Date of Conferral

2003

Date of Award

2004

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Augustin Baron

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to clarify the optimal levels of optimism, perceived locus of control, hope, and degree of adversity experienced in life, in the development and maintenance of psychological resilience. A sample of 328 male and female students from Walden University and Washington State University completed either online or paper versions of a questionnaire consisting of the Life Orientation Test-Revised, Internal-External Locus of Control Scale, HOPE Scale , and the Life Experiences Scale . A series of bivariate correlation and multiple regression analyses tested the relationships between and among the five variables. As predicted, the bivariate analyses produced significant correlations between each of the variables. Contrary to predictions, negative life experience, rather than positive life experience, was predictive of stronger correlations between optimism and hope, optimism and control, and hope and control. The correlation between hope and control varied under differing levels of positive and negative life experience such that both high negative and high positive life experience resulted in the lowest correlation, and intermediate levels (low negative and low positive) resulted in the highest correlation. Hope itself was found not to be significantly correlated with either positive or negative life experience. Stepwise multiple regression analyses explored the relative influence of positive and negative life experience, age, gender and number of life experiences on optimism, hope and perceived locus of control. The analyses revealed unexpectedly strong loadings of age and gender in the predictions of both control and optimism. Suggested implications of the research included clinical approaches to trauma recovery, educational and parental methods to foster development of resilience in children, and military training to proactively prepare for the rigors of combat.

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