude. These components could be examined in future measures of resilience with similar populations. Findings also revealed that some components of resilience can be taught; thus they can be the focus of interventions and public health policies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disasters
  • Family Relations*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty / psychology
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Social Support*
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tsunamis
  • Violence / psychology
  • Warfare