Measuring Resilience in a Vulnerable Population


Science and experience tell us that when people come to CUPS, it is often not for a single need. Issues of poverty are so knotted up, that untangling it is nearly impossible. It is best to cut through the layers and get to the root of the problems. Research tells us that early life experiences shape how the brain is built and affect health and social outcomes later in life. CUPS has created a scale – the CUPS Resiliency Matrix – that puts the two together.

CUPS Resiliency Matrix

Representatives from the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary – who we have a long-term partnership with – helped us run some statistical analysis on the Resiliency Matrix. Over a thousand people have completed the Resiliency Matrix, and we now know that we have a solid foundation to creating a statistically reliable tool.

The results from the data analysis show that statistically speaking, the combination of the questions asked in the Matrix actually measure resilience in our vulnerable population. In fact, the Matrix received a score of 0.812*, which is above the industry standard of 0.8 for a gold standard scale that has been in use for a while. This is particularly impressive of CUPS Resiliency Matrix since there have not been many iterations of the matrix and it is still relatively new.

Although we also found specific areas of the Resiliency Matrix that needs work and there are more statistical tests to be done, this initial outcome is a fantastic first step and quite an achievement for CUPS, especially for all the staff who have been involved in the creation and usage of this tool. The results demonstrate that we are on the right track and that the Resiliency Matrix is built on a solid foundation.

*0.812 measured by Cronbach’s Alpha, to determine the internal consistency – basically, how closely related a set of questions are as a group.

#ShineALight on the Numbers

● 1 in 10 Calgarians live in poverty

● 1 in 4 Canadians lives with diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes

● 1 in 5 Canadians experience mental illness or addiction problems each year

● 4 million people in Canada experience food insecurity

● 1 in 8 Canadian households struggle to put food on the table.

● An estimated 45% of the overall homeless population are individuals living with mental illness

● 28 – 34% of shelter users are Indigenous peoples

● 40% of Indigenous children in Canada live in poverty

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