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Soc Sci Med. 1985;21(4):397-406.

Potency: a stress-buffering link in the coping-stress-disease relationship.


A study carried out among a representative sample of Israeli adults was aimed at elucidating the factors which facilitate maintaining an individual's emotional homeostasis despite occasional failures in initially coping with stressors due to resource inadequacy. A feeling of potency, comprising confidence both in one's own capacities and in society which is perceived as basically ordered, predictable and meaningful, has been suggested as a stress-buffering intervening mechanism in the coping-stress-disease relationship. Data support the hypothesis that potency fulfils a tension-bounding function by weakening the association among the components of the coping-stress-health relationship, thus moderating the deleterious effect of occasional failures in coping on homeostasis and health. Data further alluded to potency being enhanced both by accumulation of successful coping experiences, and by social support.

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