Concepts are the building blocks from which theories are constructed. A concept analysis will clarify the meaning of a concept and help us understand the current theoretical and operational definitions of the concept for use in theory and research (Walker & Avant, 2005). The concept resilience was chosen for analysis because of its many uses in the literature today, and the need of a central, encompassing, modernized definition. In wake of the recent tragedies that have been occurring, resilience has become more widely used and its definition has been stretched. If this concept is to be used in its entirety, a centralized definition will need to be developed and a consensus on the defining attributes will need to be proposed. This concept analysis will look at how the word is used, and narrow the analysis from resilience in other professions, families, and communities to resilience in the individual person. Concepts change and grow over time when new information is generated and when new interpretations of the concept are formed. This concept analysis will delineate the many definitions of the concept and allow us to view it in its entirety and with the most current definitions. Walker & Avant’s (2005) concept analysis method was chosen and includes the following steps: select a concept; determine the defining attributes, antecedents, and consequences; identify a model case and a borderline, related, and contrary cases; and define the empirical referents of the concept. Uses of the concept
Resilience has use across disciplines, age groups, and cultures. The original use and research on the concept are found in literature looking at children who experienced adverse life situations and differentiating those that bounced back after the event and those who did not (Werner & Smith, 1982). Other definitions stem from studies on human behavior and can be defined as the ability to overcome pain and transform the self (Greene, Galambos, & Lee, 2003), or the capacity to maintain competent functioning in the face of major life stressors (Kaplan, 1996). Encarta (2007) defines resilience as the ability to spring back after being bent, stretched, or deformed. The Merriam Webster Dictionary (2008) defines it as 1: the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress, 2: the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. Nursing literature relates the level of functioning of the patient into the definition of the concept. Curly (1998) defines resilience as the patient’s capacity to return to a restorative level of functioning by using compensatory and coping mechanisms. Other disciplines use the concept of resilience with various characterizations. Common to all the definitions found on resilience is the ability of someone or something to bounce back. When discussing the ecosystem, Brand and Jax (2007) define it as the capacity of a system to experience shocks while retaining essentially the same function, structure, feedbacks, and therefore, identity. When discussing social systems, Simonsen (2007) defines resilience as the ability of human communities to withstand and recover from stresses, such as environmental change or social, economic or political upheaval. Archeology has used resilience in its literature as an adaptive cycle of exploitation, conservation, release, and reorganization. Change is episodic; there are multiple stabilizing and destabilizing forces (Redman, 2005). A commonality found between the definitions of resilience across professions is the ability to recover from stress and in the end, form an organized, formed entity.
The term resilience has been used when describing entire populations in the face of adversity. Resilience has been studied not only in American children, but across cultures and age groups. An article by Ugochukwu (2008), describes the resilience of young Nigerian natives when shown the...
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