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J Res Pers. 2008 Aug 1;42(4):1031-1046.

Adapting to life's slings and arrows: Individual differences in resilience when recovering from an anticipated threat.

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  • 1Stanford University.


Following highly negative events, people are deemed resilient if they maintain psychological stability and experience fewer mental health problems. The current research investigated how trait resilience (Block & Kremen, 1996, ER89) influences recovery from anticipated threats. Participants viewed cues ('aversive', 'threat', 'safety') that signified the likelihood of an upcoming picture (100% aversive, 50/50 aversive/neutral, or 100% neutral; respectively), and provided continuous affective ratings during the cue, picture, and after picture offset (recovery period). Participants high in trait resilience (HighR) exhibited more complete affective recovery (compared to LowR) after viewing a neutral picture that could have been aversive. Although other personality traits previously associated with resilience (i.e., optimism, extraversion, neuroticism) predicted affective responses during various portions of the task, none mediated the influence of trait resilience on affective recovery.

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