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Communicating Hope and Resilience Across the Lifespan


Gary A. Beck and Thomas Socha

From serious illness to natural disasters, humans turn to communication as a major source of strength to help us bounce back and to keep growing and thriving.
Communicating Hope and Resilience Across the Lifespan addresses the various ways in which communication plays an important role in fostering hope and resilience. Adopting a lifespan approach and offering a new framework to expand our understanding of the concepts of «hope» and «resilience» from a communication perspective, contributors highlight the variety of «stressors» that people may encounter in their lives. They examine connections between the cognitive dimensions of hope such as self-worth, self-efficacy, and creative problem solving. They look at the variety of messages that can facilitate or inhibit experiencing hope in relationships, groups, and organizations. Other contributors look at how communication that can build strengths, enhance preparation, and model successful adaptation to change has the potential to lessen the negative impact of stress, demonstrating resilience.
As an important counterpoint to recent work focusing on what goes wrong in interpersonal relationships, communication that has the potential to uplift and facilitate responses to stressful circumstances is emphasized throughout this volume. By offering a detailed examination of how to communicate hope and resilience, this book presents practical lessons for individuals, marriages, families, relationship experts, as well as a variety of other practitioners.


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Foreword. Communication, Hope, and Resilience: Challenges and Promises (Anita L. Vangelisti)


• F O R E W O R D • Communication, Hope, and Resilience: Challenges and Promises Anita L. Vangelisti University of Texas at Austin hat enables some people to endure, and even thrive, as they walk through difficult or traumatic experiences while others stumble and fall? This question has been asked by theorists, practitioners, and laypeople. It has generated volumes of research, spawned therapeutic pro- grams, and plagued those who manage to flourish while they watch their friends, neighbors, or siblings languish. On the surface, the answer is easy: Some people are more resilient and more hopeful than others. Dig a little deeper, though, and the answer becomes quite complex. Conceptualizing Hope and Resilience Hope and resilience are not easy concepts to master. As evidenced by the chapters that make up Communicating Hope and Resilience Across the Lifespan, they can be conceived in a number of different ways. The majority of the liter- ature on hope and resilience examines the concepts at the level of individuals. In other words, most research looks at hope and resilience as traits or qualities that people possess—either temporarily or on an ongoing basis. Snyder’s (2000) hope theory is a case in point. Snyder defines hope as individuals’ belief that they can find pathways to achieve their goals and that they have the motiva- tion to use those pathways. Similarly, Bonnano’s (2004, 2006) work on resili- ence describes the concept in terms of people’s ability to maintain a relatively stable trajectory of healthy functioning after...

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