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Table 2 Key empirical studies that identify indicators of psychological resilience

From: Measuring psychological resilience to disasters: are evidence-based indicators an achievable goal?

Authors, year Event, location and year Indicators of resilience Effect of the indicator on resilience Resilient outcome (measurement)
Bonanno et al., 2008 SARS epidemic, Hong Kong (People’s Republic of China) 2003 Physical functioning 6 months after hospitalization positive Psychological functioning (SF-12 - MCS) – Resilience trajectory determined by latent class analysis
Female gender negative
Social support positive
Event-related worry negative
Lee et al., 2009 Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans (USA) 2005 Psychological distress negative Perceived sense of recovery (a dichotomous variable)
Income positive
Human loss negative
Johannesson et al. 2011 Tsunami, South East Asia 2005 Intensity of exposure negative Resilient trajectory (IES-R ≤ 41.6 in two measurements)
Loss of relatives negative
Highly exposed negative Non-impaired mental health (GHQ-12, with cut-off ≥ 3 indicating impaired mental health)
Female gender negative
Loss of relatives negative
Older age > 60 years positive
Married positive
Childhood trauma negative
More than 3 traumas in adulthood negative
Recent trauma negative
Previous psychiatric illness negative
Social support positive
Hobfoll et al., 2009 Terrorist attacks, Israel 2004-2005 Ethnic majority positive Recovery trajectory (here called resilience recovery) Initial symptoms related to traumatic stress (17-item PTSD Symptom Scale) and depressive mood (5-item measure of depressive symptoms from the Patient Health Questionnaire) followed by recovery
Income positive
Psychosocial resource loss negative
Traumatic growth negative
Male gender positive Resilient trajectory (here called resistance) is defined by absence of traumatic (17-item PTSD Symptom Scale) or depression symptoms (5-item measure of depressive symptoms from the Patient Health Questionnaire) at both points in time
High income positive
Being secular positive
Higher education positive
Ethnic majority positive
Psychosocial resource loss negative
Social support positive
Bonanno et al., 2007 9/11 terrorist attack, New York (USA) 2001 Female gender negative Having 1 or 0 PTSD symptoms (National Women’s Study PTSD module) at any point in the first 6 months after event
Age > 65 year positive
Asian race/ethnicity positive
College degree negative
Depression negative
Marihuana use negative
Having an income decline negative
Having 1 or 2 chronic diseases negative
Having 3 or more chronic diseases negative
Having a medium-low level of social support negative
Being directly affected by event negative
Having 1 additional recent life stressor negative
Having 2 or more additional recent life stressors negative
Having 2 or 3 prior traumas negative
Having 4 or more prior traumas negative
Experiencing post-event trauma negative
Hobfoll et al., 2012 Chronic exposure to political violence and social upheaval, Palestinian Authority 2007-2008 High social support positive Engagement, defined as a persistent, pervasive and positive affective-motivational state of fulfillment (8-item adapted from Schaufeli, Salanova, González-romá and Bakker 2002)
Resource loss negative
High traumatic exposure positive
Male gender positive
Being more educated positive
Younger positive
   Religiosity positive  
  1. PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder; IES-R, impact of event scale-revised; SF-12 – MCS, short form 12 (items) – mental component summary; GHQ-12, general health questionnaire 12 (items).