Correlates of psychological resilience and risk: Prospective associations of self-reported and relative resilience with Connor-Davidson resilience scale, heart rate variability, and mental health indices

Brain Behav. 2021 May;11(5):e02091. doi: 10.1002/brb3.2091. Epub 2021 Feb 27.


Background: There are several ways to determine psychological resilience. However, the correlation between each measurement is not clear. We explored associations of baseline relative "resilience" and risk with later self-reported trait resilience and other biological/mental health indices.

Methods: We utilized baseline and follow-up survey data from 500 participants aged 30-64 in the community cohort. Baseline "relative" resilience was defined by: (a) negative life events (NLEs) in the six months before baseline and (b) depressive symptoms at baseline, yielding four groups of individuals: i) "Unexposed and well," "Vulnerable (depression)," "Reactive (depression)," and "Resilient." "Trait" resilience at follow-up was self-reported using the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC). Associations between relative resilience at baseline, CD-RISC, and heart rate variability (HRV) indices at follow-up were assessed with generalized linear regression models after adjustments. Associations between baseline resilience and subsequent loneliness/depression indices were also evaluated.

Results: Overall trait resilience and its subfactors at follow-up showed strong negative associations with "Reactive" at baseline (adj-β for total CD-RISC score: -11.204 (men), -9.472 (women)). However, resilience at baseline was not associated with later HRV, which was compared with the significant positive association observed between CD-RISC and HRV at the same follow-up time point. The "Reactive" exhibited significantly increased depressive symptoms at follow-up. The overall distribution pattern of CD-RISC subfactors differed by baseline resilience status by sex.

Conclusions: The "relative" resilience based on the absence of depression despite prior adversity seems to be highly related with trait resilience at follow-up but not with HRV. The sub-factor pattern of CD-RISC was different by sex.

Keywords: CD-RISC; depression; heart rate variability; loneliness; longitudinal study; resilience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychometrics
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires