The Centre for the Study of Resilience

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South Africa is a veritable living laboratory 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 as, amidst many instances of responses that are negative, there are examples of positive outcomes despite cumulative and chronic risk. The CSR distils knowledge on resilience in nine UP 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.

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South-to-South Research Group on Education – South Africa: Prof Liesel Ebersöhn


CSR Most Recent Publication


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(Suppl. 2):Art. #1716, 25 pages.  


Omidire, M.F. (2019). (Ed.). 
Multilingualism in the classroom: Teaching and learning in a challenging context. Cape Town: Juta. ISBN: 9781775822691

Ebersöhn, L. (2019). Flocking Together: An Indigenous Psychology Theory of Resilience in Southern Africa. Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-16435-5

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. (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.

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.

Accepted and Published Articles
Theron, L. C. (In press). Resilience of sub-Saharan children and adolescents: A scoping review. Transcultural Psychiatry. 

Ungar, M. & Theron, L. (In press). Resilience and mental health: How multisystemic processes contribute to positive outcomes. Lancet Psychiatry.

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

Theron, L. C. (2019). Championing the resilience of sub-Saharan adolescents: Pointers for psychologists. South African Journal of Psychology, 49(3), 325 –336. doi: 10.1177/0081246318801749

Theron, L. C. & van Rensburg, A. (2019). Parent-figures and adolescent resilience: An African perspective. International Journal of School & Educational Psychology, pre-print, doi: 10.1080/21683603.2019.1657994

Ungar, M., Connelly, G., Liebenberg, L., & Theron, L. (2019). How schools enhance the development of young people’s resilience. Social Indicators Research, 145:615–627. doi:10.1007/s11205-017-1728-8

Book chapters
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, Switzerland: 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, UK: SAGE

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, Switzerland: Springer.



Bezuidenhout, C., Theron, L. C., & Fritz, E. (2018). Positive adjustment to first grade despite divorce: Lessons for school psychologists. School Psychology International, 39(5), 490-509. DOI: 0.1177/0143034318791332

Ebersöhn, L., & Malan-Van Rooyen, M. (2018). Making the most of culture and context: socio-cultural strengths and contextual vulnerability when eliciting indigenous resilience insights with remote South African elders and young people. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 17, 1-21. (Impact Factor: 1.387). DOI: 10.1177/1609406918798434

Govender, K., Bhana, A., McMurray, K., Kelly, J., Theron, L., Meyer-Weitz, A., & Tomlinson, M. (2018). A systematic review of the South African work on the well-being of young people (2000–2016). South African Journal of Psychology, pre-print DOI:0081246318757932.

Hadfield, K., Ungar, M., Emond, A., Foster, K., Gatt, J. M., Mason-Jones, A., Reid, S., Theron, L., Wouldes, T. A., &  Wu, Q. (2018). Challenges of developing and conducting an international study of resilience in migrant adolescents. International Social Work, pre-print. DOI: 10.1177/0020872818796147

Jordaan, D. du P.S., & Kirsten, J.F. (2018). Measuring the fragility of agribusiness value chains: a case study of the South African lamb chain.  International  Food and Agribusiness Management Review, pre-print DOI: 10.22434/IFAMR2017.0103.

Machimana, E.G., Sefotho, M. & Ebersöhn, L. (2018). What makes or breaks higher education community engagement in the South African rural school context: A multiple-partner perspective. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 13(2): 177–196. DOI: 10.1177/1746197917731353.

Mampane, R., Omidire, F. & Aluko, R. (2018) Decolonising higher education in Africa: Arriving at a glocal solution.South African Journal of Education, 38(4) pp1-9.

Mampane, R. & Omidire, F. (2018). The role of community care workers and the coping strategies they adopt in high-risk contexts. Social Work Review Vol 4

Omidire, F., Ayob, S., Mampane, R. & Sefotho, M., 2018, ‘Using structured movement educational activities to teach mathematics and language concepts to pre-schoolers’, South African Journal of Childhood Education 8(1), a513. sajce.v8i1.513

Omidire, F., Ebersohn, L., Leask, M., & Du Plessis, A. (2018). A South African case study of teaching English in two rural schools. Submitted to Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies (IBSS).

Pretorius, T., & Theron, L. C. (2018). “A pillar of strength”: Empowering women and the resilience of township-dwelling adolescents. Young, 27(4), 1-22. DOI: 10.1177/1103308818795081

Theron, L. C. (2018). Championing the resilience of sub-Saharan adolescents: Pointers for psychologists. South African Journal of Psychology, pre-print, DOI: 10.1177/0081246318801749

Truter, E., Theron, L. C., & Fouché, A. (2018). No strangers to adversity: Resilience-promoting practices among South African women child protection social workers. Qualitative Social Work, 17(5), 712-731.

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