Receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia can be regarded as a significantly adverse life event and is an indication that the person is regarded to be vulnerable, rather than resilient, if viewed using the stress-diathesis model, because they have responded to stress by becoming unwell rather than thriving. Is it possible then, for a person who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia to respond resiliently or to develop resilience in the journey with schizophrenia?
Fifteen people, who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and who have been identified by health professionals, or self-identified as coping resiliently with their illness, were interviewed to explore what they believe resilience is and how they believe resilience has played a role in dealing successfully with schizophrenia. Results from the study support the idea that people with schizophrenia can learn to respond resiliently to the on-going challenge of that illness. Factors involved in achieving a resilient response in the face of schizophrenia have been identified as well as a framework for understanding the interplay of those factors. The identified factors will inform development of an instrument for measuring resilience for people diagnosed with schizophrenia and also link to interventions for facilitating the growth of resilience in that context.