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Resilience Doughnut®

The Resilience Doughnut® is a useful tool based on international and Australian strengths based research on resilience. The model is helpful for professionals in the social service sector, who want to use the evidence-based practice, based on what is working in children’s lives. It is a refreshing look at resilience and gives people an action plan to increase their own resilience as well as to help others in their care. As we faced different crises in our lives, building up resilience and helping children build up their resilience is an important process.

Past research has tended to focus on risk factors in the lives of young people who have become involved in health risk behaviours. In other words, efforts have been directed towards trying to understand why certain young people are not resilient. While this notion is popular with professionals working individually with young people, it is not always useful for parents trying to raise their child effectively or lawyers trying to advocate the best interest for the child in a separation battle. Nor does it help the average teacher or school principal who wants to see their students cope with pressures inside and outside of school.

More recently, research has focused on young people who are resilient, despite the adversities they are facing. Australia psychologist Andrew Fuller defines resilience as “the happy knack of being able to bungy jump through the pitfalls of life”. A number of researchers have found that there are common qualities amongst those individuals who are able to ‘bungy jump’ through their pitfalls and keep thriving.

The Resilience Doughnut is based on seven factors that people who have been through adversity and survived and thrived, have in common. It has been widely accepted by parents, teachers, psychologist, GP’s, family lawyers, child magistrates, department of community services, teachers, case workers, social workers and anyone interested in helping people to become more resilient.

The Resilience Doughnut® has two parts:

1. The hole in the middle represents the person’s key beliefs that develop as they build the tools and resources they need to face the world. These beliefs are concerned with three areas:

  • Their awareness of those who support them (who I have)
  • How they view themselves (who I am)
  • The degree of confidence they have in their own abilities (what I can do)

2. The doughnut is comprised of seven sections, each section representing an external factor in the person’s life. When reviewing the research, it was found that these seven factors repeatedly showed up in the lives of resilient people.

The seven factors are:

  • The Parent Factor: characteristics of strong and effective parenting.
  • The Skill Factor: evidence of self-competence.
  • The Family and Identity Factor: where family identity and connectedness is evident.
  • The Education Factor: experience of connections and relationships during the learning process.
  • The Peer Factor: where social and moral development is enhanced through interactions with peers.
  • The Community Factor: where the morals and values of the local community are transferred and the young person is supported.
  • The Money Factor: where the young person develops the ability to give as well as take from society through employment and purposeful spending.

These seven factors each have the potential to enhance the positive beliefs within the person and thus to help the individual to develop resilience. Interestingly, across the various research projects, most of the resilient individuals had only some, and not all, of these seven factors working well in their life. It seems that their ability to focus on the factors that were strong was a key aspect of their resilient mindset.

"The only reason for the acquiring of KNOWLEDGE is to give it away."

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