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Evaluation of Kumpfer’s Resilience Framework

We are currently featuring the article titled “An Analysis and Evaluation of Kumpfer’s Resilience Framework” authored by Zhihong Zhang, MS, RN; Karen F. Stein, PhD, RN; Sally A. Norton, PhD, RN; and Marie A. Flannery, PhD, RN. The article is available to download at no cost while it is featured. Here is a message about this work that first author Zhihong Zhang has provided for ANS readers:

My research program aims to investigate resilience in older adults with cancer. I am seeking a theoretical framework that can guide this examination. One such framework is Kumpfer’s resilience framework (KRF), which has been widely used with adults and youths, including those with cancer. KRF is an integrative framework that organizes evidence of resilience and its predictors into a single model. It was originally developed by Karol L. Kumpfer in 1999, based on research with at-risk youth. However, the strengths and weaknesses of KRF have not been evaluated since its publication. To address this gap, we utilized Walker and Avant’s method to review 41 related publications and assess KRF’s origin, meaning, logical adequacy, usefulness, generalizability, parsimony, and testability, with the goal of informing future research on resilience.

Our findings suggest that KRF is a useful, generalizable, and testable framework that has been applied to diverse populations experiencing various adversities. However, we identified areas for improvement in terms of meaning, logical adequacy, and parsimony. Consequently, we proposed a revised diagram of KRF that enhances clarity regarding inferred relationships, consistency in concept labels, logical structure, and parsimony. This revised diagram highlights the dynamic process of resilience in a feedback loop and the complex interactions among its predictors following stressors (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Revised diagram of Kumpfer’s resilience framework

Explanations for this revised KRF diagram:

  • Stressors activate the adaptation process. Resilience is a dynamic process of positive adaptation that results from interactions between environmental factors, person-environmental transactional process, and internal factors, as well as the influence of past resilience and past adaptation outcomes.
  • Individuals with resilience have positive adaptation outcomes, whereas those without resilience have negative adaptation outcomes. The feedback from adaptation outcomes also influences future resilience, with positive adaptation outcomes strengthening future resilience and negative adaptation outcomes weakening it.
  • The feedbacks from current resilience may affect future interactions between environmental factors, person-environmental transactional process, and internal factors. Individuals with resilience, for example, may reshape their environments, change internal factors, or modify the person-environmental transactional process to better adapt to stressors.

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