Resilience is a concept that suggests that some individuals have a relatively good psychological outcome despite suffering risk experiences that would be expected to bring about serious sequelae. In other words, resilience implies relative resistance to environmental risk experiences, or the overcoming of stress or adversity. It is not strictly social competence or positive mental health. Essentially, it is an interactive concept that involves the combination of serious risk experiences and a relatively positive psychological outcome despite those experiences (Cicchetti, Rogosch, Lynch, & Holt, 1993; Luthar, 2003; Masten, Best, Garmezy, 1990; Masten, 2001; Rutter, 1985; Rutter, 1987; Rutter, 1990; Rutter, 1999; Rutter, 2000a; Rutter, 2003; Werner & Smith, 1982; 1992).
RESILIENCE AND CONCEPTS OF RISK AND PROTECTION
Extensive research has been conducted into risk and protection factors as they operate in relation to the development of psychopathology (see Sameroff, Chapter 3 in this book). The findings show that, although the risk effects of most individual experiences are quite small, their cumulative effect may be great. To a considerable extent, adverse outcomes can be predicted on the basis of the overall number of risk factors (Fergusson, Horwood & Lynskey, 1994; Rutter, 1978; Williams, Anderson, McFie & Silva, 1990). It is therefore necessary to ask whether the concept of resilience is just a fancy way of reinventing the old and well-established concepts of risk and protection. Clearly, this is not the case.