The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale was developed by two researchers – Kathryn M. Conner and Jonathan R.T. Davidson.
Connor is a psychiatrist and a researcher at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Her research is focused on stress, anxiety, social anxiety, medications, and resilience.
Davidson is a Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University. His studies focus on PTSD, as well as many other psychiatric topics.
Both Connor and Davidson began developing this scale as a result of working with PTSD patients in their clinical practice.
Connor and Davidson developed the scale because there weren’t many resilience scales available at the time when it came to treating their patients.
What is the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale? (CD-RISC)
The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale is a test that measures resilience or how well one is equipped to bounce back after stressful events, tragedy, or trauma.
Resilience gives us the ability to thrive in the face of adversity. Those who are resilient are better able to move through the traumas of life.
The Connor Davidson Resilience Scale measures several components of resilience:
The ability to adapt to change.
The ability to deal with what comes along.
The ability to cope with stress.
The ability to stay focused and think clearly.
The ability to not get discouraged in the face of failure.
The ability to handle unpleasant feelings such as anger, pain or sadness.
What Versions are There? (10 + 25 Item)
The CD-RISC-2, CD-RISC-10, and CD-RISC-25 are the only versions of the scale authorized for use.
There are many unauthorized versions, created without permission and in violation of copyright.
The CD-RISC-2 is a two items scale of the longer CD-RISC. This short scale is useful as a brief measure of resilience or for measuring progress after treatment. (Vaishnavi, Connor & Davidson (2007).
According to Vaishnavi, Connor & Davidson (2007), the CD-RISC-2 shows test-retest reliability, adequate internal consistency, convergent validity, as well as divergent validity.
As part of the study done by Vaishnavi, Connor & Davidson (2007), two items from the original scale were used:
I am able to adapt when changes occur. I tend to bounce back after illness, injury or other hardships.
The originators of the scale selected these two items as etymologically capturing the true essence of resilience, or the ability to bounce back and successfully adapt to change.
The 10-item scale is comprised of ten of the original 25 items from the CD-RISC-10 scale. Total points possible range from 0-40.
The questions on the 10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale include:
I am able to adapt when changes occur. I can deal with whatever comes my way. I try to see the humorous side of things when I am faced with problems. Having to cope with stress can make me stronger. I tend to bounce back after illness, injury or other hardships. I believe I can achieve my goals, even if there are obstacles. Under pressure, I stay focused and think clearly. I am not easily discouraged by failure. I think of myself as a strong person when dealing with life’s challenges and difficulties. I am able to handle unpleasant or painful feelings like sadness, fear, and anger.
This 10-item scale was developed by Dr’s Campbell-Sills and Stein, at the University of California, San Diego, based on factor analysis.
Possible responses range from:
0 – Not true at all.
1 – Rarely true.
2 – Sometimes true.
3 – Often true.
4 – True nearly all the time.
According to Gandubert, Ritchie, Soulier, Ancelin, and Chaudieu (2012), the CD-RISC was initially considered to be multidimensional, with factors comparable to:
Tenacity and competence. Trusting in one’s instincts and tolerating negative affect. Accepting of change and secure within relationships. Control. Spirituality.
However, in subsequent studies utilizing independent samples, some instability was revealed in the factor structure. This lead to the recognition of an abridged 10-item version, the CD-RISC-10.
The remaining ten items were thought to be a better reflection of the ability to bounce back from the variety of challenges that can arise in life.
This unidimensional version has equally excellent psychometric properties, and the longer version is applicable for different cultures and is quite adapted to extensive epidemiological studies.
The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC-25) is a self-administered scale containing 25 items that exhibit good psychometric properties.
The questions on the 25-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale include:
I am able to adapt when changes occur. I have one close and secure relationship. Sometimes fate or God helps me. I can deal with whatever comes my way. Past successes give me confidence. I try to see the humorous side of things when I am faced with problems. Having to cope with stress can make me stronger. I tend to bounce back after illness, injury or other hardships. I believe most things happen for a reason. I make my best effort, no matter what. I believe I can achieve my goals, even if there are obstacles. Even when hopeless, I do not give up. In times of stress, I know where to find help. Under pressure, I stay focused and think clearly. I prefer to take the lead in problem-solving. I am not easily discouraged by failure. I think of myself as a strong person when dealing with life’s challenges and difficulties. I make unpopular or difficult decisions. I am able to handle unpleasant or painful feelings like sadness, fear, and anger. I have to act on a hunch. I have a strong sense of purpose in life. I feel like I am in control. I like challenges. I work to attain goals. I take pride in my achievements.
The CD-RISC-25 scale was taken from Van der Walt, Suliman, Martin & Lammers, Seedat, (2014).
How Does Scoring Work?
According to Gandubert, Ritchie, Soulier, Ancelin, and Chaudieu (2012), the original 25-item scale was designed to assess resilience, with higher scores being an indicator of high resilience.
Each item on the scale is rated on a 5-point range of responses from not true at all or zero to true nearly all of the time or four.
The total possible scores range from 0–100.
A Look at the Reliability and Validity of the CD-RISC
A study done by Gonzalez, Moore, Newton & Galli, (2015) examined the validity and reliability of the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale in terms of competitive sport.
