The Centre for the Study of Resilience

The Centre for the Study of Resilience is known for Transdisciplinary Resilience Research in a challenged and resourceful African space.

The Centre for the Study of Resilience (CSR) at the University of Pretoria (UP) distills 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 well-being 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 centralize 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 centers.


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.

The Centre for the Study of Resilience views Mental Health and understanding young people's needs and resilience in challenging contexts as an important field of study. Please visit the link below for a newsitem featuring Prof. Linda Theron from the CSR and her interview on eNCA.

We believe that psychosocial support is critical in the face of COVID 19.  It builds our resilience to face this threat and gives us determination to overcome.  Last week Dr Tedros said in his press briefing – Hope is a powerful medicine. REPSSI and APSSI’s contribution to the global effort is to develop a series of presentations that we are going to put out twice a week. The first is titled – Fright, Flight or Flocking.  Flocking is a theory of community resilience which is an important aspect of psychosocial support.

The 10 minute presentation was available on facebook at 11 am South African time on Wednesday 1 April 2020. If you missed it, you are welcome to view the video via youtube at   You are all invited to participate and to share this presentation with all of your partners.

CSR Most Recent Publications



Cameranesi, M.; Theron, L.; Höltge, J.;Jefferies, P.; Ungar, M. Understanding the Mechanisms through Which Family Risk Affects Adolescent Mental Health: A Model of Multisystemic Resilience in Context. Children 2022, 9, 546.

Dada, S., May, A., Bastable, K., Samuels, A., Tönsing, K., Wilder, J., ... & Reddy, V. (2022). The involvement matrix as a framework for involving youth with severe communication disabilities in developing health education materials. Health Expectations.

Ebersöhn, L., Graham, M., & Versveld, J. (2022). Social connectedness as resilience-enabling pathways for teachers in a challenged context. Teachers and Teaching: Theory in Practice.

Ebersöhn, L. (2022). We are in this together: Foreword to School-Based Family Counselling for Crisis and Disaster. In E. Hernandez & S. Deb (Eds.), School-Based Family Counseling for Crisis and Disaster: Global Perspectives? Routledge.

Ebersöhn, L., Omidire, F. & Murphy, P.K. (2022). Academic flocking and global distress: Equitable south-north research partnering to promote quality education in diverse contexts and cultures. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft.

Freeland, L., Haffejee, S., Getanda, E., Theron, L., & Vostanis, P. (2022) Children’s perspectives of psychosocial help-seeking in Kenya, Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies,

Goodman, M. L., Kidman, R., & Theron, L. (2022). Integrative approaches required to support children affected by COVID-19. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 6(4), 218-219.

Haffejee, S., & Theron, L.C. (2022). Visual methods in resilience research: Reflections on its utility. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 19(1), 20-43.

Haffejee, S., Theron, L., Hassan, S., & Vostanis, P. (2022). Juxtaposing disadvantaged children’s insights on psychosocial helpseeking with those of service providers: Lessons from South Africa and Pakistan. Child & Youth Services, 1-25.

Höltge, J., Theron, L., & Ungar, M. (2022). A multisystemic perspective on the temporal interplay
between adolescent depression and resilience supporting individual and social resources. Journal of
Affective Disorders, 297, 225—232.

Levine, D., & Theron, L. (2022). Digital storytelling with South African youth: a critical reflection. Qualitative Research Journal,

Theron, L. C., Abreu-Villaça, Y., Augusto-Oliveira, M., Brennan, C. H., Crespo-Lopez, M. E., de Paula Arrifano, G., ... & Hadfield, K. (2022). A systematic review of the
mental health risks and resilience among pollution-exposed adolescents. Journal of Psychiatric Research,
146, 55—66. 

