Research finds resilience critical for communication practitioners in regional Australia

3 JULY 2019

Research finds resilience critical for communication practitioners in regional Australia

New research conducted by Charles Sturt University explores the importance of resilience for health, work, and sustaining performance under pressure, for communication practitioners working in regional Australia.

  • Working in communication and media in regional areas is a training ground in resilience
  • A positive attitude and determination is likely to lead to a more productive and successful communications career
  • Understanding resilience in professions supports regional Australia’s growth and prosperity

New research conducted by Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) has found that resilience is critical for protecting psychological health and wellbeing, career longevity, and community engagement for communication professionals working in regional Australia.

The study titled ‘The lived experience of resilience in public relations practice’, conducted by Dr Sharon Schoenmaker and Ms Victoria Erskine in the Charles Sturt School of Communication and Creative Industries in Bathurst, explored the importance of resilience for health, work, and sustaining performance under pressure, for communication practitioners working in regional Australia.

Professional communicators working across local, state and federal government agencies, local media outlets, small businesses, and marketing consultancies participated in the study.

The research showed communication practitioners who demonstrated greater flexibility in responding to change, who responded positively to constructive criticism, and had a positive attitude and determination to persevere in the face of challenges, are both more productive and likely to have a more successful and positive career.

Dr Schoenmaker said the research confirms that protecting psychological wellbeing is important for both an individuals’ health as well as their performance in the workplace.

“This study shows a combination of personal and professional tools, as well as life experiences, have an influence on the resilience levels of communication professionals,” Dr Schoenmaker said.

“As communication professionals are vital to community engagement, and knowing that resilience protects wellbeing and supports effective behaviour, how these professionals develop resilience becomes an important question. 

“Personal tools the practitioners we surveyed used to sustain their resilience included strong relationships, self-nurture practices such as a healthy lifestyle and mindfulness practices, maintaining perspective, taking decisive action, and accepting change.” 

Ms Erskine said regional practitioners appear to be more resilient due to their embeddedness in regional issues and communities where they are often intimately connected to the issue professionally and personally. 

“Professional tools such as highly developed communication skills, the ability to manage projects, listen actively, and build mutually beneficial relationships were also important for behaving resiliently in the workplace,” Ms Erskine said.

“It is important to recognise that the type and nature of the challenge an individual faces determines whether someone can behave resiliently or not.

“The adversity needs to be challenging, but not so much that the person feels unable to cope with it.”

Dr Schoenmaker and Ms Erskine will present the findings of this research at the Australian New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) conference in Canberra from Tuesday 2 to Friday 5 July, hosted by the University of Canberra.

The study ‘The lived experience of resilience in public relations practice’ is in press for publication later in 2019.


Media contact:

Rebecca Tomkins, 0457 952 316


Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Dr Sharon Schoenmaker or Ms Victoria Erskine, contact Rebecca Tomkins at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0457 952 316 or via news@csu.edu.au

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