Reflections on psychological resilience: a comparison of three conceptually different operationalizations in predicting mental health

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Background: Psychological resilience refers to the ability to maintain mental health or recover quickly after stress. Despite the popularity of resilience research, there is no consensus understanding or operationalization of resilience.

Objective: We plan to compare three indicators of resilience that each involve a different operationalization of the construct: a) General resilience or one's self-reported general ability to overcome adversities; b) Daily resilience as momentarily experienced ability to overcome adversities; and c) Recovery speed evident in the pattern of negative affect recovery after small adversities in daily life. These three indicators are constructed per person to investigate their cross-sectional associations, stability over time, and predictive validity regarding mental health.

Methods: Data will be derived from the prospective MIRORR study that comprises 96 individuals at different levels of psychosis risk and contains both single-time assessed questionnaires and 90-days intensive longitudinal data collection at baseline (T0) and three yearly follow-up waves (T1-T3). General resilience is assessed using the Brief Resilience Scale (BRS) at baseline. Daily resilience is measured by averaging daily resilience scores across 90 days. For recovery speed, vector-autoregressive models with consecutive impulse response simulations will be applied to diary data on negative affect and daily stressors to calculate pattern of affect recovery. These indicators will be correlated concurrently (at T0) to assess their overlap and prospectively (between T0 and T1) to estimate their stability. Their predictive potential will be assessed by regression analysis with mental health (SCL-90) as an outcome, resilience indicators as predictors, and stressful life events as a moderator.

Conclusion: The comparison of different conceptualizations of psychological resilience can increase our understanding of its multifaceted nature and, in future, help improve diagnostic, prevention and intervention strategies aimed at increasing psychological resilience.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1956802
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Issue number1
Early online date24-Sep-2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Psychological resilience
  • stress
  • recovery speed
  • daily resilience
  • mental health
  • RISK

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