Building Resilience In Males

Building Resilience To Deal With Life's Challenges

A major part of success in life is about being able to cope with the inevitable twists and turns that life can take, and deal with the aftermath. One of MHIRC's research efforts is centered around resilience in boys and men, and the effect that resilience has in staving off depression, negative thought patterns and declines in health.

Resilience is a broad topic that is connected with a person's support systems in life. It is intimately connected with many of the 14 Social Determinants of Health. There are numerous programs like The Resilience Doughnut(opens in a new window) which have direct similarity to the Social Determinants approach.

Resilience is a function of the individual's ability to maintain health despite 'bad' experiences. MHIRC views resilience as the ability of an individual to maintain the connections to life that can otherwise be eroded by trauma.

Research into resilience is indirectly part of MHIRC's projects with The Shed, Men's Health Week and male health in general as we look into the factors that enable some men to battle through while others struggle.

What is being uncovered is that social and cultural connections are absolutely vital to maintaining health during stressful times, and that these connections to relationships, access to children and support from like-minded people are perhaps the most important factors in keeping men healthy and in life.

"It helps to buffer exposure to extreme stress. Hardiness consists of three dimensions: being committed to finding meaningful purpose in life, the belief that one can influence one's surroundings and the outcome of events, and the belief that one can learn and grow from both positive and negative life experiences. 

Armed with this set of beliefs, hardy individuals have been found to appraise potentially stressful situations as less threatening, thus minimizing the experience of distress. Hardy individuals are also more confident and better able to use active coping and social support, thus helping them deal with the distress they do experience."

Bonanno, G.A., Loss, trauma, and human resilience: Have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events? American Psychologist, 2004. 59(1): p. 20]28.