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Sandy Victims and The Science of Resiliency

(CNN) -- It's been almost a year since Superstorm Sandy slammed the East Coast, but why can some rebound better and faster after adversity than others?
(CNN) -- It's been almost a year since Superstorm Sandy slammed the East Coast, but why can some rebound better and faster after adversity than others?

A lot can happen in one year…In good times, the Madeleine Chocolate Factory churns out 20 million pounds of chocolate, Last year there was none.

The spilt chocolate was the least of the problem…when Superstorm Sandy laid waste to the Rockaways' largest employer, all 450 workers lost their jobs, some lost homes.

The power never even came back on at Allie Hagan's place.

The house in Breezy Point withstood the storm, but it burned in the fire that torched her neighborhood after it seemed the worst had passed. Hagan hopes that in another year she'll be back here, there's a word for people like her…

For more than 20 years Dr. Dennis Charney has been studying the science behind resilience. In his book co-authored with Dr. Steven Southwick , they tackle the question: why is it that some people seem to naturally bend without breaking? Charney says it's partially genetic but we can all learn to adopt traits that would make us more resilient, like optimism and altruism.

Consider the survivors of 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina and those who put others first. Now consider the faces of superstorm sandy…

Knowing people were counting on him gave George Farber the steam to get up and get half of his chocolate factory back open.

For Allie Hagan it was about her neighbors, she helped organize a support group of sorts to rebuild together.

Charney says their studies prove role models and support systems increase the odds of weathering any of life's storms.

A lot happened to Allie Hagan last year, but she is determined to do a lot more next year.

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