The International Resilience Project (IRP) is a multi-year international research study funded by the government of Canada and coordinated through Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Led by Michael Ungar and Linda Liebenberg, the purpose of the IRP is to develop a better, more culturally sensitive understanding of how youth around the world effectively cope with the adversities that they face. The IRP uses a unique cross-cultural approach that employs both quantitative and qualitative research methods to examine individual, interpersonal, family, community and cultural factors associated with building resilience in youth around the world. In particular, the study has helped to develop the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM) and a tool-box of qualitative research techniques.
The second phase of our project undertakes a number of different qualitative and quantitative research initiatives to further our investigation of the culturally and contextually varied ways resilience is understood, as well as good outcomes achieved by children faced with adversities such as poverty, war, violence, drugs, the illness of a parent, family or community dislocation and cultural disintegration.
In this phase, we are employing visual methods, filming one full day in the life of young people living in a number of Canadian communities and overseas in Asia, Africa and South America. Through this research, we are working together with our community and academic partners to better understand and apply methods of culturally sensitive investigation with at-risk youth and families.
We also continue to collect data on the applicability of our research tools, both qualitative and quantitative, through partnerships with colleagues in countries around the world, as well as through our domestic work on the Pathways to Resilience Project.
Combined, this work aims to enhance our collaborators’ capacities to apply the research findings, seeding action to make our research applicable to those who intervene and those who make policy.
During the first 3 year phase of the research, the IRP piloted and integrated innovative quantitative and qualitative research methods and collected data from over 1400 children in 14 communities on five continents, in 11 countries:
Each research site was selected for the diversity it would bring to understanding children and youth in high-risk environments.
This was carried out with the support of co-investigators, collaborators and researchers from 11 different countries.
Ungar, M., Liebenberg, L., Boothroyd, R., Kwong, W.M., Lee, T.Y., Leblanc, J., Duque, L. & Makhnach, A. (2008). The study of youth resilience across cultures: Lessons from a pilot study of measurement development. Research in Human Development.
Ungar, M., (2008). Resilience across cultures. British Journal of Social Work, 38(2), 218-235.
Ungar, M., Brown, M., Liebenberg, L., Othman, R., Kwong, W. M., Armstrong, M. & Gilgun, J. (2007). Unique pathways to resilience across cultures. Adolescence, 42(166), 287-310.
For further information on the study, email us or call (902) 494-3050.
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Resilience Research Centre
School of Social Work
6420 Coburg Road
PO Box 15000
Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2, CA
Tel: (902) 494-3050
Building on our studies across many different countries of the social and physical ecologies (environments) that make resilience more likely, we define resilience as:
Resilience is the capacity of people to navigate to the resources they need to overcome challenges, and their capacity to negotiate for these resources so that they are provided in ways that are meaningful.
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