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The components of resilience—Perceptions of an Australian rural community


  • We thank the members of Stanthorpe community, and our industry partners Community Development Services, Inc. (Stanthorpe), Combined Rural Traders (Lisa Stallard), Toowoomba Mental Health Service, Queensland Health (Bronwyn McCullagh and Jim Weir), and Lifeline (Maria O'Keefe and Lynette Pirie) and Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries for their participation and contributions. We particularly thank Lisa Stallard for her contribution to publications. This study was funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant.


Resilience, of individuals, is a well-established concept in the psychology/mental health literatures, but has been little explored in relation to communities. Related theory in the community development and social impact assessment literature provides insight into qualities and assets of communities that enable them to develop effectively or to adapt to major changes. This article reports the components of community and individual resilience identified through a participatory action research study within a rural Australian community. These are social networks and support; positive outlook; learning; early experiences; environment and lifestyle; infrastructure and support services; sense of purpose; diverse and innovative economy; embracing differences; beliefs; and leadership. These components entail interactions between individuals, the community, infrastructure, the environment and the economy in the process of building resilience. The findings extend from previous research by recognizing environmental and economic factors, infrastructure and support services, as enhancing resilience, and expand the limited evidence base for those wishing to promote resilience at the community scale. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.