Volume 54, Issue 2 p. 425-446

Strength in the Face of Adversity: Individual and Social Thriving

Virginia E. O'Leary

Corresponding Author

Virginia E. O'Leary

Auburn University

VIRGINIA O'LEARY is Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychology at Auburn University. She received her Ph.D. from Wayne State University in 1969. She was President of SPSSI (Division 9), and also of the APA Division of Women in Psychology (Division 35). She received both the Association for Women in Psychology Distinguished Publication Award and the APA Committee on Women in Psychology Leadership Citation Award. Her current research focuses on several aspects of thriving, including measurement, research in breast cancer, and cross-cultural research being conducted in Nepal.

Department of Psychology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849-5214; e-mail: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
First published: 09 April 2010
Citations: 117


Inherent in any profound challenge is the potential for crisis or opportunity. This article focuses on the opportunities that challenge presents at the level of individuals, organizations, and nations: opportunities to move beyond recovery and to display thriving by using the challenge as an impetus for change leading to growth. A variety of individual and social resources hypothesized to promote thriving are explored with an eye toward identifying a set of conceptually meaningful categories for use in future theoretical development and empirical investigation.