Resilience Scales (A Comprehensive Guide)

In this article, we will discuss the resilience and resilience scales. There are many definitions of resilience in psychology.

Most commonly resilience is defined as the ability of an individual to adapt in face of adverse circumstances, trauma, tragedy, or threats.

There is no single set of components which can be used to define resilience but following components can prove to be a better guide in understanding resilience:

  • Optimism: 

People who are generally more optimistic tend to be more resilient. They have the ability to look for a bright future even in the face of adversity. 

  • Altruist:

Resilient individuals tend to be more helpful towards others to relieve their stress. 

  • Moral Compass:

Individuals who have a strong sense of right and wrong and strongly adhere to a set of beliefs can comeback from adverse circumstances quite easily.

  • Faith and Spirituality:

Strong faith and spirituality help individuals to stand up in adverse circumstances and come out of them stronger.

Although it should be noted that faith and spirituality are not essential for a person to be resilient. 

Resilience Scales:

Keeping in view the context and intention to measure resilience this article has attempted to list down a few resilience scales which can be useful for your use.

There is a wide range of resilience scales present which can be used to measure resilience in different contexts.

Here is the description of 8 resilience scales which have been selected on the basis of their use and empirical evidence for those scales. 

Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC):

A study was conducted by Windle, Bennett, & Noyes (2011) in which they reviewed 19 resilience scales available in the literature.

Out of those nineteen scales, only three scales got good psychometric properties and the Connor-Davidson Resilience scale was one of those three scales. 

This resilience scale was developed by Connor and Davidson in 2003. It is a self-report measure of resilience.

This resilience scale has been rigorously tested and validated through different researches.

Connor and Davidson developed this scale originally to measure the resilience in patients diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

It takes into account five interrelated components to measure resilience which is as follow: 

  • Personal Competence 
  • Secure relationships and acceptance of change
  • Strengthening effects of stress 
  • Control 
  • Spiritual influences 

The scale has been used to measure resilience on a wide range of populations and showed good psychometric properties making it one of the most validated resilience scales. 

Resilience Scales (A Comprehensive Guide)

Resilience Scale for Adults (RSA):

This is another scale that was validated by the extensive review of resilience scales by Windle, Bennett, & Noyes (2011).

This scale was developed by Friborg et al. in 2003 to measure resilience in the adult population.

This scale can be used by health psychology researchers and clinical psychology practitioners. 

This resilience scale consists of five items that explore intrapersonal and interpersonal factors and how these factors make an individual adapt to adversity. 

According to Friborg et al, there are five factors that determine the resilience of each individual.

These factors are as follow: 

  • Family Support and Cohesion 
  • External Support system 
  • Dispositional attitudes and behavior

The items of resilience scale are based on these key factors which are measured through personal competence, social competence, social support, family coherence, and personal structure. 

Friborg et al. used a resilience scale for adults to explore the relationship between personality, intelligence, and resilience.

The results of the study indicated a relationship between personal competence and increased emotional stability.

There was no significant relationship between intelligence and resilience (Friborg et al., 2005)

In a similar manner Windle et al. (2011) concluded that RSA is a highly valid measure to assess the protective factors which either inhibit or support the overcoming psychological disorder. 

Brief Resilience Scale: 

This was developed by Smith et al, in 2008. Most resilience scales attempt to look into the factors associated with resilience.

This Brief resilience Scale assesses an individual’s ability to bounce back from adversity.

This resilience has never been used for the clinical population but has been used to assess resilience in individuals stressed about their health. 

A brief resilience scale consists of six items. Among these six, three are positively worded items while the other three are negatively worded items.

All these six items measure the individual capacity to come back from the adversity of life.

This scale takes into account protective factors associated with resilience such as personal competence and social support to have reliable measures of resilience. 

This is also one of three highly reliable and valid measures of resilience identified by Windle et al., (2011) in their review of 19 resilience scales. 

Resilience Scale:

This is one of the oldest scales of resilience. The resilience scale was developed by Wagnild and Young in 1993.

This scale was validated on a sample of older adults aged from 53 to 95 years.

There are 25 items in resilience scales to measure resilience.

Results of different studies indicated a positive correlation of Resilience scale with life satisfaction, high morale, and good physical health while it is negatively correlated with depression.

Resilience scale measures resilience by taking into account five characteristics which are as follow:

  • Meaningful Life (or Purpose)
  • Perseverance
  • Self-Reliance
  • Equanimity
  • Existential Aloneness

The resilience test consists of two subscales.

The first personal competence subscale which consists of 17 items and second is the Acceptance of life subscale which consists of 8 items. 

