The official home of

The Resilience Scale™

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Resilience?

A. Resilience is the ability to successfully cope with change or misfortune. Resilient individuals regain their balance and keep going, despite adversity and misfortune. They find meaning amidst confusion and tumult. Resilient persons are self-confident and understand their own strengths and abilities. They do not feel a pressure to conform but take pleasure in being unique and will ‘go it alone’ if necessary. Resilient individuals have confidence in their ability to persevere because they have done so before and anticipate rather than fear change and challenges.

Being resilient does not mean that an individual will ‘bounce back’ and return to the same position after experiencing difficulties, but it does mean that equilibrium will be re-established. Resilient persons experience the same difficulties and stressors as everyone else; they are not immune or hardened to stress, but they have learned how to deal with life’s inevitable difficulties and this ability sets them apart.

Please see our Free Paper entitled "Discovering Your Resilience Core." The Resilience Scale User's Guide™ (see sidebar) provides the most complete explanation of Resilience.

Q. Why should I use the Resilience Scale™ to measure Resilience?

A. The Resilience Scale™ (RS™) is a proven tool, based on sound scientific research. It has been used successfully for over fifteen years by thousands of researchers all over the world.

Other instruments, claiming to measure something they call "resilience," are available. These are based on some definition or theory of resilience or another. In many cases, the author decided what resilience is and then wrote a scale to measure it.

Unlike these other scales, the Resilience Scale is based purely upon scientific research. The authors, doctorally-prepared researchers, conducted actual interviews with real people who had lived real lives. They found out how these real people responded to genuine adversity. From these interviews came the construct that they called "Resilience," for lack of any other word that describes it so well. They created the Resilience Scale from their research results to measure this construct. This is why it is able to provide the most accurate measurement of this important psychological factor.

Q. How can I learn more about resilience?

A. The Resilience Scale User's Guide (see sidebar) has an excellent chapter on the original research that led to the Resilience Scale and what resilience is. You can also read about resilience in our White Papers (just click the Free Papers link in the menu at the top of the page).

Another good publication on the psychometric properties of the RS is:

Wagnild GM, Young HM. (1993). Development and psychometric evaluation of the resilience scale. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 1, 165-178.

This gives further information on the initial reliability and validity of the RS. Please contact uss if you can't get it from JNM.

Q. What age groups and ability levels is the Resilience Scale suitable for?

A. The RS has been used with age groups as young as early teens (13 and 14 years old) as well as the very old (greater than 100 years old). The Flesch Reading Ease is 65.3, which is easily understandable by most 13-year olds. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade level is 6.4, which corresponds with the grade level.

Q. Has the Resilience Scale been translated into other languages besides English?

A. Yes, the RS has been translated into more than 15 languages with several translations in process. currently the RS is available in Albanian, Hong Kong Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Russian, Slovakian, Spanish, Swedish, and Tamil. More translations are available on an ongoing basis, so please contact us if you are looking for the Resilience Scale in your language or dialect.

Q. "I am using the RS for my doctoral thesis and have a question about the 25-item scale. The one I am using has 26 items (last item is: ‘I am resilient’). All the literature I have found say it’s a 25-item scale, so I’m a bit confused."

A. The RS is a 25-item instrument and the 26th item is optional. It is a concurrent validity question for you to correlate with the sum of the preceding 25 items.

Q. I have been unsuccessful at finding the early article on the psychometric properties of the RS in the Journal of Nursing Measurement (Wagnild, GM & Young, HM, 1993). Can you help me?

A. Please contact me personally and I will help you obtain this article.

Q. Can the RS be used as an assessment tool to determine motivation for self-management of chronic illness (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, hypertension)?

A. The RS has been associated with health promoting behaviors and self-management of illness in prior studies. More importantly, the RS measures the five core characteristics of resilience (meaningful life, perseverance, self reliance, equanimity, and existential aloneness). Individuals who have a reason to get up in the morning, believe they are capable, and have a drive to keep going, may be more likely to self-manage illness well. This means that a moderate to moderately high score using the RS may indicate better self-management potential.

Q. Is there a relationship between resilience and age?

A. Using the RS, the data from thousands of respondents strongly suggest that as one ages, scores on the RS increase. In a recent study of 1,061 individuals (see Special Report in the sidebar), the average RS scores for those younger than 30 were about 133 and for those older than 60, the RS scores averaged 143. For each 10 year age group, the score increased by 2-3 points.

