George Bonanno is a pioneering researcher in the science of bereavement and loss. He is a professor of clinical psychology at the Teacher’s College of Columbia University, and under his direction, the Loss, Trauma and Emotion Lab is investigating how human beings cope with extreme adversity. He is particularly interested in resilience—the psychological quality that helps people rebound after disasters, personal loss, traumatic injury, terrorist attacks or other overwhelmingly stressful events. Bonanno has documented resilience among survivors of the civil war in Bosnia, the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong and the September 11 World Trade Center attacks. He is currently focused on identifying the psychological traits and other factors that predict resilience across a range of different kinds of adversity.
Bonanno received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1991 and has been a visiting professor at the University of Hong Kong and at Cattolica Università in Milano, Italy. He co-edited the book Emotion: Current Issues and Future Directions, and his popular account of his research, The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Can Tell Us about Life after Loss, came out in 2009.