Strengths and virtues and the development of resilience: A qualitative study in Suriname during a time of economic crisis

Tommy Hendriks*, Tobi Graafsma, Aabidien Hassankhan, Ernst Bohlmeijer, Joop de Jong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)



Resilience can be described as the capacity to deal with adversity and traumatic events. The current economic situation in Suriname and its social economic consequences may demand a great amount of resilience for people living in Suriname. In this explorative study, we examined the relation between strengths and resilience among the three major ethnic groups in Suriname. 


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants. We sought to gather viewpoints from community representatives, health care professionals and academic scholars about the personal resources used by people in Suriname to help them deal with the consequences of the current socio-economic crisis. 


We identified major five strengths that were associated with resilience: religiousness, hope, harmony, acceptance and perseverance. While these strengths contribute to the development of resilience, they can under certain circumstances have an ambiguous influence. 


Our findings suggest that religiousness is the bedrock strength for the development of resilience in Suriname. We recommend that future positive psychological interventions in non-Western countries integrate positive activities with religious elements into program interventions to achieve a better cultural fit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-188
JournalInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • global mental health
  • positive mental health
  • positive psychology intervention
  • religiousness
  • Resilience
  • strengths


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