Q. Is resilience associated with depression?

A. The RS is consistently and significantly related to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress. When the RS scores increase, symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress decrease.

Q. Am I allowed to change the RS or the RS-14?

A. No. Our Terms of Use state that if you choose to use the RS or RS-14 in your research or clinical practice, you are not allowed to change the wording, number of items, responses, etc. of the RS or RS-14. this is because the reliability and validity of the RS and RS-14 have been tested and reported in their current forms, and to change either scale would alter its validity and reliability. the RS-14, for example, went through years of research and analysis to prove conclusively that it was a valid tool for accurately measuring resilience before we approved it for general use.

Please help us to defend the Resilience Scale from unauthorized will make your work more valuable.

Q. What scores are considered low or high on the RS? What about the RS-14?

A. A score on the low end for the 25-item RS is 130 or lower and a high end score will be 161 or higher. A score on the low end for the RS-14 is 73 or lower a high end score will be 91 or higher.

The Resilience Scale User's Guide breaks down the scoring in much finer detail.

Q.What do I need to do to secure permission to use the RS?

A. Simply purchase a license pack. There are several license packages, at different costs, depending on how you are planning to use it. Please visit our Products page to see all the different offerings.

Q. I am a doctoral candidate and as part of the IRB process, I must obtain permission to use the RS. can you write a letter for me that will satisfy the IRB committee and my committee?

A. Yes. I do this for students regularly. Please visit our Products page and purchase the IRB Letter. You will need to be sure that your PayPal order contains all the information that we need.  Use our Contact Us form to send us the necessary information at your option.

Q. I am doing a study in which we are using several instruments. I don’t want to burden the subjects and wanted to ask if we should use the RS-14, rather than the 25-item RS.

A. The 25-item RS has been used for about 20 years with solid reliability and validity data. The RS-14 has only been used since 2008, but also has very good psychometric properties. It is strongly correlated with the longer RS (r=".97)" and the internal consistency reliability for the RS-14 is .93 (alpha coefficient). It takes about half the time to complete the RS-14 compared to the RS.

The Resilience Scale User's Guide has a wealth of information regarding the use of the RS-14, including results and statistical analyses.

Q. How long does it take to complete the RS?

A. Average response time to complete the RS is 4-5 minutes; it's about half that for the RS-14.

Q. I would like to translate the RS into another language for my research. Is it okay to do this?

A. No. Our Terms of Use say that you cannot change the Resilience Scale in any way without our express written permission. However, if you contact me, I will see if it has already been translated into your language, or if it is in the process of being translated.

If the RS has not been translated into your language, you must follow this three-step process to get my permission to use your translation:

  1. Translate the RS, retaining the response categories and number of items. You do not have permission to use it, yet.
  2. Have your translation back-translated into English by someone "blind" to the original English RS and send both the translation and the back-translation to me ( You still do not have permission.
  3. I will then compare the back-translated instrument to the original RS and authorize you to proceed (or not), depending on how good your original translation was. If you translation was not good enough, I will be unable to give you permission to use it. I am happy to read your back-translated versions and I will return my opinion very quickly, so please don't consider this an imposition or worry about any significant delay. I will work with you to produce a good translation.

If your translation and back-translation look good to me, then I will grant you permission to use the translation. If they don't then I won't. We will give you credit for the translation, but we retain all rights to all the translations of the Resilience Scale.


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Resilience Scale User's Guide + RS Licenses

The Resilience Scale User's Guide

The Resilience Scale User's Guide is an essential tool if you want to properly administer the Resilience Scale and accurately interpret your results.

You must also purchase licenses to use the Resilience Scale (RS). This is easy. We have license packs for organizations, researchers and professors, with a special price for students and residents of developing countries. The organizational and researcher packs come with 50 licenses each, and additional licenses are available for purchase, if you desire, at a reduced, "volume" rate. Students get unlimited licenses.

Click here to learn more about purchasing the Resilience Scale User's Guide™ and RS license packs.

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The Resilience Scale and 14-Item Resilience Scale are copyrighted internationally by Gail M. Wagnild and Heather M. Young (1993).
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