Social Interaction as a Basis for Resilience

Project: Research

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Social bases for personal resilience are an empirically uncharted area that is valuable to the long-term development of resilience as a sustainable strategy to tackle adversity. Resilience is the maintenance of well-being in the face of adversity. Fostering resilience is a worthwhile strategy because it builds on the strengths of oneself and one’s social networks. The strengths of oneself are also importantly reliant on social bases, specifically social interaction and social construction. Of concern is the social construction of beliefs for the dissemination to and internalization by the person. Relevant to resilience are resilient beliefs that precede resilience. These beliefs have proven to be the personal attribute underlying resilience. Such resilient beliefs can be about oneself, other persons, people or society as a whole, adversity, and ways to tackle adversity and achieve resilience. However, the origin of resilient beliefs, notably resting on social bases, is largely unclear. It is crucial to expand knowledge about social bases for resilience in order to foster resilience from the outside. The proposed study therefore seeks to fill the empirical gap by highlighting social bases for resilience. Although social bases are already theoretically relevant according to social constructionist theory, they have not gathered adequate empirical evidence. An empirical investigation of the contribution of social bases to resilience is paramount, based on the realist and postpositivist philosophy. Based on social constructionist theory, the person who suffers from adversity would be involved in various forms of social interaction to negotiate about the identity and beliefs. Through social interaction, notably challenging rather than supportive one, the person may have exposure to the social construction of beliefs and possibly learns or internalizes the beliefs. Such beliefs can constitute the person’s resiliency and sustain resilience eventually. This process of social influence on personal resilience is the focus of empirical investigation, based on a sample of persons found to suffer from adversity. A necessary condition for the empirical study is the qualitative exploration of resilient beliefs, social interaction, and social construction. This qualitative component will involve nine focus groups, followed by a quantitative component, surveying 1,500 sampled persons. The integration of qualitative and quantitative components will proffer knowledge about resilient beliefs, social interaction, and social construction, particularly regarding their contributions to resilience. It will therefore elucidate essential steps to advance resilience through fostering resilient beliefs with social interaction and social construction.


Project number9041814
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/11/1212/10/15