Ego-resilience and psychological wellness in rural communities

Buikstra, Elizabeth and Rogers-Clark, Cath and Ross, Helen and Hegney, Desley and King, Christine and Baker, Peter and McLachlan, Kath (2011) Ego-resilience and psychological wellness in rural communities. In: Continuity versus creative response to challenge: the primacy of resilience and resourcefulness in life and therapy. Psychology of Emotions, Motivations and Actions. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., Hauppauge, NY, USA, pp. 273-290. ISBN 978-1-61209-718-3


This chapter reviews literature on psychological wellness and individual resilience, and considers their particular value in working with rural communities. The literature emphasises the development of resilience as a process, rather than as an outcome. It may involve dynamic interactions between the nature of the stressor or challenge (internal cognitive, emotional, spiritual, behavioural and physical factors, such as optimism and a belief in oneself), and competencies such as having a wide range of coping strategies; as well as environmental factors including the protective nature of social support. Moreover, resilience in the context of rural communities is defined as the capacity to move through and beyond adversity. The literature recognises that rural people suffer particular stressors: high exposure to global economic pressures and government policy changes; droughts, floods and other extreme weather conditions; and the challenges of keeping a farm financially viable and family intact. Owing to the necessities of survival in 'the bush', rural people tend to be stoic and self-reliant and therefore reluctant to seek help except in dire emergencies. Rural men have been shown to draw on inner strengths to regain control after difficult experiences, along with using formal and social supports, and strategies such as taking breaks. Individual and community resilience are mutually supportive and researchers argue that balanced social and economic development is needed to enhance resilience and wellbeing in rural areas, in addition to improved access to mental health and other health services.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Chapter 17. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 02 May 2012 03:31
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2017 04:02
Uncontrolled Keywords: mental health, resilience, rural strengths, rural communities, psychological wellness
Fields of Research (2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health
Fields of Research (2020): 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5205 Social and personality psychology > 520599 Social and personality psychology not elsewhere classified
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420313 Mental health services
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920209 Mental Health Services

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