Skip to main content Accesibility Help
×
×
Home

Resilience: thoughts on the value of the concept for critical gerontology

  • KIRSTY WILD (a1), JANINE L. WILES (a1) and RUTH E. S. ALLEN (a1)
Abstract

This article examines the utility of the concept of resilience to the field of critical gerontology. Resilience is an increasingly popular concept within the social sciences. We explore some key ideas about individual and social resilience from varied fields, and propose new ways to conceptualise these in relation to resilience in later life. This article examines the history of the concept of resilience; explores some of the diverse ways that gerontologists are attempting to apply it to later life; and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of using resilience as a conceptual framework within critical ageing research. We also suggest ways of conceptualising resilience and ageing, highlighting the different scales of resilience that impact on the ability of older people to negotiate adversity, and some key areas of resilience relevant to later life. The example of mobility resilience is used to illustrate how different scales of resilience operate within an area of resilience central to the ageing experience. Finally, some key principles for the use of resilience within critical gerontology are outlined, providing guidance on how to maximise the potential of the concept whilst avoiding some of the limitations associated with its historical usage.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Janine L. Wiles, Social and Community Health, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. E-mail: j.wiles@auckland.ac.nz
References
Hide All
Ahmed, R., Seedat, M., van Niekerk, A. and Bulbulia, S. 2004. Discerning community resilience in disadvantaged communities in the context of violence and injury prevention. South African Journal of Psychology, 34, 3, 386408.
Bacon, N., Brophy, M., Mguni, N., Mulgan, G. and Shandro, A. 2010. The State of Happiness: Can Public Policy Shape People's Wellbeing and Resilience? The Young Foundation, London.
Baltes, P. B. and Baltes, M. M. (eds) 1993. Successful Aging: Perspectives from the Behavioural Sciences. Press Syndicate of University of Cambridge, Cambridge.
Bauman, S., Adams, J. H. and Waldo, M. 2001. Resilience in the oldest-old. Counseling and Human Development, 34, 2, 119.
Beck, U. 1992. Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. Sage, London.
Bennett, K. M. 2010. How to achieve resilience as an older widower: turning points or gradual change? Ageing & Society, 30, 3, 369–82.
Beutel, M. E., Glaesmer, H., Wiltink, J., Marian, H. and Brähler, E. 2010. Life satisfaction, anxiety, depression and resilience across the life span of men. The Aging Male, 13, 1, 32–9.
Bonanno, G. A. 2004. Loss, trauma and human resilience: have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely adverse events? American Psychologist, 59, 1, 20–8.
Bonanno, G. A., Wortman, C. B. and Nesse, R. M. 2004. Prospective patterns of resilience and maladjustment during widowhood. Psychology and Aging, 19, 2, 260–71.
Bowling, A. and Dieppe, P. 2005. What is successful ageing and who should define it? British Medical Journal, 331, 7531, 1548–51.
Braudy Harris, P. 2008. Another wrinkle in the debate about successful aging: the undervalued concept of resilience and the lived experience of dementia. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 67, 1, 4361.
Brodsky, A. E. 1999. ‘Making it’: the components and process of resilience among urban, African-American single mothers. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 69, 2, 148–60.
Browne, C. V., Mokuau, N. and Braun, K. L. 2009. Adversity and resiliency in the lives of native Hawaiian elders. Social Work, 54, 3, 253–61.
Campbell-Sills, L. and Stein, M. B. 2007. Psychometric analysis and refinement of the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC): validation of a 10-item measure of resilience. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 20, 6, 1019–28.
Canvin, K., Marttila, A., Burstrom, B. and Whitehead, M. 2009. Tales of the unexpected? Hidden resilience in poor households in Britain. Social Science & Medicine, 69, 2, 238–45.
Cicchetti, D. and Garmezy, N. 1993. Prospects and promises in the study of resilience. Development and Psychopathology, 5, 4, 497502.
Clauss-Ehlers, C. C. 2003. Promoting ecologic health resilience for minority youth: enhancing health care access through the school health center. Psychology in the Schools, 40, 3, 265–78.
Daatland, S. O. 2002. Time to pay back? Is there something for psychology and sociology in gerontology? In Anderson, L. (ed.), Cultural Gerontology. Auburn House, Westport, Connecticut, 111.
Davis, R., Cook, D. and Cohen, L. 2005. A community resilience approach to reducing ethnic and racial disparities in health. American Journal of Public Health, 95, 12, 2168–73.
Felton, B. S. and Hall, J. M. 2001. Conceptualizing resilience in women older than 85: overcoming adversity from loss or illness. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 27, 11, 4653.
