Programs that train adults in “resiliency” may be having “a small to moderate effect at improving resilience and other mental health outcomes,” according to a meta-analysis of 25 small trials published in PLOS One.
“Resilience has been defined as the ability of individuals to absorb life’s challenges and to carry on and persevere in the face of adversity,” wrote the team of researchers from the Rochester Mayo Clinic. “Overlapping extensively with the concept of hardiness, psychological resilience personifies and reflects characteristics of toughness, elasticity, and the ability to recover.” The researchers also connected the term to the “process of effectively negotiating, adapting to, or managing significant sources of stress or trauma.”
They evaluated the resiliency training programs in terms of their impact on factors such as hardiness, quality of life and well-being, depression, and anxiety within 3 months after the program. They found the trials to be “at moderate to high risk of bias,” and that training approaches and evaluative methods differed significantly. Nevertheless, they also found moderate positive effects on stress reduction, depression and anxiety.
“Resiliency training programs seem to have benefit in improving mental health and well-being in diverse adult populations, although the quality of the randomized trial evidence precludes conclusions based in high confidence,” they concluded. “Significant stakeholder interest in the potential of resiliency training programs warrants further study in this area. Such study should be rationally and scientifically organized, however, to achieve maximal value and fill key gaps in knowledge.”
(Full text) The Efficacy of Resiliency Training Programs: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials (Leppin, Aaron L. et al. PLOS One. October 27, 2014. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111420)