Original Research

High Adversity Resilience Training (HART): Development for emergency responders and defence

Jurie G. Rossouw, Jörgen Herlofson, Dirk J. Geldenhuys, Chelsea L. Erieau
Journal of Applied Neurosciences | Vol 3, No 1 | a8 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jan.v3i1.8 | © 2024 Jurie G. Rossouw, Jörgen Herlofson, Dirk J. Geldenhuys, Chelsea L. Erieau | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 June 2023 | Published: 22 March 2024

About the author(s)

Jurie G. Rossouw, Hello Driven Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia
Jörgen Herlofson, Empatica AB, Uppsala, Sweden
Dirk J. Geldenhuys, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Chelsea L. Erieau, Unaffiliated, Sydney, Australia


Orientation: High adversity occupations (HAOs) such as first responders, healthcare workers, and military personnel are subject to extreme exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs), thus increasing their risk of mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There is a recognised gap in providing comprehensive, proactive resilience training to mitigate these risks effectively.

Research purpose: This study aimed to introduce the High Adversity Resilience Training (HART) programme, designed to equip HAOs with resilience tools through a holistic, preventive approach based on the Predictive 6-Factor Resilience (PR6) model.

Motivation for the study: Existing programmes for HAOs often lack comprehensive and proactive approaches. The HART programme aims to fill this gap, offering a systemic and evidence-based resilience training framework.

Research approach/design and method: The study employs a literature review to identify HAO challenges and the need for preventative resilience programmes, leading to the development of the HART programme.

Main findings: The HART programme provides a comprehensive approach for resilience training that addresses both individual skills and supportive organisational environments, crucial for mitigating adversity in HAOs.

Implications for practice: The findings were incorporated into the HART programme, which includes a comprehensive awareness protocol involving leadership, management, workers, family members, and internal champions. This helps to overcome previous shortcomings and reduce risk for HAO workers.

Contribution/value-add: By integrating neurobiological insights with resilience training, the HART programme presents a novel approach to enhancing resilience in HAOs. This expands on existing theories of occupational stress and resilience, providing a comprehensive model adaptable across various high-adversity settings.



resilience; post-traumatic growth; first responders; care providers; mental wellness; emergency responders; strength-based

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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