Biological and Psychological Perspectives of Resilience: Is It Possible to Improve Stress Resistance?

Front Hum Neurosci. 2018 Aug 21:12:326. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00326. eCollection 2018.


The term "resilience" refers to the ability to adapt successfully to stress, trauma and adversity, enabling individuals to avoid stress-induced mental disorders such as depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. Here, we review evidence from both animal models and humans that is increasingly revealing the neurophysiological and neuropsychological mechanisms that underlie stress susceptibility, as well as active mechanisms underlying the resilience phenotype. Ultimately, this growing understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms of resilience should result in the development of novel interventions that specifically target neural circuitry and brain areas that enhance resilience and lead to more effective treatments for stress-induced disorders. Stress resilience can be improved, but the outcomes and effects depend on the type of intervention and the species treated.

Keywords: NAc; VTA; depression; mPFC; resilience; stress.

Publication types

  • Review