Fitzpatrick, K. E. and Vacha-Haase, T. 2010. Marital satisfaction and resilience in caregivers of spouses with dementia. Clinical Gerontologist, 33, 3, 165–80.
Folke, C. 2006. Resilience: the emergence of a perspective for social-ecological systems analyses. Global Environmental Change, 16, 3, 253–67.
Folke, C. and Rockström, J. 2009. Turbulent times. Global Environmental Change, 19, 1, 13.
Fraser, M. W., Richman, J. M. and Galinsky, M. J. 1999. Risk, protection, and resilience: toward a conceptual framework for social work practice. Social Work Research, 23, 3, 131–43.
Friborg, O., Hjerndal, O., Rosenvinge, J. H. and Martinussen, M. 2003. A new rating scale for adult resilience: what are the central protective resources behind healthy adjustment? International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 12, 2, 6576.
Fries, J. F. 1990. Medical perspectives upon successful aging. In Baltes, P. B. and Baltes, M. M. (eds), Successful Aging: Perspectives from the Behavioral Sciences. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 3549.
Ganong, L. G. and Coleman, M. 2002. Family resilience in multiple contexts. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64, 2, 346–48.
Gattuso, S. 2003. Becoming a wise old woman: resilience and wellness in later life. Health Sociology Review, 12, 2, 171–7.
Giddens, A. 1999. Runaway World: How Globalization is Reshaping our Lives. Profile, London.
Grenier, A. M. 2005. The contextual and social locations of older women's experiences of disability and decline. Journal of Aging Studies, 19, 2, 131–46.
Hamarat, E., Thompson, D., Steele, D., Matheney, K. and Simons, C. 2002. Age differences in coping resources and satisfaction with life among middle aged, young-old, and oldest-old adults. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 163, 3, 360–7.
Hildon, Z., Montgomery, S. M., Blane, D., Wiggins, R. D. and Netuveli, G. 2010. Examining resilience of quality of life in the face of health-related and psychosocial adversity at older ages: what is ‘right' about the way we age? The Gerontologist, 50, 1, 3647.
Katz, S. 2003. Critical gerontological theory: intellectual fieldwork and the nomadic life of ideas. In Biggs, S., Hendricks, J. and Lowenstein, A. (eds), The Need for Theory: Critical Approaches to Social Gerontology. Baywood Publishing, Amityville, New York, 1531.
Lowenstein, A. 2009. Elder abuse and neglect –‘Old phenomenon’: new directions for research, legislation, and service developments. Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect, 21, 3, 278–87.
Luthar, S. S. and Cicchetti, D. 2000. The construct of resilience: implications for interventions and social policies. Development and Psychopathology, 12, 4, 857–85.
Luthar, S. S., Cicchetti, D. and Becker, B. 2000 a. The construct of resilience: a critical evaluation and guidelines for future work. Child Development, 71, 3, 543–62.
Luthar, S. S., Cicchetti, D. and Becker, B. 2000 b. Research on resilience: Response to commentaries. Child Development, 71, 3, 573–75.
Marshall, N. A. 2010. Understanding social resilience to climate variability in primary enterprises and industries. Global Environmental Change, 20, 1, 3643.
Massey, S., Cameron, A., Ouellette, S. and Fine, M. 1998. Qualitative approaches to the study of thriving: what can be learned? Journal of Social Issues, 54, 2, 337–55.
Masten, A. S. 2001. Ordinary magic: resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56, 3, 227–38.
Masten, A. S., Hubbard, J. J., Gest, S. D., Tellegen, A., Garmezy, N. and Ramirez, M. 1999. Competence in the context of adversity: pathways to resilience and maladaptation from childhood to late adolescence. Development and Psychopathology, 11, 1, 143–69.
Miller, D. B. and MacIntosh, R. 1999. Promoting resilience in urban African American adolescents: racial socialization and identity as protective factors. Social Work Research, 23, 3, 159–69.
Minkler, M. and Holstein, M. B. 2008. From civil rights to … civic engagement?Concerns of two older critical gerontologists about a ‘new social movement’ and what it portends. Journal of Aging Studies, 22, 2, 196205.
Mitchell, R. 2010. Health, risk and resilience. In Smith, S. J., Pain, R., Marston, S. A. and Jones, J. P. (eds), The Sage Book of Social Geographies. Sage, London, 329–49.
Moody, H. R. 1993. Overview: what is critical gerontology and why is it important? In Cole, T. K., Achenbaum, W. A., Jakobi, P. L. and Kastenbaum, R. (eds), Voices and Visions of Aging: Towards a Critical Gerontology. Springer, New York, xvxli.
