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Road to resilience: a systematic review and meta-analysis of resilience training programmes and interventions
  1. Sadhbh Joyce1,
  2. Fiona Shand2,
  3. Joseph Tighe2,
  4. Steven J Laurent3,
  5. Richard A Bryant4,
  6. Samuel B Harvey1,2
  1. 1Workplace Mental Health Research Team, School of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2The Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4School of Psychology, Faculty of Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Sadhbh Joyce; sadhbh.joyce{at}


Objectives To synthesise the available evidence on interventions designed to improve individual resilience.

Design A systematic review and meta-analysis

Methods The following electronic databases were searched: Ovid Medline, Ovid EMBASE, PsycINFO, Ovid Cochrane and WHO Clinical Trials Registry in order to identify any controlled trials or randomised controlled trials (RCTs) examining the efficacy of interventions aimed at improving psychological resilience. Pooled effects sizes were calculated using the random-effects model of meta-analysis.

Outcome measures Valid and reliable measures of psychological resilience.

Results Overall, 437 citations were retrieved and 111 peer-reviewed articles were examined in full. Seventeen studies met the inclusion criteria and were subject to a quality assessment, with 11 RCTs being included in the final meta-analysis. Programmes were stratified into one of three categories (1) cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)-based interventions, (2) mindfulness-based interventions or (3) mixed Interventions, those combining CBT and Mindfulness training. A meta-analysis found a moderate positive effect of resilience interventions (0.44 (95% CI 0.23 to 0.64) with subgroup analysis suggesting CBT-based, mindfulness and mixed interventions were effective.

Conclusions Resilience interventions based on a combination of CBT and mindfulness techniques appear to have a positive impact on individual resilience.

  • resilience
  • resilience training
  • mindfulness
  • public health
  • mental health

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  • Contributors SJ and SBH devised the study. SJ and JT carried out the systematic literature search. SJ, JT and SJL extracted the data. SJ and SBH analysed and interpreted the data and SJ wrote the first draft of the manuscript. SJ, SBH, SF and RAB read and contributed to subsequent versions, and all authors approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests SJ and SBH are associated with a company which offers resilience training (RAW MindCoach). SBH and FS work for the Black Dog Institute, a not-for-profit organisation that provides mental health and resilience training to various other organisations.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The data obtained for the meta-analysis in the present review study was directly extracted from published peer-reviewed articles or via email contact with authors in the case of (Kahn et al., 2016; Yu et al., 2014 and Nichols et al., 2015).