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Ann Korn is a 2014 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University Seattle.

  • Suzanne Engelberg, PhD - Committee Chair
  • Angie Hoffpauir, PhD - Committee Member
  • Heather Hawk, DNP - Committee Member
  • Alejandra Suarez, PhD - Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

A universal definition of resilience does not exist amongst researchers in the social sciences, making comparisons between studies nearly impossible. Added to this dilemma is that researchers hold divergent theories regarding the origin of resilience, whether it is a static trait across the span of a lifetime or more fluid phenomenon in response to life experience. Furthermore, the importance of resilience and the question of its commonality among individuals continue to be debated. A common thread, however, weaves through research: participants in the studies have not been asked for their views. A gap of understanding about the meaning and importance of resilience between the participant and the researcher may exist. In an attempt to understand the possibility of a gap in definition between participants and researchers, approximately 1,000 adult employees, from four different departments of a Northwest area hospital were sent an online, anonymous survey asking for personal views on resilience. The survey contained broad demographic questions. The survey had six additional questions; three were Likert-style and three were narrative in style. The responses were analyzed for the entire sample, by age, by gender and by two broad categories of ethnicity. A total of 348 survey responses were completed and analyzed. A wide range of ages were represented. Women far out-numbered male participants, though males did have representation. White participants out-numbered other ethnicities. Comparisons of views between genders and ethnicities were limited due to the disparity in group sizes. The most frequent definition of resilience was having the ability to bounce back from adverse events. As the majority of participants rated themselves with having high resilience, age did not directly relate to increased resilience in this study. In a more nuanced representation of age, the majority of participants reported that resilience had increased over time in response to adverse events. Death of a loved one was the most cited event that changed resilience for the participants. These views are fairly consistent with the developmental models of resilience. The electronic version of this dissertation is at Ohiolink ETD Center, www.ohiolink.edu/etd

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