2017-2018 Grant in Aid of Research

Cultural Variations in the Protective Factors that Contribute to Resilience across Individualistic compared to Collectivistic Cultures: Comparisons from Jamaica, Rwanda, and the United States

Stacey Nicely

Despite the significant body of research conducted on the concept of resilience (for example Garmezy, 1991, 1993; Masten, 1994, 2001; Satterwhite & Luchner, 2016; Ungar, 2005, 2007, 2011; Werner & Smith, 1982, 1992, 2001), it is still unclear how individualistic and collectivistic cultural orientation influence particular protective factors that contribute to resilience. This study seeks to strengthen the existing literature on resilience by presenting culturally relevant findings that clarify the protective factors that are most influential in promoting resilience in individualists and collectivists. The findings should prove useful for differentiating prevention and intervention efforts. The study will: (1) Identify the traumatic life events reported; (2) Investigate how differences in individualistic and collectivistic cultural orientation explain differences in the protective factors (perception of self, planned future, social competence, family cohesion, social resources, structured style, and spirituality) that contribute to resilience in the countries surveyed (Jamaica, Rwanda, and the United States); (3) Determine the correlation between measures of resilience among individualists and collectivists in Jamaica, Rwanda, and the United States as measured by protective factors (using the Resilience Scale for Adults - RSA) and as measured by the tendency to bounce back (using the Brief Resilience Scale - BRS). This aspect of the study is expected to generate discussions about the importance of a contextual understanding of resilience. Researchers and clinicians who choose one instrument or method of assessing resilience over another must keep in mind the role that individuals’ contexts and cultural orientations play in how they experience and express resilience.