Person holding out their arms in the sunlight

What is the study about?

Resilience is thought to be an important factor in the recovery from traumatic events. It is defined as positive adaptation following trauma or the ability to “bounce back” following such events. This study aims to evaluate aspects of resilience including when people may demonstrate it, factors that might influence it (i.e., ethnicity, substance use) and the changing relationship over time between resilience and other factors.

What did the study find?

The study found that though resilience appeared stable in the first year after injury for individuals with TBI, it declined over time after adjusting for demographic, psychosocial, and injury characteristics. Characteristics associated with higher levels of resilience are nonminority status, no substance abuse preinjury, lower anxiety levels, lower disability levels, and greater life satisfaction.

Who participated in the study?

Participants (n=195) were recruited from the TBIMS National database and received inpatient rehabilitation.

How was the study conducted?

Hospital records were reviewed to obtain relevant medical information and interviews were conducted with patients and family members to gather psychosocial and demographic information. Follow up measures were collected at 3, 6, and 12 months after injury. Patient self-reports were used to determine disability, resilience and satisfaction with life.

How can people use the results?

Individuals with TBI and their family members can use the results of this study to better understand the factors associated with resilience in TBI. Clinicians may use the results of the study to help plan clinical interventions.


Marwitz, J. H., Sima, A. P., Kreutzer, J. S., Dreer, L. E., Bergquist, T. F., Zafonte, R., . . . Felix, E. R. (2018). Longitudinal Examination of Resilience After Traumatic Brain Injury: A Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems Study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 99(2), 264-271. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2017.06.013


The contents of this quick review were developed under a grant (number H133A110004) from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.