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Measuring Resilience with the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale

Resilience, in its simplest terms, results in people “bouncing back” from adversity and getting on with their lives. Two major steps must occur for resilience to take place:

  • exposure to significant adversity, such as a car accident, and
  • a positive developmental outcome after the experience

The lack of resilience is associated with depression and its presence is correlated with life satisfaction.  In this study, researchers assessed the validity of the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) as a tool to measure resilience among people with chronic illness and disability.


This study provides evidence to support the use of the CD-RISC for individuals with spinal cord injuries. It showed five factors that contribute to an individual’s resilience:

  • Personal competence, high standards, and tenacity
  • Trust in one’s instincts, tolerance of negative affect, and strengthening effects of stress
  • Positive acceptance of change and secure relationships
  • Control
  • Spiritual influence

These five factors correlated positively with disability acceptance and happiness, and inversely were related to depression.

Bottom Line

The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale can be used by vocational rehabilitation counselors in several ways:

  • As part of an admission screening, along with other psychosocial and vocational assessments.
  • To assess client strengths and positive traits when planning for employment.

Learn More

You can access the full research article in Project E3’s Research Database:
Targeted Communities Research Article Database.

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Source: Fujikawa, M., Lee, E. J., Chan, F., Catalano, D., Hunter, C., Bengtson, K, & Rahimi, M. (2013). The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale as a positive psychology measure for people with spinal cord injuries. Rehabilitation Research, Policy, and Education, 27(3), 206-212.

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