The wellbeing and resilience paradox

Published: September 2012 Publication Type: Publication

Authors: Nicola Bacon, Nina Mguni

Wellbeing and resilience are linked: over time the quality of anyone’s life will depend on a certain amount of mental toughness. But are wellbeing and resilience two sides of the same coin or is it possible to be resilient but have low levels of wellbeing? If so, what characteristics are likely to lead to low levels of wellbeing and high resilience, or equally important, high levels of wellbeing but poor resilience. And what are the implications of this for policymakers?

This think piece explores questions about the relationship between wellbeing and resilience. We set out our findings on the state of the nation: what aspects of our lives contribute to greater wellbeing and resilience, who is faring better and who is vulnerable. In doing this we have looked at both individuals and communities.

Finally, this paper also looks at where wellbeing and resilience unravel – those individuals and communities that report high wellbeing but low resilience and those with low wellbeing but high resilience.

Download a pdf of the report.