Nakashima, M. and Canda, E. R. 2005. Positive dying and resiliency in later life: a qualitative study. Journal of Aging Studies, 19, 1, 109–25.
Pelling, M. and Uitto, J. I. 2001. Small island developing states: natural disaster vulnerability and global change. Global Environmental Change Part B: Environmental Hazards, 3, 2, 4962.
Phelan, E. A., Anderson, L. A., Lacroix, A. Z. and Larson, E. B. 2004. Older adults' views of ‘successful aging’ – how do they compare with researchers' definitions? Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 52, 2, 211–6.
Reichstadt, J., Sengupta, G., Depp, C. A., Palinkas, L. A. and Jeste, D. V. 2010. Older adults’ perspectives on successful aging: qualitative interviews. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 18, 7, 567–75.
Richardson, G. 2002. The metatheory of resilience and resiliency. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 3, 307–21.
Rose, A. 2004. Defining and measuring economic resilience to disasters. Disaster Prevention and Management, 13, 4, 307–14.
Rowe, J. W. and Kahn, R. L. 1998. Successful Aging. Dell, New York.
Rutter, M. 1993. Resilience: some conceptual considerations. Journal of Adolescent Health, 14, 8, 626–31.
Sahoo, A. K., Andrews, G. J. and Rajan, S. I. 2009. Sociology of Ageing: A Reader. Rawat Publications, Jaipur.
Sanders, A. E., Lim, S. and Sohn, W. 2008. Resilience to urban poverty: theoretical and empirical considerations for population health. American Journal of Public Health, 98, 6, 1101–6.
Sapountzaki, K. 2007. Social resilience to environmental risks: a mechanism of vulnerability transfer. Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, 18, 3, 274–97.
Scheidt, R. J., Humphreys, D. R. and Yorgason, J. B. 1999. Successful aging: what's not to like? Journal of Applied Gerontology, 18, 3, 277–82.
Seccombe, K. 2002. ‘Beating the odds’ versus ‘changing the odds’: poverty, resilience, and family policy. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64, 2, 384–94.
Sonn, C. C. and Fisher, A. T. 1998. Sense of community: community resilient responses to oppression and change. Journal of Community Psychology, 26, 5, 457–72.
Spreitzer, G. M. and Sonenshein, S. 2004. Toward the construct definition of postive deviance. American Behavioural Scientist, 47, 6, 828–47.
Staudinger, U. M., Marsiske, M. and Baltes, P. B. 1993. Resilience and levels of reserve capacity in later adulthood: perspectives from life-span theory. Development and Psychopathology, 5, 4, 541–66.
Temperley, J. 2001. The depressive position. In Bronstein, C. (ed.), Kleinian Theory: A Contemporary Position. Whurr, London, 4762.
Tse, S. and Liew, T. 2004. New Zealand experiences: how is community resilience manifested in Asian communities? International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 2, 1, 18.
Tusaie, K. and Dyer, J. 2004. Resilience: a historical review of the construct. Holistic Nursing Practice, 18, 1, 38.
Wagnild, G. M. 2003. Resilience and successful aging. Comparison among low and high income older adults. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 29, 12, 42–9.
Wagnild, G. M. and Young, H. M. 1993. Development and psychometric evaluation of the Resilience Scale. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 1, 2, 165–78.
Wiles, J. L., Leibing, A., Guberman, N., Reeve, J. and Allen, R. E. S. 2011. The meaning of ‘ageing in place’ to older people. The Gerontologist, doi:10.1093/geront/gnr098.
Wiles, J. L., Wild, K., Kerse, N. K. and Allen, R. E. S. in press. Resilience from the point of view of older people: ‘There's still life beyond a funny knee.’ Social Science & Medicine.
Wilson, G. 1997. A postmodern approach to structured dependency theory. Journal of Social Policy, 26, 3, 341–50.
Windle, G., Bennett, K. M. and Noyes, J. 2011. A methodological review of resilience measurement scales. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 9, 8, doi:10.1186/1477-7525-9-8.
Windle, G., Markland, D. A. and Woods, R. T. 2008. Examination of a theoretical model of psychological resilience in older age. Aging & Mental Health, 12, 3, 285–92.
Windle, G., Woods, R. T. and Markland, D. A. 2010. Living with ill-health in older age: the role of a resilient personality. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 6, 763–77.
Zautra, A. J., Hall, J. S., Murray, K. E. and The Resilience Solutions Group. 2008. Resilience: a new integrative approach to health and mental health research. Health Psychology Review, 2, 1, 4164.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
  • URL: /core/journals/ageing-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed