Developing career resilience
Developing career resilience

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Developing career resilience

2 Is resilience in our DNA?

In Week 1 of the course you learned that everyone has the capacity for resilience. Looking at the specific characteristics that enable some people to be more resilient than others helps us to start to think about why some people show greater degrees of resilience than others when faced with a similar situation.

But why do individuals develop these characteristics differently? Advances in genetic research over the last ten years have linked various genes to a range of social behaviours. Are genes also linked to our ability to cope with life’s challenges?

Activity _unit3.2.1 Activity 2 In the blood?

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch the video In the blood [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] with Simon Weston. You might find it useful to open the video in a new tab or window. Weston is a veteran of the British Army who has become well known throughout the UK for his charity work after he suffered severe burn injuries during the Falklands War. In the video he visits the Genome Centre in London to meet psychologists Dr Michael Pluess and Dr Aneta Tunariu and to see if he has the resilience gene.

You can view the transcript for the video at Week 2: ‘In the blood’ transcript.

Note down how Weston explains his ability to be resilient.

Did the video have any broader messages for you?

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


Weston expected that he would have one of the genes associated with resilience and was surprised that he did not. He reflects that he is pleased with this and identifies family, friends and strong networks as essential to his ability to become resilient.

While the scientific community is still divided on the genetic component of mental resilience, psychologists have highlighted the importance of training ourselves to be more resilient.

Skip Your course resources

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371