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Psychology of Resilience

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
July 20, 2015 - July 24, 20151M-F 12:15-3:05POpenNicole Nugent10417

Course Description

The field of psychology has long focused on the harmful impact of stress, adversity, and trauma. Yet many remarkable individuals show incredible resilience in the midst of difficult, even horrible, situations. How are some people resilient in the face of abuse, torture, war, natural disaster, or terrorism? What about resilience to routine life stresses like taking exams or moving? Is resilience a trait that some people possess or is it something that can be learned? How can you prevent or treat psychological problems that might arise after trauma? These are some of the overarching issues that will be addressed in this course.

This course will introduce students to emerging literature on the psychology of resilience, including a brief overview of the potentially deleterious effects of a range of adversity and trauma experiences (such as posttraumatic stress disorder or depression). Through lecture, discussions, projects and in-class activities, students will gain an understanding of how humans cope with, and may be resilient to, stress and trauma. The course will describe resilience as understood through psychological, social, and biological evidence. Finally, we will review current evidence and theory related to promotion of resilience at the level of individuals and/or communities.

The central goal is for students to gain an understanding of how humans are able to be resilient in the context of stress (common experiences such as exams or moving to a new place) and trauma (less commonly experienced events defined in the field by their subjective and objective threat to the individual). A secondary goal will be for students attending the course to have early exposure to psychology and psychiatry while permitting mastery of one content area.