Resilient Individuals Use Positive Emotions to Bounce Back From Negative Emotional Experiences

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2004 Feb;86(2):320-33. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.86.2.320.

Abstract

Theory indicates that resilient individuals "bounce back" from stressful experiences quickly and effectively. Few studies, however, have provided empirical evidence for this theory. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions (B. L. Fredrickson, 1998, 2001) is used as a framework for understanding psychological resilience. The authors used a multimethod approach in 3 studies to predict that resilient people use positive emotions to rebound from, and find positive meaning in, stressful encounters. Mediational analyses revealed that the experience of positive emotions contributed, in part, to participants' abilities to achieve efficient emotion regulation, demonstrated by accelerated cardiovascular recovery from negative emotional arousal (Studies 1 and 2) and by finding positive meaning in negative circumstances (Study 3). Implications for research on resilience and positive emotions are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Convalescence*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires