PSYC 3991
Psychology of Human Resilience

3.0 Credits


This course focuses on the study of human resilience. Students examine research evidence on individual, family and community factors that have been found to promote resilience in at-risk children, adolescents and adults. Students explore the intense debates and controversies engendered by these findings and their application to prevention and intervention strategies. As a foundation for engaging with these issues, students first develop a framework that includes an introduction to psychology and the research methods used to study human resilience.

Delivery Method

Online, self-paced.


60 credits


After you have completed the work in this course, you should be able to:

  • Define "resilience" as it relates to psychology.
  • Describe protective and risk factors at the levels of the individual, the family, and the community.
  • Explain how individual, family, and community protective factors can increase resilience (i.e., act as buffers) in at-risk individuals and populations.
  • Describe some of the practical applications or interventions suggested by the research on human resilience.
  • Critically assess research studies on human resilience to identify and discuss the findings and the limitations of the research as well as areas where future research is needed.

Course Outline

The course is divided into four modules, which are further divided into topics of study:

  • Module 1: A Framework for Studying Human Resilience
    • Topic 1: Introduction to Human Resilience and Psychology
    • Topic 2: Research Methods in Psychology
    • Topic 3: Communicating Research Findings
    • Topic 4: Introduction to Research on Resilience
  • Module 2: Resilience and the Individual
    • Topic 1: Individual Temperament and Resilience
    • Topic 2: Children's Resilience to Two Types of Risk Factors
    • Topic 3: Children's Resilience to War and Violence
    • Topic 4: Preschool Children's Successful Peer Interactions
    • Topic 5: Preventing Eating Disorders
    • Topic 6: The Risk and Resilience Framework and Learning Disabilities
  • Module 3: Resilience and the Family
    • Topic 1: Overview of Family Resilience
    • Topic 2: Parenting styles and Resilience in African-American Children
    • Topic 3: Resilience in Families with Special-Needs Children
    • Topic 4: Protective Effects of Minimizing Work-Family Conflict
    • Topic 5: Family Resilience and Alcohol/Other Drug Use in Youth
    • Topic 6: Resilience in Romanian Orphans Adopted into Canadian Families
  • Module 4: Resilience and the Community
    • Topic 1: The Mentoring Power of Big Brothers/Big Sisters
    • Topic 2: Children's Positive Peer Relationships and Family Adversity
    • Topic 3: Community Support for Adolescents During Parental Divorce and Remarriage
    • Topic 4: After-School Homework Programs and Academic Resilience
    • Topic 5: Cultural Continuity in Aboriginal Communities
    • Topic 6: Resiliency after Disaster

Maximum Completion

30 weeks.

Required Text and Materials

There is no required textbook.

Additional Requirements

Computer with Internet is required.

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the Learning Environment's "Mail" tool or by phone. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.


To successfully complete this course, you must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the mandatory final project. The following table illustrates how your final grade will be determined for this course.

Assignment 1 15%
Assignment 2 15%
Assignment 3 15%
Assignment 4 15%
Web Discussion 10%
Final Project * 30%

* Mandatory