What is Resilience

Dr. Michael Ungar, Director of the RRC, has suggested that resilience is better understood as follows:

“In the context of exposure to significant adversity, resilience is both the capacity of individuals to navigate their way to the psychological, social, cultural, and physical resources that sustain their well-being, and their capacity individually and collectively to negotiate for these resources to be provided in culturally meaningful ways.”

This definition shifts our understanding of resilience from an individual concept, popular with western-trained researchers and human services providers, to a more relational understanding of well-being embedded in a social-ecological framework. Understood this way, resilience requires individuals have the capacity to find resources that bolster well-being, while also emphasizing that it’s up to families, communities and governments to provide these resources in ways individuals value. In this sense, resilience is the result of both successful navigation to resources and negotiation for resources to be provided in meaningful ways. You can read more about resilience from this perspective in publications by the Centre’s members.

To explore resilience as both a process and outcome across many different cultures and contexts, the Resilience Research Centre coordinates a number of different research projects. Click here for a list of the projects currently underway.


The following publications provide more detailed information on resilience:

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.

Ungar, M. (2008). Resilience across cultures. British Journal of Social Work, 38(2), 218-235.

Ungar, M. (2011). The social ecology of resilience: Addressing contextual and cultural ambiguity of a nascent construct. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 81(1), 1-17.


Child and Youth Resilience Measure

The Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM) is designed as a screening tool to explore the resources (individual, relational, communal and cultural) available to individuals, that may bolster their resilience. The measure was designed as part of the International Resilience Project (IRP), of the Resilience Research Centre, in collaboration with 14 communities in 11 countries around the world.

The IRP originated in 2002 under Dr. Michael Ungar at the School of Social Work, Dalhousie University, and at the time was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada as well as the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation.

Development of the CYRM

Confirmatory Factor Analysis conducted on data gathered in three international sites has confirmed that the CYRM-28 has three sub-scales: individual, relationships with primary caregivers and contextual factors that facilitate a sense of belonging (see fit statistics). Within each of these sub-scales there are additional clusters of questions that provide additional insight into these three dimensions. To score each of the clusters and/or sub-scales simply sum responses to the relevant questions. The higher the score, the more these resilience components are present in the lives of participating youth.

Ungar, M., & Liebenberg, L. (2011). Assessing resilience across cultures using mixed methods: Construction of the child and youth resilience measure. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 5(2), 126-149.

Validation of the CYRM\ARM

Authors (Year) Scale (Language)
Location Sample Cronbach’s Alpha
Daigneault, I., Dion, J., Hébert, M., McDuff, P., & Collin-Vézina, D. (2013) CYRM-28 (French) Canada 689 α = .88
Daigneault, I., Dion, J., Hébert, M., McDuff, P., & Collin-Vézina, D. (2013) CYRM-28 (French) Canada 246 α = .87
Liebenberg, L., Ungar, M., & Van de Vijver, F. (2012) CYRM-28 (English) Canada T1=497; T2=410 α = .65 to .91
Liebenberg, L., Ungar, M., & LeBlanc, J. C. (2013) CYRM-12 (English) Canada 1,616 α = .84
Sanders, J., Munford, R., Thimasarn-Anwar, T., & Liebenberg, L (2015) CYRM-28 (English) New Zealand 593 α = .66 to .81
Mu, G.M., Hu, Y. (2016) CYRM-12 (Chinese) China 437 α = .92
Liebenberg, L., & Moore, J.C. (2016) ARM-28 (English) Ireland 105 α = .80 to .95

CYRM Modifications/Translations

Although the Resilience Research Centre does not officially offer the CYRM in any language other than English, many users have translated the measure for use in different contexts. We offer those versions on our download page for you to reference. The CYRM is currently available in the following languages (not necessarily for all versions of the CYRM):

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • English
  • French
  • Hindi
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Spanish (Puerto Rico)
  • Spanish (Spain)
  • Urdu

While we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any research done using a translated version, we provide these translations as reference. It is strongly advised that meetings be held with select members of the local community in which the tools will be used to provide input into culturally relevant ways of administering the scale (i.e., adding site specific questions and translating into the local language).

No special authorization is required to translate the CYRM\ARM. If you create a translation we encourage you to share it with us. Click here to send us a copy of the finalized translation and a back translation into English to enhance the validity of the translation process (please create and attach this as one document). For more information on the process and value of back translation see Richard W. Brislin’s article, “Back-Translation for Cross-Cultural Research” in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology (1970, Vol. 1, No. 3, pages 185-216).