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Enhancing Resilience: Families and Communities as Agents for Change


  • The author extends thanks to Susan McDaniel, Ellen Berman, Froma Walsh, and Ruth Casabianca for helpful input on earlier drafts of this article; Siri Carpenter for invaluable editorial assistance; Anna Weaver for tireless editorial project assistance; and three anonymous reviewers for stimulating comments. Sincere gratitude is expressed to the Soros Foundation for funding the Romanian community work described in the article (through a grant to the International Center for Addiction and AIDS Training–ICAAT).

concerning this article should be addressed to Judith Landau, 964 Grant Place, Boulder, CO 80302. Tel: (303) 442-3755, 877-229-5462; Fax: (303) 440-6463. E-mail: Web:


In this article, the Linking Human Systems (LINC) Community Resilience model, a theoretical framework for initiating and sustaining change in communities that have undergone rapid and untimely transition or loss, is presented. The model assumes that individuals, families, and communities are inherently competent and resilient, and that with appropriate support and encouragement, they can access individual and collective strengths that will allow them to transcend their loss. This competence can be nurtured by helping people regain a sense of connectedness with one another; with those who came before them; with their daily patterns, rituals, and stories that impart spiritual meaning; and with tangible resources within their community. Rather than imposing artificial support infrastructures, LINC interventions engage respected community members to act as natural agents for change. These “community links” provide a bridge between outside professionals, families, and communities, particularly in circumstances in which outside intervention may not be welcomed. The article illustrates how LINC interventions successfully have been used in communities around the world.