Adversity is part of life: Loved ones die. Soldiers deploy to war. Patients receive terminal diagnoses.
Research on how adults deal with adversity has been dominated by studies claiming the most common response is uninterrupted and stable psychological functioning. In other words, this research suggests that most adults are essentially unfazed by major life events such as spousal loss or divorce. These provocative findings have also received widespread attention in the popular press and media.
The idea that most adults are minimally affected by adversity worries Frank Infurna and Suniya Luthar, of the Arizona State University Department of Psychology, because it could negatively affect people living through adversity. Infurna and Luthar closely examined the research studies and found problems with how they were designed and how the data were analyzed. The pair summarize the problems and re-evaluate adult resilience research in a new paper in Clinical Psychology Review.