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Research Article  |   June 1991
Resilience and Human Adaptability: Who Rises Above Adversity?
Author Affiliations
  • Susan B. Fine, MA, OTR, FAOTA, is Director of Therapeutic Activities, Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic, New York Hospital–Cornell Medical Center; Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry, Cornell Medical College; Assistant Clinical Professor, College of Health Related Professions, State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn; and a Private Practitioner in psychiatric rehabilitation. (Mailing address: 525 East 68th Street, New York, New York 10021)
Article Information
1990 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture
Research Article   |   June 1991
Resilience and Human Adaptability: Who Rises Above Adversity?
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, June 1991, Vol. 45, 493-503. doi:10.5014/ajot.45.6.493
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, June 1991, Vol. 45, 493-503. doi:10.5014/ajot.45.6.493
Abstract

We work in a world of traumas and triumphs. Most of the persons we serve come to us out of necessity, struggling with the sequelae of disease and illness or the aftermath of natural or manmade disasters. We bring our expertise and compassion; they bring their bodies, minds, and compromised lives. Our worlds converge around a shared task: identifying and enhancing their capacities for daily living. We pursue problems of movement, perception, cognition, affect, and social capacity within the context of their roles and aspirations. Our contacts may be extensive, but often they are brief and only partially fulfilled. Our patients move on with varying degrees of functional ability – some with determination and buoyancy, others with little confidence that life is actually worth living. We remain, frequently knowing little about the factors that have influenced the outcome of our efforts, in spite of their compelling importance to our patients, our professional viability, and the health care system.