Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type




First Advisor

Thomas Hamilton

Second Advisor

Bradley Elison

Third Advisor

Dana Holzer


Intrigued by the individuals among us who have risen above adverse circumstances and experiences to lead contented lives, this thesis is an attempt to unravel the complexities of resilience, particularly as it relates to youth. This thesis explores the resilience phenomenon through an extensive review of the literature, which includes both pioneering work and current studies and findings within the field. Included in this thesis are avenues for future studies as well as suggested applications. In addition specific findings resulting from those studies reviewed are noted. Among the findings, investigators have determined there to be certain protective factors, both biologically and environmentally speaking, which interact to produce resilient manifestations over the course of one’s life. Research also suggests a link between gender and resilience. Further, investigators propose that resilience is not simply an endowed trait but rather an interaction between nature and nurture that can be influenced by one’s will and desire along with a sufficient availability of resources. Resilience is a process which one can self-right like a capsized ship which has been overturned and is capable of righting itself; a process which all humanity can embrace given the opportunity. Resilience transcends restraints placed on individuals through race, social status, past experiences, and geography and plays on the common strings of humanity such as love, connectedness, and a sense of meaning and purpose.