Resilience across the life Span

Richard M. Lerner, Michelle B. Weiner, Miriam R. Arbeit, Paul A. Chase, Jennifer P. Agans, Kristina L. Schmid, Amy E.A. Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This chapter discusses the concept of resilience from a life span perspective informed by relational developmental systems theory. Resilience involves mutually benefi cial (adaptive) relations between characteristics of individuals (e.g., their self-regulation behaviors) and features of the ecology (e.g., resources promoting healthy development); these links may be represented as individual ↔ context relations, and they involve adjustment in the context of challenges or maintenance of appropriate functioning in the face of variations in the resources needed to achieve health.Resilience, then, is an attribute of positive human development (PHD) achieved through adaptive individual ↔ context relations (termed adaptive "developmental regulations"). We review research across the life span that speaks to the use of this conception of resilience for understanding the contributions individuals make to their own positive development and to the maintenance or perpetuation of PHD-supportive assets of their ecologies. Directions for further research and for applications aimed at promoting PHD are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-300
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Aging
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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