The Centre for the Study of Resilience

The Centre for the Study of Resilience (CSR) at the University of Pretoria (UP) distils systematic evidence on resilience-enabling innovations that are responsive to extreme challenges in a Global South space, such as Africa. CSR-knowledge generation has a focus on socially useful knowledge content that impacts the wellbeing of people, the planet, animals, and the built environment. In seeking sustainable solutions to challenges in an emerging environment, CSR-resilience research embraces a diversity of transdisciplinary knowledge, leverages natural and cultural resources synonymous to Africa, and privileges strengthening the research capacity of doctoral and early career scholars in Africa.


The vision of the CSR is to be known as a knowledge generation platform of merit that makes a meaningful contribution to Global South issues of adaptation to chronic and cumulative adversity. The two-pronged CSR-research niche is (i) to investigate resilience as a complex transdisciplinary phenomenon, and (ii) to use systematic scientific evidence to centralise Global South knowledge on adversity and adaptation into existing global resilience discourses.


South Africa is a veritable living laboratory that can be used to study resilience. Resilience presupposes (i) the presence of substantial challenges, (ii) socio-ecological pathways/processes of adapting to these adversities, and (iii) better than expected outcomes given highly challenged settings. The substantial challenges are more than evident in a highly unequal postcolonial South Africa in transformation. Innovative adaptations are visible amidst many instances of responses that are negative; there are examples of positive outcomes despite the cumulative and chronic risk. The CSR generates knowledge with UP researchers in nine faculties and sixteen academic departments and/or centres.


In a Global South space, it is necessary to have evidence of positive outcomes in relation to inequality, social exclusion, diversity, postcolonial transformation, and social justice.


Please visit the below link for a virtual welcome to the Centre for the Study of Resilience.

Future Africa - 1HOPE Webinar Series:

Covid-19 resources for families and professionals available here

CSR Most Recent Publications


Cianfagna, M., Bolon, I., Babo Martins, S., Mumford, E., Romanelli, C., Deem, S. L., & Ruiz de Castañeda, R. (2021). Biodiversity and human health interlinkages in higher education offerings: A first global overview. Frontiers in Public Health, 9, 124.


Ebersöhn, L. (2019). Training educational psychology professionals for work engagement in a context of inequality and trauma in South Africa. South African Journal of Education, 39, s1-s25.   


Haffejee, S., & Theron, L. C. (2019). “The power of me”: The role of agency in the resilience processes of adolescent African girls who have been sexually abused. Journal of Adolescent Research, 34(6), 683–712. 


Murphy, P. K., Ebersöhn, L., Omidire, F., & Firetto, C. M. (2020). Exploring the structure and content of discourse in remote, rural South African classrooms. South African Journal of Education, 40, s1-s11.


Rother, H. A., Etzel, R. A., Shelton, M., Paulson, J. A., Hayward, R. A., & Theron, L. C. (2020). Impact of extreme weather events on Sub-Saharan African child and adolescent mental health: A protocol for a systematic review. Atmosphere, 11(5), 1-12.


Theron, L. C. (2019). Championing the resilience of sub-Saharan adolescents: Pointers for psychologists. South African Journal of Psychology, 49(3), 325 –336.


Theron, L. (2020). Adolescent versus adult explanations of resilience enablers: A South African study. Youth & Society, 52, 78-98.


Theron, L. C. (2020). Resilience of sub-Saharan children and adolescents: A scoping review. Transcultural Psychiatry, 1-23.


Theron, L. C., Levine, D., & Ungar, M. (2020). African emerging adult resilience: Insights from a sample of township youth. Emerging Adulthood, 1-12.


Theron, L. C., & van Rensburg, A. (2020). Parent-figures and adolescent resilience: An African perspective. International Journal of School & Educational Psychology, 8(2), 90-103.


Ungar, M., Connelly, G., Liebenberg, L., & Theron, L. (2019). How schools enhance the development of young people’s resilience. Social Indicators Research, 145(2), 615-627.


Ungar, M., & Theron, L. (2020). Resilience and mental health: How multisystemic processes contribute to positive outcomes. The Lancet Psychiatry, 7(5), 441-448.


Ungar, M., McRuer, J., Liu, X., Theron, L., Blais, D., & Schnurr, M. (2020). Social-ecological resilience through a biocultural lens: a participatory methodology to support global targets and local priorities. Ecology and Society, 25(3), 1-12. 


