A Guide to Measuring Resilience

March 29, 2023

by

Tayla Nova

Resilience is a topic being discussed more and more today. For a good reason, the recent global landscape has exemplified the importance of resilience and highlighted the pitfalls associated with a lack of it. Resilience gives you the strength and courage to continue your journey, despite setbacks or expectations not being met. 

Research indicates that higher levels of resilience correlate with better outcomes when navigating a crisis, managing an illness or chronic pain, and improving physical and mental health. In fact, a 2020 Forbes article showed the average depression symptoms were reduced by resilience training by 33-44%. 

For organisations, resilience means having a stronger team capable of achieving against the odds and weathering economic storms. As the world moves further into choppy waters globally, resilience is the key to your organisation staying its course. And, as you may have heard, what is measured is managed. Thankfully, measuring resilience is not only possible but an effective way to get a read on your organisation's ability to cope under pressure. Looking further ahead, it's the starting block for building a more resilient and adaptable team.

What is resilience? Can you measure it? 

If we were to define resilience, it is the ability to bounce back after coming face-to-face with a challenging situation without letting misfortune affect your chances of future happiness or success. 

While some people continue to thrive, facing a challenging period of their lives with the confidence things will get better, others struggle under pressure. From the outside, it can be difficult to grasp what separates these two prevalent but opposite reactions. This is the result of resilience in action. 

There is an important distinction to be made between repression and resilience; resilient people are still likely to be shaken by challenging events and are unlikely to go back to the same path they were on prior. Instead, however, they change their direction and build a new positive path forward, incorporating the challenging situation into a new sense of self and reconsidering priorities. 

Resilience research shows six areas in which resilience can be seen in an individual's life. These include reframing, using the power of positive emotions, using the power of positive emotions, exercising, engaging in trusted social networks, identifying signature strengths, and being optimistic. 

Want to measure your own resilience? You can try a free Resilience Diagnostic here.

Reframing

An essential aspect of resilience is reframing a challenging situation and developing a refreshed, more constructive and beneficial perspective. By reframing a difficult situation, an individual can better cope without feeling stuck. 

Using the power of positive emotions 

Accessing positive emotions even following challenging times is an essential component of resilience. Positive emotions can make it possible to face the problems in our lives while considering solutions to move forward. As well as encouraging us to connect with others and providing us with an overall sense of purpose and fulfilment.

Taking part in physical activities 

The benefits of exercise are well-established for physical health, but physical activity also does wonders for mental health. By participating in physical activity, individuals can mitigate stress and build a new sense of self-respect and self-worth. 

Engaging in trusted social networks regularly

Spending quality time with friends, work pals, and family members can help alleviate the loneliness of challenging situations. In addition, conversations with others about what’s going on can help to take some of the pressure off and help to gain a more holistic view of the situation. 

Identifying and utilising signature strengths

Continuing to recognise strengths despite challenging times is a critical component of resilience. By utilising strengths, individuals can feel a boost in control and meaning in their lives and take on new responsibilities and challenges. 

Being optimistic towards the future 

A general sense of optimism towards the future is another sign of resilience. Individuals who show strong resilience will view challenges or setbacks as temporary, knowing their future path isn’t permanently negative. This outlook can help with maintaining a hopeful perspective towards the future. 

Resilience Assessments: Why are they important?

Resilience tests, also known as scales, examine an individual's resilience across key areas. Usually, this test is conducted by a questionnaire, collecting information and responses from an individual about how they adapt to difficulties.

Resilience assessments are important because they help to identify areas of strength and areas where improvement may be needed. This can be beneficial individually and for a business to identify weaknesses and strengths within a company. Resilience assessments can also promote awareness, leading to more effective use of interventions. 

How do we measure resilience? 

Resilience is a complex psychological phenomenon that can be classified by a person's ability to continue to cope with and recover from adversity. Several assessments or scales have been created in the last 30 years to help researchers, employers, therapists, and even private individuals better understand how resilience functions and, more importantly, how it can be quantified. These different frameworks are mostly conducted via a series of surveys and questionnaires that assess a person's mindset, coping strategies, and broader support network. 

Different tools can be employed in different situations. For example, the Academic Resilience Scale was specifically designed to assess students. While the Resilience Scale for Adults is best utilised when assessing grown adults. The Resilience Diagnostic Assessment, on the other hand, is primarily employed by organisations looking to improve their resilience as a whole. By using these tools, organisations can better understand their ability to handle stress and setbacks while also understanding where points of weakness may lie. Below are several tools and frameworks that can help your business better understand its quantifiable resilience score. 

Resilience Diagnostic Assessment

The Resilience Diagnostic Assessment is developed and updated by the Resilience Institute. Recently having released V5 of this comprehensive tool, the Resilience Institute continues to help businesses and organisations quickly and comprehensively assess their staff and management's well-being, effectiveness and resilience. 

The diagnostic assessment covers over 60 factors within 5-8 minutes, looking at mental health, stress management, well-being, emotional intelligence and more. Based on peer-reviewed psychometrics, the assessment features 11 categories labelled as strength or risk based on a respondent's results. One of the benefits of choosing the Resilience Diagnostic Assessment is that it is presented alongside a wealth of interactive resilience training & coaching for individuals and organisations. This means there is a direct way to go beyond measurement towards actively engaging with improving resilience. So if you're interested in assessing your organisation's resilience, the Resilience Diagnostic Assessment V5 is an effective and convenient tool.

Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale 

Dr Kathryn Connor and Dr Jonathon Davidson developed the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (DC-RISC). It's a widely adopted assessment designed to help measure resilience in individuals. The scale is made up of 25 items, each of which is rated on a five-point scale. These items focus on several areas of resilience, including personal competence, adaptability, tolerance of negative affect and more. This tool has been used across many cultures and diverse populations, making it a reliable and effective method for measuring resilience. 

Predictive 6-Factor Resilience Scale

This innovative assessment tool, the Predictive 6-Factor Resilience Scale (PR6), aims at measuring a person's resilience based on six factors. The PR6 offers a unique approach to understanding someone's resilience, considering several factors contributing to someone's ability to experience a setback and cope positively. The PR6 assesses self-regulation, optimism, adaptive coping, supportive relationships and more. Many physicians and therapists use this set of tools to predict resilience in their clients. 

Resilience Scale for Adults

The Resilience Scale For Adults (RSA) is a well-established tool for assessing and evaluating resilience, specifically in the adult population. Developed in Norway, the RSA looks at six core dimensions of resilience, perception of self, perception of the future, social competence, family cohesion, and social support. The RSA aims to establish a comprehensive understanding of a person's resilience and has also been used successfully in clinical practices. 

How to improve resilience? 

Resilience is a skill that can be cultivated over time by implementing certain strategies into your daily life. If you are looking for ways to improve your resilience, then consider incorporating some of the below methods:

  1. Work on having a positive mindset — Having a positive outlook towards life can be immensely beneficial for your everyday life, in its own regard, but it is also a direct path to helping build resilience. Stopping negative self-talk and adjusting towards a positive mindset can take time, so be patient with yourself. Mindfulness activities and meditation can be beneficial to help monitor negative self-talk and move in the direction of a more positive outlook.
  2. Grow a strong support network — A social circle is essential to resilience. Making an effort to maintain relationships with friends and family members can help individuals to cope with adversity. Friends can help by providing support, advice, and positivity in challenging periods.
  3. Introduce self-care routines — Practising self-care can help to improve resilience. Self-care includes taking care of yourself in all of the key areas, including sleeping well, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and implementing stress-minimising techniques like meditation or yoga. Self-care practices can also help individuals to overcome self-esteem issues and low confidence. 
  4. Learning from the past — By learning from the past and reflecting on past coping methods that have worked or not worked, individuals can work on new strategies for successfully coping in the future.
  5. Seeking help — Everybody needs help sometimes; there’s no shame in reaching out and getting help when needed. Many professional help sources can help individuals get back on track, such as psychology. Alternatively, reaching out to friends for a little extra support can be beneficial.

Conclusion

Resilience is an important aspect of the human experience, and our ability to navigate negative changes and recover from adversity can significantly impact our lives. So measuring and assessing resilience is the first step in improving our ability to handle life's challenges. On an organisational level, this can significantly impact a business's ability to weather downturns and right the ship when needed. Ultimately, by quantifying resilience, using the tools and psychological scales available, we can begin to understand how to improve it and make a difference in our personal and work lives. 


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