The study had three primary goals:
To examine the structure and fit of the original 25-item CD-RISC, as a five-factor scale and a unidimensional scale, as well as the 10-item scale. Examine any gender invariances. Examine the validity of the best fitting scale.
The ten-item scale was psychometrically superior when compared to the unidimensional 25-item scale as well as the five-factor 25-item scale. This conclusion was derived from confirmatory factor and item-level analyses. (Gonzalez, Moore, Newton & Galli, 2015)
The ten-item scale also exhibited measurement invariance for gender, with significant configural, strong, as well as weak analyses.
Using structural equation modeling, the ten-item scale correlated positively and moderately with positive affect. The scale was inversely related to performance anxiety and negative affect, establishing convergent and divergent validity. (Gonzalez, Moore, Newton & Galli, 2015)
In a study done measuring resilience in adult women using the 10-item scale, the CD-RISC-10 showed high internal consistency. (Gandubert, Ritchie, Soulier, Ancelin and Chaudieu, 2012).
A preliminary study of its psychometric properties in the general population and patient samples showed adequate internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and convergent and divergent validity. (Gandubert, Ritchie, Soulier, Ancelin, and Chaudieu (2012)
Where Can I Download the CD-RISC Online? (PDF)
The original scales can be requested via the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale website.
What is the Brief-Resilience Scale (BRS)?
The Brief Resilience Scale differs from other resilience scales because it does not attempt to measure or even identify personal characteristics and social resources that someone may possess or develop to help promote adaptation.
The Brief Resilience Scale was developed purely to assess the concept of resilience under its original etymology or measure of ability. (Brief Resilience Scale (BRS), 2019.)
How Does it Assess a Person’s Ability to Cope and Bounce Back?
The Brief-Resilience Scale intends to measure one’s ability to bounce back or recover from stress. According to Smith, Dalen, Wiggins, Tooley, Christopher & Bernard (2008), this explanation is the closest one to the original meaning of resilience.
Previous measures have typically assessed things like protective factors or resources that involve personal characteristics and coping styles. The brief resilience scale is designed to measure and evaluate resilience in terms of how quickly one adapts to stress, bounces back, resists illness, and thrives in the face of adversity.
Being able to measure how someone bounces back from stress provides valuable insight when it comes to helping one cope with health-related stressors. (Smith, Dalen, Wiggins, Tooley, Christopher & Bernard, 2008)
Scoring and Interpretation
The Brief Resilience Scale is a 6-item scale that measures responses to the following questions:
I tend to bounce back quickly after hard times. I have a hard time making it through stressful events. It does not take me long to recover from a stressful event. It is hard for me to snap back when something wrong happens. I usually come through difficult times with little trouble. I tend to take a long time to get over setbacks in my life.
Scale courtesy of Smith, Dalen, Wiggins, Tooley, Christopher & Bernard, (2008).
Scoring is measured on a 5-point scale, adding the responses on all six questions with possible ranges from 6-30. Scores range from:
Strongly disagree. Disagree. Neutral. Agree. Strongly agree.
To compute the score, first reverse the scores of items 2, 4, and 6. Reversing a score is done by exchanging the original value of an item by its opposite value: a score of 1 turns into a score of 5, a score of 2 turns into a 4, etc. Then, add up all the individual item scores.
A weighted score can be calculated by dividing the total score by the number of items; in this case, 6 with higher scores reflect more resilience.
A Look at the Reliability and Validity of the BRS
According to Smith, Dalen, Wiggins, Tooley, Christopher & Bernard, (2008), the Brief Resilience Scale is a reliable tool for assessing factors of resilience in terms of the ability to recover and bounce back from stress.
The Brief Resilience Scale provides both unique and important information about people and how they cope with health-related stressors, according to the study.
Where Can I Find the BRS Scale Online? (PDF)
The Brief Resilience Scale is one of the tools offered via the Positive Psychology Toolkit. It is a great way to track progress in terms of resilience and is suitable for administering while conducting therapy or coaching sessions.
A Take-Home Message
Resilience allows us to thrive in the face of adversity. Resilience is a multidimensional characteristic that changes over time. One’s resilience factor may depend on many things from time, age, gender, cultural origin, and even context.
Resilience may even vary within an individual as they are subjected to different circumstances in life. (Connor & Davidson, 2003)
This variability might be further explained by looking at homeostasis, or the tendency to move towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements.
As one adapts their body, mind, and spirit to different life circumstances, they run into both internal and external stressors.
These stressors affect one’s ability to cope, and this ability is influenced by both successful adaptations and unsuccessful adaptations to previous disruptions.
In some instances, the protective factors and adaptations are ineffective, resulting in the disruption of biopsychospiritual homeostasis, according to Connor & Davidson (2003).
As one learns to respond more healthily, and as they learn resilience, one of four outcomes occur:
The failure or disruption presents an opportunity for growth and increased resilience, resulting in a higher level of homeostasis.
The return to baseline homeostasis to get past the disruption.
Some recovery, with loss resulting in a lower level of homeostasis.
A state of dysfunction in which one develops maladaptive strategies or self-destructive behaviors.
In the end, resilience is an excellent measure of our ability to learn and change and grow, and it is a good measure of successful ways to cope with stress.