Introduction: Dimensions of resilience in a context of health-related adversity

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Abstract

This introduction* explores the concept of resilience in relation to empirical evidence presented in several papers in the present issue. The papers discuss resilience in old age, in a context of HIV/AIDS, of people with poor access to safe water and sanitation, and of women who daily have to carry heavy burdens of fuel wood. Resilience appears to be a multi-layered phenomenon that manifests itself as a process. The concept of resilience overlaps that of vulnerability. The vulnerability context is an important factor in people¿s ability to `bounce back¿ when faced with adversity and ill health and it is the context in which entry points for supportive policies and programmes should be identified. People¿s agency plays an important role in their resilience. Although socially and culturally embedded, it is also shaped by emotions and personality characteristics. The latter lend themselves less easily to measurement than the objective factors in the institutional context, and more research is needed on the subjective and qualitative dimensions of resilience
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-227
JournalMedische Antropologie
Volume20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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