Background: Stress-related mental disorders are the most prevalent and cost-intensive disorders of our time. On the other hand, the maintenance of mental health despite stressors, i. e. resilience, is a frequent phenomenon. Research on psychological resilience and its underlying mechanisms offers innovative possibilities for health promotion. It requires a consistent understanding of resilience and adequate methods of operationalization.
Objectives: Modern concepts of the definition, operationalization and assessment of resilience as well as its implications for study designs in resilience research.
Material and methods: Analysis and discussion of current works and expert recommendations for the design of resilience research.
Results: Resilience research is undergoing a period of transition. Based on a new understanding of resilience as a dynamic and modifiable process, new approaches for operationalization and assessment were proposed. These include, for example, a transdiagnostic approach and the identification of resilience mechanisms, the consideration of stressor exposure in measuring the construct, and longitudinal cohort studies.
Conclusions: In the upcoming decades, further profitable findings from current prospective longitudinal studies can be expected. One challenge for future resilience research consists in the continuous dissemination and implementation of the approaches described.
Keywords: Healthcare promotion; Longitudinal studies; Resilience mechanisms; Resilience score; Stressor exposure.