Disaster preparation and recovery: Lessons from research on resilience in human development

Ann S. Masten, Jelena Obradovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

255 Scopus citations


Four decades of theory and research on resilience in human development have yielded informative lessons for planning disaster response and recovery. In developmental theory, resilience following disaster could take multiple forms, including stress resistance, recovery, and positive transformation. Empirical findings suggest that fundamental adaptive systems play a key role in the resilience of young people facing diverse threats, including attachment, agency, intelligence, behavior regulation systems, and social interactions with family, peers, school, and community systems. Although human resilience research emphasizes the adaptive well-being of particular individuals, there are striking parallels in resilience theory across the developmental and ecological sciences. Preparing societies for major disasters calls for the integration of human research on resilience with the theory and knowledge gained from other disciplines concerned with resilience in complex, dynamic systems, and particularly. those systems that interact with human individuals as disaster unfolds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008


  • Children
  • Disaster
  • Human development
  • Recovery
  • Resilience

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