The following quiz is appropriate for adolescents, young adults, as well as elders to assess and strengthen the resiliency building conditions in their lives. Use it for yourself or use it as a tool to help others about whom you care build their personal resiliency.


Do you have the conditions in your life that research shows help people to be resilient?

People bounce back from tragedy, trauma, risks, and stress by having the following “protective” conditions in their lives. The more times you answer yes (see questions below), the greater the likelihood you will bounce back from your life’s problems with power, smarts, and grace. And in doing so, you will enhance your self-esteem in a meaningful manner.

Answer yes or no to the following. Celebrate your “yes” answers and decide how you can change your “no” answers to “yes.” (You can also answer “sometimes” if that is more accurate than just “yes” or “no”.)

1. Caring and Support
______ I have several people in my life who give me unconditional love, nonjudgmental listening, and who I know are “there for me.”
______ I am involved in a school, work, faith, or other group where I feel cared for and valued.
______ I treat myself with kindness and compassion, and take time to nurture myself (including eating right and getting enough sleep and exercise).

2. High Expectations for Success
______ I have several people in my life who let me know they believe in my ability to succeed.
______ I get the message “You can succeed,” in my environment..
______ I believe in myself most of the time, and generally give myself positive messages about my ability to accomplish my goals – even when I encounter    difficulties.

3. Opportunities for Meaningful Participation
______ My voice (opinion) and choice (what I want) is heard and valued in my close personal relationships.
______ My opinions and ideas are listened to and respected at my work or school.
______ I volunteer to help others or a cause in my community, faith organization, or school.

4. Positive Bonds
______ I am involved in one or more positive after-work or after-school hobbies or activities.
______ I participate in one or more groups (such as a club, faith community, or sports team) outside of my daily routine.
______ I feel “close to” many people in my life.

5. Clear and Consistent Boundaries
______ Most of my relationships with friends and family members have clear, healthy boundaries (which include mutual respect, personal autonomy,
and each person in the relationship both giving and receiving).
______ I experience clear, consistent expectations and rules at my work, school, and other organizations with which I am involved.
______ I set and maintain healthy boundaries for myself by standing up for myself, not letting others take advantage of me, and saying “no” when I need to.

6. Life Skills
______ I have (and use) good listening, honest communication, and healthy conflict resolution skills.
______ I have the training and skills I need to do my life work and hobbies well, or the skills I need to do well in school.
______ I know how to set a goal and take the steps to achieve it.


People also successfully overcome life difficulties by drawing upon internal qualities that research has shown to be particularly helpful when encountering a crisis, major stressor, or trauma.

The following list can be thought of as a “personal resiliency builder” menu. No one has all the qualities on this list. When life becomes exceptionally demanding and stressful, you probably have three or four of these qualities that you use most naturally and frequently.

It is helpful to know which are your primary resiliency builders; how have you used them in the past; and how can you use them to overcome the present challenges in your life.

You can also decide to add assets to your “resiliency-builder” menu.

(Individual Qualities that Facilitate Resiliency)

Note the top three or four resiliency builders you use most often. Ask yourself how you have used these in the past or currently use them. Think of how you can best apply these resiliency builders to current life problems, crises, or stressors.

You can then note additional resiliency builders you think you might like to add to your personal repertoire.

 Relationships  – Sociability/ability to be a friend/ability to form positive relationships
 Service – Giving of yourself to help other people; animals; organizations; and/or social causes
 Humor – Having and using a good sense of humor
 Inner Direction – Basing choices/decisions on internal evaluation (internal locus of control)
 Perceptiveness – Insightful understanding of people and situations
 Independence – “Adaptive” distancing from unhealthy people and situations/autonomy
 Positive View of Personal Future – Optimism; expecting a positive future
 Flexibility – Can adjust to change; can bend as necessary to positively cope with situations
 Love of Learning – Capacity for and connection to learning
 Self-motivation – Internal initiative and positive motivation from within
 Competence – Being “good at something”/personal competence
 Self-Worth – Feelings of self-worth and self-confidence
 Spirituality – Personal faith in something greater
 Perseverance – Keeping on despite difficulty; doesn’t give up
 Creativity – Expressing yourself through artistic endeavor, or through other means of creativity

You can best help yourself or someone else be more resilient by:

  • Communicating the Resiliency Attitude: “What is right with you is more powerful than anything wrong with you.”
  • Focusing on the person’s strengths more than problems and weaknesses, and asking “How can these strengths be used to overcome problems?” One way to do this is to help yourself or another identify and best utilize top personal resiliency builders listed in The Resiliency Quiz Part II.
  • Providing for yourself or another the conditions listed in The Resiliency Quiz Part I.
  • Having patience…successfully bouncing back from a significant trauma or crisis takes time.