Resilience in Science and Practice: Pathways to the Future
Ann S. Masten, PhD
In this presentation, Dr. Masten will highlight recent advances in theory and research on resilience in human development. Resilience science emerged from research on the origins of mental health problems as researchers and practitioners recognized the extraordinary variation in the adjustment and outcomes of individuals believed to be at risk for psychopathology and the importance of understanding processes of positive adaptation and protection as well as risks and the development of problems in the context of adversity. From the outset, resilience research had translational goals and recognized the power of intervention studies to test evolving hypotheses about the processes that support adapting or recovering in the context of adversity. In contemporary transdisciplinary theory, resilience is defined as the capacity of a system to adapt successfully to challenges that threaten the function, survival, or development of the system. This definition is scalable across levels of analysis and workable across disciplines.
Resilience of a person is dynamic and distributed, drawing on interconnected systems that extend into neurobiological and psychological processes within the organism as well as outward to relationships with other people and systems in the socioecological context of that person’s life. Resilience is multisystemic, changing as the organism and context change and interact. This perspective on resilience has gained salience for multiple reasons, including the necessity of integrating sciences on resilience in different disciplines to address multiple-system, mass-trauma threats, such as disasters, war, and terror, and the infusion of systems theory into developmental science and psychopathology. Dr. Masten will highlight the alignment of findings in research on resilience in individuals, families, and communities, and the implications of a systems model for practice and policy. Exciting new horizons for integrated research and practice that bridge levels of analysis, systems, and disciplines will be discussed.
- Define resilience from a contemporary systems perspective for scalability and collaboration across disciplines
- Delineate a resilience framework and strategies for promoting resilience in practice and policy
- Describe new directions of multiple-level translational research on resilience
Ann Masten Biography
Ann Masten, Ph.D., is Regents Professor of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. She studies resilience and the processes that promote competence, mitigate risk, and prevent problems in human development. Professor Masten directs the Project Competence research on risk and resilience, including studies of young people exposed to homelessness, war, natural disasters, and migration. She is a past-president of the Society for Research in Child Development and the developmental division (7) of the American Psychological Association. In 2014, she received the Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contributions to Developmental Psychology from the American Psychological Association and published her book, Ordinary Magic: Resilience in Development. She teaches a MOOC on Coursera about “Resilience in Children Exposed to Trauma, Disaster and War: Global Perspectives.”