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Doody ReviewsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D. (Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book describes adult resilience — how people are able to rebound from difficulties to live productive, rewarding lives — across the lifespan, discussing research and interventions.
Purpose: According to the editors, "this handbook fully extends the currency of resilience concepts for the first time from basic biological processes through childhood to the domains of youth and adulthood, to broader societal variables in leadership and community-level processes.
Audience: They suggest the book will be of interest to researchers and practitioners in personality, social, and developmental psychology, health psychology, clinical and community psychology, and psychiatry, as well as graduate students in courses on the psychology of adulthood. The editors are professors of psychology and public affairs and public service at Arizona State University.
Features: The book starts with an introduction to the topic of resilience, defining it as "an outcome of successful adaptation to adversity." The book is organized to first address biological processes, then personal attributes, neighborhood disadvantages, and community support. The authors discuss biological processes such as neurochemical stress response and genetic polymorphism, as well as the interaction of genetics and environment. They describe personal attributes such as an integrated self, good interpersonal skills, and positive coping strategies as characteristic of the resilient personality. Psychopathology is discussed in terms of dysfunctional self-regulation, the inability to pursue multiple goals over an extended period of time and within different contexts. Resiliency across the lifespan is addressed, especially in terms of early trauma and its effect in adulthood. The authors then discuss living in dangerous and/or impoverished neighborhoods and overcoming the odds to become successful. Ethnic and cultural issues are important variables and the authors describe resiliency among immigrant communities. Lastly, they detail interventions to increase psychological resources in both individuals and communities. The book uses helpful figures and tables and includes an author and subject index.
Assessment: This excellent book is full of research findings that are foundational to the theories and interventions undergirding personality characteristics of resilient individuals and potential interventions. The authors walk readers through the developmental precursors and show how resiliency can be maintained across the lifespan, even in the lives of high-risk individuals. This well-written book is a must-read for anyone interested in this topic.