Research Themes (2021-2023)
Life adversity is a state of hardship, difficulty, or misfortune in life. There are six types of adversity that one can encounter, including physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and financial adversity. Resilience is defined as a dynamic process wherein people display positive adaptation despite experiences of significant adversity or trauma. Literature has shown that resilient people can utilize their skills and strengths to cope and recover from life challenges. Resilience does not eliminate stress or erase life difficulties. Resilient people may still experience emotional pain, grief, anger, and frustration in the face of life problems, but they handle adversities in ways that foster growth and emerge stronger than they were before. People who lack this resilience may instead become overwhelmed by adversity experiences. They may use maladaptive coping to deal with life challenges and may engage in unhealthy, destructive, or dangerous behaviours. These people are slower to recover from setbacks and may experience more psychological distress or adversities as a result.
The study of resilience has expanded significantly over the past 20 years. Early resilience studies were concentrated on individual attributes that contribute to resilient functioning. Recently, there is a growing awareness of the social dimensions of resilience, including resilience resources that may be available at the family, community, and cultural levels. The field has also increasingly focused on identifying multi-level factors that predict resilience in the face of adversity and developing models that facilitate the design of prevention and intervention programmes so that people will be able to deal more effectively with stress and pressure, to cope with everyday challenges, to develop clear and realistic goals to solve problems, and to bounce back from adversity and trauma.
At present, research on the influences of family, community, and cultural factors on resilient functioning is limited, especially within Chinese societies. There is not yet an evidence-based integrated conceptual framework to formulate a multi-level intervention that utilizes various resilience resources in managing life adversities. For the coming three years, the Centre will link up researchers and practitioners in various disciplines to identify factors related to individual, family, community, and cultural resilience within Chinese societies. Building on this research, a multi-level intervention protocol will be formulated to facilitate the building of resilience in managing life adversities. Meetings and discussions will be held among researchers and practitioners in the HKSYU, local, and overseas universities to devise research and practice projects that aim to explore the applicability of multi-level resilience building to cope with life adversity.