Student Perspectives: Changes in Conceptualization and Assessment of Resilience
Over time, scholars have asked, is resilience a trait or a state?
Typically, traits (i.e., personality traits) are inherent, stable, and require great effort to develop when absent. For example, Klohnen (1996) describes ego-resiliency as “a personal trait comprised of confident optimism, productive and autonomous activity, interpersonal warmth and insight, and skilled expressiveness that leads to effective functioning in diverse areas of life.” On the other hand, states are transitory, and more accessible through learning (e.g., a person can learn to be in a mindful state). Connor and colleagues (2003) define resilience as a state, “a multi-dimensional characteristic that varies with context, time, age, gender, and cultural origin, as well as within an individual subject to different life circumstances.” For example, a person could be more resilient in one context than another. The state-based perspective implies that we all have the capacity to be resilient.