Resilience-Rhetoric to Reality: A Systematic Review of Intervention Studies After Disasters

Gisela Van Kessel, Colin MacDougall, Lisa Gibbs

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective This report aimed to examine the literature regarding evidence about community-based interventions that use the concept of resilience to increase positive health outcomes after disaster.

    Methods: A search was conducted of databases; gray literature, public health journals, and available key journals focused on disaster, emergency, and trauma from inception to December 2013. Excluded were non-English publications, only about children or adolescents, or a commentary or theoretical discussion on resilience.

    Results: From a total of 1880 records, excluding duplicates, 8 studies were found. Exclusions included participants younger than age 18 years (n=74), non-English (n=40), nonempirical (n=265), not referring to disaster (n=188), not a public health intervention (n=319), and not related to an intervention targeting resilience (n=890).

    Conclusions: This systematic review highlighted a gap in the evidence relating to interventions targeting the resilience of adults who have experienced a disaster. The results were mixed in relation to information provision but promising for strategies that promote social interactions or develop community competence. Future studies could explore the ability of interventions to build the intrinsic capacity of a system, community, or society at risk of a disaster to adapt and survive.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)452-460
    Number of pages9
    JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • disaster
    • evidence based interventions
    • resilience


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