Psychometric properties of resilience scale were further established in 2009 by Wagnild who affirmed not only internal consistency but also established construct validity which supported the effectiveness of scale to measure resilience. 

An abridged version of this scale is also available which consists of 14 items.

The psychometric properties of this version have also been established. 

The scale of Protective Factors:

This scale was developed by Garcia, Madwell, and Kennison in 2015 to measure resilience.

This scale is validated by the research conducted on 1,000 college students by its authors.

The results of the study indicated the Scale of Protective factor to be a sound and psychometrically reliable and valid instrument to measure resilience especially for the population who have been through violent traumas. 

This measure is much different than the resilience scale mentioned above. Instead of measuring resilience directly or factors contributing to it, this resilience scale measures the factors which can combine and create a buffer for individuals who have been through stressful trauma resulting in the disruption in functioning.

This resilience scale consists of two items that measure four factors, two social-interpersonal factors, and two cognitive-individual factors.

Further validity and effectiveness of the measure have been established by its author for use in clinics. 

Predictive 6-Factor Resilience Scale:

This resilience scale was established by considering the neurobiological underpinning of resilience.

The theoretical relationship between resilience and health hygiene factors also constitutes the basis for this scale.

Predictive 6-Factors Resilience Scale measure resilience through six aspects of several interconnected concepts: 

  • Vision: Self-efficacy and setting of goals
  • Composure: It is related to emotional regulation of individual and his ability to identify, understand and act on internal physical cues and signals
  • Tenacity: It is related to self-preference and hardiness 
  • Reasoning: It is an individual’s ability to perform higher cognitive functions such as problem-solving and resourcefulness 
  • Collaboration: It is a person’s attempt to maintain psychosocial interaction such as secure interpersonal attachments, support systems, context and humor
  • Health: It is related to an individual’s physical health. 

Good internal consistency has been established for the Predictive 6-Factor resilience scale.

Construct validity has been established with other resilience scales.

The positive correlation of this resilience scale has been established with a health hygiene score. 

Based on good inter consistency and high construct validity, it is considered to be a reliable and effective measure of resilience. 

Ego Resilience Scale:

Ego Resilience Scale was established by Block and Kremen in 1996 to measure resilience in non-psychiatric contexts.

Although the title of the scale as mentioned by its authors is ‘ego resiliency’, the construct it measures is the same as the definition of resilience which is the adaptability of an individual to change in his circumstances.

This resilience scale consists of 14 items. Respondents are required to respond on a scale from 1 to 4 with 1 does not apply while 4 applies very strongly.

Higher scores indicated higher levels of resilience. 

Scores of individuals on this scale have found to be positively correlated with intelligence.

As intelligence relates to the ability of an individual to adapt to different circumstances thus this correlation supports the ability of the scale to measure an individual’s resilience which is related to his ability to overcome disappointment and failure. 

Academic Resilience scale (ARC -30):

Academic resilience scale is a recently developed measure of resilience which measures the resilience in a very specific context that is academic success.  

Academic resilience has been defined as the tendency of an individual to preserve and achieve academic success despite facing many adversities.

Academic resilience is a multidimensional construct which focuses on the cognitive, affective, and behavioral aspect of adversities faced in academic careers. 

The academic resilience scale is based on vignette which describes a significant academic challenge.

A participant is required to respond on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 is very much likely and 5 is very much unlikely.

The item on the scale fall in one of the following three factors:

  • Perseverance
  • Reflecting and Adaptive Help-Seeking
  • Negative Affect and Emotional Response

For a person to have high resilience, he should score high on the first two factors while low on the third factor.

High internal consistency of this scale has been established and scores on these resilience measures are highly positively correlated with academic self-efficacy.

This resilience scale is appropriate to use in an academic context but it can be used in other contexts as well. 


Resilience is the ability of an individual to bounce back from adversity such as trauma or tragedy.

It helps individuals regain psychological strength after a period of trauma which renders individuals unable to function ineffectively.

Many resilience scales have been established to measure resilience in different contexts.

The three most valid resilience scales are the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC), Resilience Scale for Adults, and Brief Resilience Scale.

FAQs about resilience scale

What is the resilience scale?

It is the ability of an individual to bounce back from adversity such as trauma or tragedy.

It is a psychological resistance shown by individuals.

How is resilience measured?

Different resilience scales measure resilience by considering different factors associated with it.

Most commonly following factors are considered:

– Personal Competence 

– Secure relationships and acceptance of change

– Strengthening effects of stress 

– Control 

– Spiritual influences

What are the examples of resilience? 

Resilience is the ability of an individual to bounce back to a normal state after facing trauma or some tragedy.

It can be taken as elastic which comes back to its normal state after being let go.

A sick person getting healthy can also be an example of resilience.