Applying a Family Resilience Framework in Training, Practice, and Research: Mastering the Art of the Possible

Fam Process. 2016 Dec;55(4):616-632. doi: 10.1111/famp.12260.


With growing interest in systemic views of human resilience, this article updates and clarifies our understanding of the concept of resilience as involving multilevel dynamic processes over time. Family resilience refers to the functioning of the family system in dealing with adversity: Assessment and intervention focus on the family impact of stressful life challenges and the family processes that foster positive adaptation for the family unit and all members. The application of a family resilience framework is discussed and illustrated in clinical and community-based training and practice. Use of the author's research-informed map of core processes in family resilience is briefly noted, highlighting the recursive and synergistic influences of transactional processes within families and with their social environment. Given the inherently contextual nature of the construct of resilience, varied process elements may be more or less useful, depending on different adverse situations over time, with a major crisis; disruptive transitions; or chronic multistress conditions. This perspective is attuned to the diversity of family cultures and structures, their resources and constraints, socio-cultural and developmental influences, and the viability of varied pathways in resilience.

Keywords: Family Resilience; Resilience; Resiliencia; Resiliency; Systems Approach; Trauma; enfoque de sistemas; resiliencia; resiliencia familiar; trauma; 创伤; 复原力; 家庭韧性; 系统方法; 韧性.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Dangerous Behavior
  • Family / psychology*
  • Family Relations
  • Group Processes
  • Humans
  • Psychological Theory
  • Psychology / education*
  • Psychology / methods*
  • Research
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology