• Open Access

Resilience in mental health: linking psychological and neurobiological perspectives

Authors

  • B. P. F. Rutten,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON), Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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  • C. Hammels,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON), Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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    • Equal contributions.
  • N. Geschwind,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON), Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands
    2. Research Group on Health Psychology, CLEP, Department of Psychology, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
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    • Equal contributions.
  • C. Menne-Lothmann,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON), Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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    • Equal contributions.
  • E. Pishva,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON), Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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  • K. Schruers,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON), Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands
    2. Center for Learning and Experimental Psychology, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
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  • D. van den Hove,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON), Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
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  • G. Kenis,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON), Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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  • J. van Os,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON), Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands
    2. King's Health Partners, Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK
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  • M. Wichers

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON), Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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Bart PF Rutten, Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), European Graduate School of Neuroscience (EURON), Maastricht University Medical Centre, Universiteitssingel 50, 6229 ER, PO Box 616 6200 MD, Maastricht, the Netherlands. Universiteitssingel 50, 6229 ER, PO Box 616 6200 MD, Maastricht, the Netherlands. tel: +31 43 3881348, fax: +31 43 3884086

E-mail: b.rutten@maastrichtuniversity.nl

Abstract

Objective

To review the literature on psychological and biological findings on resilience (i.e. the successful adaptation and swift recovery after experiencing life adversities) at the level of the individual, and to integrate findings from animal and human studies.

Method

Electronic and manual literature search of MEDLINE, EMBASE and PSYCHINFO, using a range of search terms around biological and psychological factors influencing resilience as observed in human and experimental animal studies, complemented by review articles and cross-references.

Results

The term resilience is used in the literature for different phenomena ranging from prevention of mental health disturbance to successful adaptation and swift recovery after experiencing life adversities, and may also include post-traumatic psychological growth. Secure attachment, experiencing positive emotions and having a purpose in life are three important psychological building blocks of resilience. Overlap between psychological and biological findings on resilience in the literature is most apparent for the topic of stress sensitivity, although recent results suggest a crucial role for reward experience in resilience.

Conclusion

Improving the understanding of the links between genetic endowment, environmental impact and gene–environment interactions with developmental psychology and biology is crucial for elucidating the neurobiological and psychological underpinnings of resilience.

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