Rising from the Ashes: Exploring Resiliency Factors in Adolescents and Adults


  • Julia Weatherly Amherst College


An individual’s capacity to be flexible and adaptable to external and internal stressors is vital for survival. Unemployment, illness, drug and alcohol exposure are examples of some of the many realities and normalized behaviors that exist in our society. For many, these perceived notions of inescapable realities manifest in the onset of later disorders such as depression and anxiety. However, there are examples of people who refuse to let their surroundings become the inevitable and rise above their cultural and personal boundaries. Resiliency is best defined as the capacity to spring back, rebound successfully in the face of adversity, and develop the capacity to feel control over an environment (Helton & Keller, 2010; Walsh, 2003). How individuals respond to traumatic and stressful events is seen in both psychological and biological literature. This literature review will identify how resiliency is expressed in human behavior through genetics, environmental protective factors and the dynamic interactions between them. Specifically, this literature review will consider biological explanations for resiliency, environmental and situational explanations, gender and geographical differences and limitations and future directions for research on resiliency.