Resilience and responses to the experience of trauma – a fascinating but difficult study area
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Klinika Psychiatrii Dzieci i Młodzieży UJ CM
Submission date: 2013-12-11
Final revision date: 2014-01-20
Acceptance date: 2014-01-28
Publication date: 2014-06-28
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Krzysztof Szwajca   

Klinika Psychiatrii Dzieci i Młodzieży UJ CM, Klinika Psychiatrii Dzieci i Młodzieży, ul. Kopernika 21a, 31-501 Kraków, Polska
Psychiatr Pol 2014;48(3):563-572
The notion of resilience, which attempts to explain the phenomenon of positive adaptation (coping) of people exposed to adversities or traumatic events, is becoming a significant area of research in Poland. It is a complex and multidimensional notion, on the borderline between genetics, neurophysiology, anthropology of culture, sociology, medicine, political science, developmental psychology and psychiatry. The phenomenon of resilience is interactive (as it combines the experience of trauma with adaptation to it), it is difficult to measure and it raises serious methodological concerns. They tend to be so significant that some researchers consider resilience to be a construct of dubious scientific value. Such a view seems to be overly critical, however it indicates the magnitude of methodological difficulties. This article discusses some of them: problems with definitions and terminology, measurement difficulties associated with the interactive nature of resilience, the need to search for complex interactions between biological, psychological, social and environmental factors (rather than overly simplistic focus on individual factors which support good adaptation). The methodological issues have been divided into the following research areas: the nature of traumatic experiences, response to trauma, factors which impact the reporting of the reaction to trauma, developmental problems.
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