Van Zyl, R., Van Schoor, A. N., Du Toit, P. J., Suleman, F. E., Velleman, M. D., Glatt, V., ... & Hohmann, E. (2020). The association between anterior cruciate ligament length and femoral epicondylar width measured on preoperative magnetic resonance imaging or radiograph. Arthroscopy, Sports Medicine, and Rehabilitation, 2, e23-e31.


Woollett, N., Bandeira, M., Marunda, S., Mudekunye, L., Ebersöhn, L. (2021). Adolescent pregnancy and young motherhood in rural Zimbabwe: Findings from a baseline study. Health Soc Care Community, 1–10. https://doi. org/10.1111/hsc.13362



Ebersöhn, L. (2019). Flocking Together: An Indigenous Psychology Theory of Resilience in Southern Africa. Cham: Springer.


Omidire, M. F. (Ed.). (2019). Multilingualism in the classroom: Teaching and learning in a challenging context. Cape Town: Juta.


Rich, G. J., López, A. P., Ebersöhn, L., Taylor, J., & Morrissey, S. (2020). Teaching psychology Around the World (Vol. 5). Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


Chapters in Books

Jefferis, T., Van Rensburg, A., & Theron, L. C. (2019). Strategies for resilience-focused interventions for youth within collectivistic cultures: Reflections on the Pathways to Resilience Project. In L.E. Van Zyl & S. Rothmann (Eds.), Evidence-Based Positive Psychological Interventions in Multi-Cultural Contexts (pp. 157-175). Cham: Springer.


Kumpulainen, K., & Theron, L. C. (2019).  Researching resilience processes in children’s everyday lives during transitioning to school: A dialogic approach. In D. Whitebread (Ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education (pp. 80-94). London: SAGE.


Machimana, E. G., Ebersöhn, L., & Sefotho, M, M. (2020). What parents, learners, students and researchers have to say about the benefits of Higher Education Community Engagement in a rural school. In E. Van Eeden, I. Eloff, & H. Dippenaar (Eds.), Community Engagement Research in South Africa: Methods, Theories, Histories and Practice. Pretoria: Van Schaik Publishers.


Theron, L. C. (2020). Teaching psychology for resilience in South Africa. In G. J. Rich, A. P. López, L. Ebersöhn, J. Taylor, & S. Morrissey (Eds.), Teaching Psychology Around the World (Vol. 5, pp. 90-101). Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Theron, L. C., & Ungar, M. (2019).  Adolescent resilience in the face of relentless adversity: The role of strong, black women. In I. Eloff (Ed.), Handbook of Quality of Life in African Societies (pp. 97-111). Cham: Springer.


Woollett, N., Bandeira, M., Marunda, S., Mudekunye, L., Ebersöhn, L. (2021). Adolescent pregnancy and young motherhood in rural Zimbabwe: Findings from a baseline study. Health Soc Care Community, 1–10. https://doi. org/10.1111/hsc.13362



Amadi-Echendu, J. E., Ebersöhn, L., Du Plessis, C., Van der Merwe, A., & Stols, G. (2020, June). A Multidisciplinary Case Study on Managing the Resilience of Connected systems, in Proc IEEE TEMSCON, Detroit, United States of America.


Chen, E. C., Ebersöhn, L., Brouard, P., & Douglas, M. A. (2020, August). Gay Men’s Negotiations of HIV-Stigma and Relationships: A Cross-Country Analysis, in Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy, Fordham University, New York, United States of America.


Ferreira, R. (2019, October). Teacher perceptions on the implementation of inclusive education policy with learners who are visually impaired in South Africa. Invited WERA symposium presentation at the ANPED conference, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Sonntag, Q. (2019, Sept). Changing perceptions about dogs and rabies in a rural community in South Africa. Paper presented at the Humane Dog Population Management Conference organised by the International Coalition for Animal Management, Mombasa, Kenya.


Theron, L. C. (2019, August). Towards human flourishing-under-stress: What can psychologists learn from innovations in resilience theory and practice? Keynote presented at NZPsS Annual Conference, Rotorua, New Zealand.


Theron, L. C. (2019, September). Beating the odds of being an adolescent in Africa: Propositions for psychology. Invited address presented at PsySSA 25th Anniversary Congress, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Theron, L. C. (2020, March). Resilience pathways to health and wellbeing: Learning from African young people. Invited plenary paper presented at 2020 Resilience Conference: Equity in Gender, Health & Water, Hamilton, Canada.


For more publications, click here.



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