A Multisystemic Model for Positive Development in Stressed Environments

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Appointment timeThursday, Jan. 14, 2021, 3:00 PM-4: 00 PM ET

place: Virtual

Sponsored by::

NIMH Department of Extramural Affairs

Dr. Michael Ungar talks about diagnosing resilience: a multisystem model for positive development in stressed environmentsOn January 14, 2021, Michael Ungar, Ph.D., Founder and Director of the Resilience Research Center and the Canadian Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, will be a guest speaker at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Director’s Innovation Speaker Series, which focuses on innovation, invention and scientific discovery.

Using examples from his research and clinical practice, Dr. Ungar examine the nature of resilience patterns among young people in contexts where children and adolescents are affected by social marginalization, migration, violence and mental disorders. His work shows that resilience can be assessed with sensitivity to culture and context, identifying factors that are most likely to have the greatest impact on behavioral outcomes at different risk exposures. The research program of Dr. Ungar supports an ecological, culturally sensitive interpretation of what resilience means for young people suffering from extreme forms of adversity.

In this lecture, Dr. Ungar show that resilience results from both individual abilities to overcome adversity and the ability of social and physical ecologies, including psychosocial care providers, to help young people find their way to the resources they need to build and maintain well-being . Finally, aspects of hidden resilience (maladaptive coping) are discussed as sensible ways in which young people can protect themselves from risks when they grow up in challenging contexts.

Dr. Ungar is the former chair of the Nova Scotia Mental Health and Addiction Strategy, a board member of the American Family Therapy Academy, and a family therapist who continues to work with mental health services for those at risk and families. His international series of studies spanning six continents has transformed the understanding of resilience, shifting the focus from individual traits to the interactions between individuals and their social, institutional, built and natural environments, including health and social services.


The NIMH set up the Director’s Innovation Speakers series to encourage broad, interdisciplinary thinking in developing scientific initiatives and programs, and to push for theoretical leaps in science beyond the continuation of incremental thinking. Innovation speakers are encouraged to describe their work in terms of breaking through existing boundaries and developing successful new ideas, as well as working outside of their original field in a way that has advanced their fields. We encourage discussion about the importance of innovation, creativity, breakthroughs and paradigm shifts.


Online registration For this free event is required.

More information:

NIMH provides sign language interpreters. Individuals with disabilities who require reasonable accommodation to participate in this program should contact Federal Relay at 1-800-877-8339. Send general questions to the NIMH Director Innovation Speaker Series inbox.

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