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.


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

CSR Most Recent Publications



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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