Theron, L., Rothmann, S., Makhnach, A. & Ungar, M. (2022). Adolescent mental health resilience and combinations of caregiver monitoring and warmth: A person-centred perspective. Journal of Child and Family Studies,

Theron, L. C., Levine, D. T., & Ungar, M. (2022). The inhibitors and enablers of emerging adult COVID-19 mitigation compliance in a township context. South African Journal of Science, 118(5-6), 1-8. script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532022000300014

Theron, L., Rothmann, S., Höltge, J. & Ungar, M. (2022). Differential adaptation to adversity: A latent profile analysis of youth engagement with resilience-enabling cultural resources and mental health outcomes in a stressed Canadian and South African community. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology,

Theron, L., Ungar, M. & Höltge, J. (2022). Pathways of resilience: Predicting school engagement trajectories for South African adolescents living in a stressed environment. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 69,

Tönsing, K. M., Dada, S., Bastable, K., & Samuels, A. (2022). Health information and education needs for youth with complex communication needs during the Covid-19 pandemic: rehabilitation professionals’ perspectives. Disability and Rehabilitation, 1-10.

Chapters in Books

Ebersöhn, L., Omidire, M. F., & Mampane, M. R. (2022). Collective distress calls for collective wellbeing measures. In The Routledge International Handbook of Indigenous Resilience (pp. 195–207). Routledge.

Conference proceedings/keynotes

Ebersöhn, L. (2022). Keynote address. Equitable global education research partnerships and global distress – the case of academic flocking. CIMIE, Barcelona.



Cia 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, 1-8.

Höltge, J., Theron, L., Cowden, R.G., Govender, K., Maximo, S., Carranza, J.S., Kapoor, B., Tomar, A., van Rensburg, A., Lu, S., Hu, H., Cavioni, V., Agliati, A., Grazzani, I., Smedema, Y., Kaur, G., Hurlington, K.G., Sanders, J., Munford, R., Colomeischi, A., Panter-Brick, C., Sarathamani, S., Boratne, A.V., Avudaiappan, S., Patil, R., Borualogo, I., Katisi, M., Jefferies, P., & Ungar, M. (2021). A cross-country network analysis of adolescent resilience. Journal of Adolescent Health, 68(3), 580-588.

Höltge, J., Theron, L., van Rensburg, A., Cowden, R. G., Govender, K., & Ungar, M. (2021). Investigating the Interrelations Between Systems of Support in 13‐to 18‐Year‐Old Adolescents: A Network Analysis of Resilience Promoting Systems in a High and Middle‐Income Country. Child Development, 92(2), 586-599.

Höltge, J., Ungar, M., & Theron, L. (2021). The differential interplay of home routines and comforting beliefs on adolescent mental health in situations of severe parental conflict. Adversity and Resilience Science, 2, 5-17.

Machimana, E. G., Sefotho, M. M., Ebersöhn, L., & Shultz, L. (2021). Higher education uses community engagement-partnership as a research space to build knowledge. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 20, 45-62.

Mahdiani, H., Höltge, J., Theron, L., & Ungar, M. (2021). Resilience in times of economic boom and bust: a narrative study of a rural population dependent upon the oil and gas industry. Journal of Adult Development, 28(2), 149-161.

Murphy, K., Strand, L., Theron, L., & Ungar, M. (2021). “I just gotta have tough skin”: Women's experiences working in the oil and gas industry in Canada✰. The Extractive Industries and Society, 8(2), 1-11.

Sefhedi, S. T., Omidire, M. F., Ebersöhn, L., & Murphy, P. K. (2021). Promoting critical-analytic thinking through teacher discourse moves and pedagogical principles: The case of a rural South African secondary school. Journal for Language Teaching, 54(2), 95-117.

Theron, L. C., Abreu-Villaça, Y., Augusto-Oliveira, M., Brennan, C. H., Crespo-Lopez, M. E., de Paula Arrifano, G., Glazer, L., Lin, L., Mareschal, I., Sartori, L., Stieger, L., Trotta, A., & Hadfield, K. (2021). Effects of pollution on adolescent mental health: a systematic review protocol. Systematic Reviews, 10, 1-7.

Ungar, M., Theron, L., Murphy, K., & Jefferies, P. (2021). Researching multisystemic resilience: A sample methodology. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1-18.

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 and Social Care in the Community, 1-10.

Chapters in books

Machimana, E. G., Ebersöhn, L., & Sefotho, M, M. (2021). Benefits of community engagement practice in the context of higher education and rural school partnership: multi-perspective voices. In E. Van Eeden, I. Eloff, & H. Dippenaar (Eds.), Community Engagement Research in South Africa: Methods, Theories, Histories and Practice. Pretoria: Van Schaik Publishers.


For more publications, click here.



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