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This article addresses distinctions underlying concepts of resilience and thriving and issues in conceptualizing thriving. Thriving (physical or psychological) may reflect decreased reactivity to subsequent stressors, faster recovery from subsequent stressors, or a consistently higher level of functioning. Psychological thriving may reflect gains in skill, knowledge, confidence, or a sense of security in personal relationships. Psychological thriving resembles other instances of growth. It probably does not depend on the occurrence of a discrete traumatic event or longer term trauma, though such events may elicit it. An important question is why some people thrive, whereas others are impaired, given the same event. A potential answer rests on the idea that differences in confidence and mastery are self-perpetuating and self-intensifying. This idea suggests a number of variables whose role in thriving is worth closer study, including personality variables such as optimism, contextual variables such as social support, and situational variables such as the coping reactions elicited by the adverse event.