Academic resilience and academic buoyancy: Multidimensional and hierarchical conceptual framing of causes, correlates and cognate constructs

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‘Academic resilience’ refers to a student’s capacity to overcome acute or chronic adversities that are seen as major assaults on educational processes. Although intersecting with highly vulnerable and important populations, academic resilience does not map onto the many students who are faced with setbacks, challenges and pressures that are part of more regular academic life. This, it is argued, reflects ‘academic buoyancy’ that maps onto the many students who must negotiate the ups and downs of everyday academic life as distinct from acute and chronic adversities relevant to more traditional constructions of academic resilience. Inherent in this argument, then, is a proposed hierarchical framework in which academic buoyancy is a necessary but not sufficient condition for academic resilience. Such a hierarchical framework, therefore, has the potential to speak to all students and so represents an encompassing framework that can more fully explain the nature and extent of adversities and challenges that are part of academic life. We further contend that academic resilience and academic buoyancy require multidimensional approaches to their conceptualising and measurement in order to most effectively differentiate the factors that are (and are not) components, causes, correlates and cognate to them. We conclude by proposing a number of conceptual and empirical approaches to a next generation of research into academic resilience and academic buoyancy, develop the notion of ‘leading’ and ‘lagging’ indicators of buoyancy and resilience, and identify the implications of our framework for intervention and policy in the academic domain and beyond.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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