Fondazione Paracelso is working on a study that is being conducted by Professoressa Antonella Delle Fave on the theme of resilience. The foundations for the study have their roots in a significant change in the therapeutic approach, which now increasingly addresses the individual’s own resources, his strengths and his potential as leverage points to help in his personal development and insertion into society.


Theoretical premises. After decades in which clinical medicine and psychology dealt exclusively with how to correct and compensate for deficits, now we pay attention to the individual’s resources, his strengths and his potential as leverage points to help in his personal development and insertion into society. This approach has direct consequences on social policies because it stresses prevention rather than treatment and appreciation of the individual and his abilities rather than the reduction of his problems. Wellbeing is traditionally defined by means of objective indicators such as income, level of education and state of health. Nevertheless, it is equally important to consider subjective indicators of wellbeing, starting from the individual’s own assessments of his state of health, his degree of satisfaction in the various spheres of life, the results he has attained and his future goals (Veenhoven, 2002). In the light of the biopsychosocial model, furthermore, disability and illness (especially if they are chronic) do not represent deviations from the norm, but variations of human functioning originating from the interaction between individual characteristics and the characteristics of the physical and social environment. Looking at the matter from these viewpoints, we shall see that the patients’ direct contribution to research and action by means of his evaluation of his quality of life and his personal, family and social resources becomes a question of priority. It is only in this way that what we do can satisfies people’s actual needs instead of reflecting social and medical/clinical expectations, which do not always correspond to what the individual really requires. more...

Moreover, the quality of life does not merely depend on a person’s state of health: people with chronic pathologies find positive consequences from their diseases more frequently than we might think. Learning the experiences these persons have in their day-to-day activities and the way they interact with the opportunities that their environment offers them may bring individual resources and potential to light, show up what the environment lacks and has to offer and enhance the contribution that each individual can make to the cultural context in which he lives.

Objectives, sample and procedures
. In order to evaluate individual and contextual resources in view of an effective way of fostering the autonomy and integration of hemophilia sufferers, this project will involve 100 participants resident in 5 different Italian Regions and distributed over different age bands, in function of the various types of treatment that have followed each other during the last 50 years. The patients’ perception of their wellbeing, resources and quality of life will be evaluated through (a) a semi-structured qualitative interview; and (b) some tools currently employed in psychological research: Eudaimonic and Hedonic Happiness Investigation (EHHI), which gives information on levels of wellbeing and happiness and decisions regarding objectives in life through items on a scale and open questions (Delle Fave et al., 2011); Mental Health Continuum short form (MHC-SF), which analyses emotive, social and psychological wellbeing through 14 items (Keyes, 2002, 2005) and the Resilience Scale for Adults (RSA), which analyses resilience as a multi-dimensional construction, investigating its psychological and dispositional dimensions and contextual factors such as family cohesion and outside support (Friborg et al., 2003).

Expected results. The analysis of the data collected will allow us to work out guidelines to help in drawing up intervention plans that focus on individual resources and not on social expectations. This project is important from this point of view because it sets itself to foster an actual and efficacious meeting point for the individual’s needs and potential, on one hand, and social opportunities for growth and integration on the other. 


  • Delle Fave, A., Brdar, I., Freire, T., Vella-Brodrick, D., andWissing, M.P. (2011). The Eudaimonic and Hedonic Components of Happiness: Qualitative and Quantitative Findings. Social Indicators Research, 100, 185-205.
  • Friborg, O., Hjemdal, O., Rosenvinge, J. H., e Martinussen, M. (2003). A new rating scale for adult resilience: What are the central protective resource behind healthy adjustment?International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 12(2), 65-76.
  • Keyes, C.L.M. (2002). The mental health continuum: From languishing to flourishing in life.Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 43, 207–222.
  • Keyes, C.L.M. (2005). Mental illness and/or mental health? Investigating axioms of the complete state model of health.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 539–548.
  • Veenhoven, R. (2002). Why social policy needs subjective indicators.Social Indicators Research, 58, 33-45.

This project is carried out with the support of Bayer.





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