In this study, the authors examined perceived benefits and costs of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Mixed accounts of benefits and costs, rather than exclusive accounts of only benefits or costs, were proposed to be characterized by nondefensiveness and enduring changes in psychosocial resources. Participants were 70 SARS recoverers, 59 family members of SARS recoverers, and 172 healthy adults residing in Hong Kong--a SARS-affected region. Results show that participants giving an exclusive account of benefits had higher levels of defensiveness than those giving a mixed account and those giving an exclusive account of costs. Only the perceived impact of benefits given in mixed accounts were related to future accruements in personal and social resources over an 18-month period.
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