What is resilience? The value of the 'latent capacity' model for individuals, educators, and organisations

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    Although being a familiar and commonly used word within health, psychology, education, communities, organisations, and most recently, in the context of the global pandemic, resilience can be considered a slippery construct to define. Its multi-dimensional, multi-faceted, and multi-determined nature means, according to Rutter (2006), resilience should not be considered ‘an innate or fixed trait but rather a dynamic which can be influenced by a variety of factors’. Despite this, much of the presentation of resilience is focused on the notion of character, which evolved from early research around ‘thriving against adversity’ where individuals were labelled as ‘superheroes’ (see Davis, 2007).
    This early work on resilience, though, gives an insight into the risk and protective factors which surround individuals, and part of my doctoral study focused on the impact of relationships in this context. The nature of relationships, or ‘relational resilience’ (Jordan, 2004), I explored, within a qualitative study, with secondary school middle leaders as they interpreted their own experiences within the workplace. Through this exploration, the value of resilience as a shield or armour to withstand pressures and stress became less apparent and was replaced with a need to ‘maintain equilibrium and a sense of commitment and agency’ (Gu and Day, 2013).
    Day and Hong (2016) used the term ‘latent capacity’ as a metaphor of resilience, and I developed this as a model to visualise the interconnections between the risk and protective factors and the ways that individuals draw from their relationships. In my presentation I discuss the evolution of this model in more detail and the ways I consider this to influence how we approach resilience for the future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationUniversity of Dundee ESW Annual Research and Scholarship Conference
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2021
    EventUniversity of Dundee ESW Annual research and Scholarship conference - online
    Duration: 12 Nov 202112 Nov 2021


    ConferenceUniversity of Dundee ESW Annual research and Scholarship conference


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