Hardiness as a Mediator of the Effect of Stress
The Construct of Hardiness has received a lot of attention by individuals studying the relationship between stress and health. Numerous studies have shown that individuals high in hardiness respond better to stress than individuals low in hardiness. There are at least 3 possible explanations:
Appraisal of Stress: Appraisal is an important part of the stress process. Individuals who perceive stress more positively are generally less susceptible to the effects of stress. Hardy indivuals typically perceive situations as a challenge rather than a threat.
Coping Style: Coping style is an important determinant of an individuals reaction to stress. In general, active coping techniques (planning, information seeking) are more effective than more passive techniques (denial, wishful thinking). Studies have found Hardy individuals more likely to use active strategies and less likely to use passive ones.
Responsiveness to Stress: The way a person responds physiologically to stress can impact the effect it has on health. Studies have demonstrated that Hardy individuals had lower responses to an evaluative threats or challenging tasks. Thus, a Hardy individual gets less anxious or aroused from typically stressful conditions.
Psychologists have proposed a construct called Hardiness that describes a theoretical “stress resistant” personality. People that are Hardy are committed to their life, take control over their situation and see stressors as challenges to overcome rather than opportunities for failure. The possible ways in which Hardiness can mediate the response to stress are shown.
Allred, K.D., and Smith, T.W. (1989). The hardy personality: Cognitive and physiological responses to an evaluative threat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 257-266.
Weibe, D.J. (1991). Hardiness and stress moderation: A test of proposed mechanisms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 89-99.