Challenges and healthy ageing: the role of resilience across the life course (ResNet)

Lead Research Organisation: Bangor University
Department Name: Inst of Medical & Social Care Research

Abstract

There is considerable interest within public policy and society as to how health and quality of life can be maintained and enhanced across the lifespan, and how people respond to the various challenges of the ageing process.

Resilience is important as it could be the key to explaining resistance to risk across the lifespan and how people ?bounce back? and deal with problems such as ill health. Resilience can enable an understanding of how health and well-being can be maintained in the face of adversity and challenge.

We wish to generate new knowledge for research, policy and practice on resilience and healthy ageing across the life span. To achieve this we will to form a network partnership between different academic disciplines and organisations. Our aim is to unite people and consolidate existing evidence and opinion so that we can develop a plan for future research.

The network will enable discussion of all the different factors that might impact on resilience from early to advanced older age. These include the places people live, the support they receive, biological and psychological characteristics. We will address problems regarding definitions of resilience, and how it might be examined and promoted.

The network will develop scientific and universal bulletins of the key issues. Through consultation meetings we will discuss the meaning, application and potential usefulness of the science in future research, healthy ageing policies and practice. This will ensure our work is universally understood and of maximum benefit.

Technical Summary

?Resilience? is receiving increasing interest across policy, practice and research in relation to its potential impact on health, well-being and quality of life. But there is little consensus regarding definitions and measurement, and debate about the factors that contribute to its? maintenance or reduction. There is little information regarding the developmental pattern of resilience over the life-course. Is it something about the community in which a person lives which makes them resilient, or is there a biological predisposition? Is resilience a psychological resource that is developed over the lifespan, or does it develop from exposure to difficulties or risks, enabling a person to develop the capacity to ?bounce-back?? Do resiliency factors in childhood affect resilience to challenges and inequalities in older age? Resilience could be the key to understanding resistance to risk across the lifespan and how health and well-being can be maintained in the face of challenges. However in order to inform future research more clarity is required. Investigation is needed to understand how resilience can be promoted. The potential importance of resilience is considerable.

The proposed network (ResNet) will take forward these objectives. It will unite and build upon previous research and work undertaken on resilience, and strengthen this with new perspectives and collaborations, thereby enhancing research capacity and development. The disciplines and organisations represented within the network represent a unique, biopsychosocial partnership. ResNet will draw on this diverse expertise to develop a research, knowledge transfer and dissemination strategy and subsequent research bids. These will take a multi-level approach and consider the complex interplay between places people live, the support they receive, biological and psychological characteristics on resilience and healthy ageing. This could not be achieved without ResNet.

The work will generate new knowledge for research, policy and practice, which will be accomplished through activities within 3 related work-packages. Each consists of meetings of researchers, service users and lay members, and research activity with outputs appropriate for all who may be interested. This approach will ensure a mutual understanding by all sectors of the research and its application; knowledge transfer will be fully embedded. It will enable stakeholder expertise in healthy ageing and policy to be extended into national and international research. Multiple pathways of dissemination will ensure that the work is accessible to a wide range of recipients.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Table adapted for publication
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Citation in systematic reviews
 
Description Continuation of research and skills sharing 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The working relationship established during the MRC grant enabled a future opportunity to be funded (through the ESRC)
Collaborator Contribution Prof. Amanda Sacker at UCL is providing statistical expertise and oversight of a capcity building initiative using the Understanding Society data set, which is part of a cross-investment working project funded by the ESRC
Impact Work is currently under development.
Start Year 2013
 
Description International Resilience Research 
Organisation Dalhousie University
Department Resilience Research Centre Dalhousie
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Through our discussion workshops the Network identified the increased strength of international collaboration. The PI made contact with the lead of the International Resilience Project, based in Nova Scotia, Canada. Discussions are underway for this MRC resilience network to be part of the International Project, and this is to be developed as part of the submission to Phase 3 of LLHWB.
Collaborator Contribution Research Development
Impact Research development
Start Year 2009
 
Description International collaboration 
Organisation Dalhousie University
Department Resilience Research Centre Dalhousie
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Presented at conference, research development, book chapter
Collaborator Contribution We have met and discussed options for extending their work on resilience in children with our work with older adults. We included this in a bid to LLHW which was not successful.
Impact I have co-authored a book chapter and we are still hoping to develop further research
Start Year 2010
 
Description Conference - Brighton, 2011 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Discussion

Windle, G. Resilience research: consolidating 20 years of evidence. Paper presented at Resilience - why bother? International Conference, University of Brighton, 6th-6th April, 2011
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Conference - British Society of Gerontology, 2010 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Discussion; a PhD student from Spain who saw the presentation came on a placement for 3 months, during which we developed a paper.

Windle, G. Resilience research: consolidating 20 years of evidence. Paper presented at the British Society of Gerontology 39th Annual Conference, 6th to 8th July 2010 Brunel University.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Conference - Gerontological Society of America, 18th -22nd November, 2011, Boston, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Discussion

Windle, G. Psychological resilience in later life. Paper presented at the 64th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, 18th -22nd November, 2011, Boston, USA
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Conference - Gerontological Society of America, 2010, New Orleans, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact discussion

Windle, G. A Mixed-Methods Approach to Synthesising Resilience Research: Definition, Measurement and Gaps in the Evidence. Paper presented at the Gerontological Society of America 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting, 19th-23rd November, 2010 New Orleans, USA
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Conference, Nova Scotia, Canada 2010 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Discussion


Windle, G,. Bennett, K and Noyes, J. A methodological review of resilience measurement scales. Paper presentation at the Pathways to Resilience II: Social Ecology of Resilience, Halifax, Nova, Scotia, Canada, 7th -10th June, 2010.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Invited paper 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Discussion

Windle, G. Is it worth taking the trouble to study resilience? (Invited paper). The Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, University of Liverpool, 9th November, 2011.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Why bother to study resilience? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The talk stimulated discussion about how people might be able to 'measure' resilience in relation to creative practice interventions.

The organisers wish to publish some of the presentation in a forthcoming article.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014