Resilience in Health and Illness

Psychiatr Danub. 2020 Sep;32(Suppl 2):226-232.


Resilience is a relatively new concept that lacks clarity although it is increasingly used in everyday conversation and across various disciplines. The term was first introduced into psychology and psychiatry from technical sciences and afterwards thorough medicine and healthcare. It represents a complex set of various protective and salutogenic factors and process important for understanding health and illness, and treatment and healing processes. It is defined as a protective factor that makes an individual more resilient to adverse events that lead to positive developmental outcomes. Resilience is a positive adaptation after stressful situations and it represents mechanisms of coping and rising above difficult experiences, i.e., the capacity of a person to successfully adapt to change, resist the negative impact of stressors and avoid occurrence of significant dysfunctions. It represents the ability to return to the previous, so-called "normal" or healthy condition after trauma, accident, tragedy, or illness. In other words, resilience refers to the ability to cope with difficult, stressful and traumatic situations while maintaining or restoring normal functioning. The higher the resilience, the lower the vulnerability and risk of illness. Resilient individuals tend to be optimistic, have a tendency to see everything as a useful experience, focus on personal strengths and qualities, use constructive criticism, develop close relationships with others, have developed social skills, and are emotionally conscious. Good resilience aggravates and prevents the onset of disease, provides good heath, facilitates and accelerates healing, and provides productive life and a sense of well-being despite chronic illness. Resilience experts believe that anyone can strengthen their resilience and thus contribute to the advancement of health and, if ill, ease the illness, accelerate and facilitate healing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease*
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Resilience, Psychological*