What does national resilience mean in a democracy? Evidence from the United States and Israel

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Given various challenges to national security in democracies, such as terrorism and political violence, a growing need for reconceptualization of the term "resilience" emerges. The interface between national security and resilience is rooted in individuals' perceptions and attitudes toward institutions and leadership. Therefore, in this article, we suggest that political-psychological features form the basis of citizens' perceived definitions of national resilience. By comparing national resilience definitions composed by citizens of two democratic countries facing national threats of war and terrorism, the United States and Israel, we found that perceived threats, optimism, and public attitudes such as patriotism and trust in governmental institutions, are the most frequent components of the perceived national resilience. On the basis of these results, a reconceptualization of the term "national resilience" is presented. This can lead to validation of how resilience is measured and provide grounds for further examination of this concept in other democratic countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-520
Number of pages17
JournalArmed Forces and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Israel
  • National resilience
  • Perceived threat
  • Terrorism
  • Terrorism and political violence
  • US

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Safety Research


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