The Robertson Cooper model for resilience

The Robertson Cooper model is a popular explanation for how resilience is developed.


The idea is that the more developed each of the four components is for you, the stronger your resilience is and the more you can cope with change.


These four components are:



Building a clear sense of purpose and values, working out what really matters to you, now and for the future. This is influenced by self-control, conscientiousness, meaningfulness and sense of purpose.



Building realistic, positive beliefs and attitudes about yourself and your ability to influence things for the better. This is influenced by positive emotions, positive attitudes and beliefs, self-belief and self-efficacy and optimism.


Social support

Building a strong network of mutually supportive relationships and learning to seek help when you need it. This is influenced by self-awareness, awareness of others, empathy and sociability.



Developing your ability to flex your approach and generate new ideas and suggestions. This is influenced by intelligence and problem-solving, adaptability and ability to improvise.


Look at the model and then answer the questions below.

Robinson-Cooper model

Think of times you have used purposefulness, confidence, social support and adaptability as strengths.

  • How you can use these strengths in challenges you have today?
  • Write down two ways you could use these four strengths in the next few months.
  • How could you use them to help yourself or someone you know coping with a large change?