Resilience as Regulation of Developmental and Family Processes

David Macphee, Erika Lunkenheimer, Nathaniel Riggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Resilience can be defined as establishing equilibrium subsequent to disturbances to a system caused by significant adversity. When families experience adversity or transitions, multiple regulatory processes may be involved in establishing equilibrium, including adaptability, regulation of negative affect, and effective problem-solving skills. The authors' resilience-as-regulation perspective integrates insights about the regulation of individual development with processes that regulate family systems. This middle-range theory of family resilience focuses on regulatory processes across levels that are involved in adaptation: whole-family systems such as routines and sense of coherence; coregulation of dyads involving emotion regulation, structuring, and reciprocal influences between social partners; and individual self-regulation. Insights about resilience-as-regulation are then applied to family-strengthening interventions that are designed to promote adaptation to adversity. Unresolved issues are discussed in relation to resilience-as-regulation in families, in particular how risk exposure is assessed, interrelations among family regulatory mechanisms, and how families scaffold the development of children's resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-175
Number of pages23
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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