Resilience amongst Older Colombians Living in Poverty: an Ecological Approach



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Journal of cross-cultural gerontology, 1573-0719, Vol. 31, Nro. 4, 2016, p. 385-407

Publicado por

Springer Nature

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Older Colombians face significant adversities: poverty, violence and displacement. However, there is evidence that Latinos are often resilient. We examine resilience in older Colombians living in poverty using an ecological framework that identifies three levels: individual; community; and societal. In this paper we examine data from 16 semi-structured interviews with older Colombians that explore resilience within the context of poverty. We analyze our data using three stages: (1) modified grounded theory; (2) assignment of resilience status; (3) identification of components of the ecological framework which contribute to resilience in these participants. The most striking feature is that some participants are able to adapt to their situation, demonstrating resilience, whilst others are not. Individual characteristics such as psychological and material resources contribute to resilience. At the community level, family, social support, participation and cohesion promote resilience. Finally, at the societal level, social and welfare services, finance, religion and social policy, are important factors. These different levels of resilience are co-dependent, and we illustrate how this is so. We suggest that older Colombians living in poverty often demonstrate resilience, but that more can be done to enhance their lives. This includes interventions at the individual and community levels alongside changes in social policy.

Palabras clave


Ecological model, Late life, Poverty


Resiliencia psicológica
Apoyo social
Dinámica poblacional