The ability of people to cope and adjust may be termed human resilience. Resilience is a convenient term for describing the ability of an individual or community to recover, spring back, or return to a previous level of stability after encountering problems or stresses.
The use of ‘resilience’ as a clinical descriptor of individuals has been inconsistent and controversial in describing specific psychological symptoms and diagnoses. This has led to issues in formulation of prognoses and treatment plans. For example, assume two persons are emotionally traumatized by the same event. Three weeks later, one has apparently resumed full function and is deemed resilient. The other recovers more slowly and is not initially deemed resilient, but resumes full function after one year. Cannot the one-year person also be deemed resilient? Since the term lacks a universally accepted or consistent formal interpretation, its clinical application is inappropriate, and many clinicians avoid its use.
Culture, history, community values, geographical location, and political context profoundly affect the resilience of individuals and their communities. Selective evaluations of community resilience have resulted in unbalanced distribution of humanitarian and developmental aid.
Well-being is enhanced by removing barriers that hold people back in their freedom to recover from emotional shock. People must be free to express their concerns, to be heard, and to be active agents in preventing, coping with, and recovering from their problems, stressors, and shocks.