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The Relationship between Hardiness, Stress and Psychosomatic Reaction

Author: LuGuoHua
Tutor: LiangBaoYong
School: Tianjin Normal University
Course: Applied Psychology
Keywords: hardiness stress cope strategy social support psychosomatic reaction
CLC: B848
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2008
Downloads: 1131
Quote: 3
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Hardiness is described as a kind of personality which could help the individuals to cope with the stress and protect the physical and mental health. At abroad, the research of hardiness is very fruitful in the field of personality and healthy psychology, but the study conclusions of the relationship among hardiness, stress and health and the mechanisms of their interactions were not consistent, and need further studies. In addition, research on hardiness is just in its starting stage in China. So, we need to explore the structure and intension of hardiness under Chinese cultural background, and do some quantitative research to find interpretations on the correlation among hardiness, stress and physical and mental health.1430 college students participanted the present study. The questionnaires, interview and experiments were used to explore the relationship between hardiness, stress and psychosomatic reaction. Four studies are conducted in this paper:The first part is to develop a Hardiness Scale. We developed our Hardiness Scale on the basis of combination of relevant theories on hardiness according to the understanding of hardiness under Chinese cultural background. We adopted the method of interview and questionnaire in this part.In the second part, the correlation research among hardiness, stress and psychological symptoms is conducted. We collected data with university students by using several questionnaires to assess potential moderating effects of hardiness on stress and psychological symptoms.In the third part of our research, we collected data with university students by using questionnaires. We verified the mediating effect of coping style and social support on hardiness and psychological symptoms by analyzing structure equation models.In the last part, we did an experiment of the regulation function of hardiness on stress. We evoked participants’ stress reactions using laboratory stressor to test the regulation function of hardiness on psychological and physiological reaction under stress state.What we have found were as follows:(1) Hardiness Scale is formed of four dimensions like toughness, control, commitment and challenge, and 27 items are included altogether. The scale was found to have acceptable reliability and validity, and can be used to measure hardiness. The structure of hardiness of Chinese people is different from the westerners’, and the dimension of toughness is also an important factor to reflect Chinese hardiness.(2) Stress state had significant predictability on psychological symptoms, and there was a positive correlation between them. Hardiness had negative predictability on psychological symptoms, the higher the level of hardiness was, and the less severe the symptom of depression was. Hardiness was a moderator between stress and psychological symptoms, which can relieve adverse effects induced by stress.(3) Hardiness had positive predictability on problem-focused coping strategies, subjective social support and social support utilization, had negative predictability on emotion-focused coping strategies. Emotion-focused coping strategy was a partial mediator between hardiness and psychological symptoms. Subjective social support and social support utilization were partial mediators between hardiness and psychological symptoms.(4) Under laboratory stress conditions, mental reactions of individuals with lower level of hardiness was significantly higher than those with higher level of hardiness. There was an interaction between hardiness and different laboratory periods. The changes of mental reaction of individuals with lower level of hardiness were significantly higher than those with higher level of hardiness in the mental arithmetic task. There was also an interaction between hardiness and sex. The changes of mental reactions of the males was significantly higher than that of the female with lower level of hardiness, and there was no difference between male and female with higher level of hardiness.The results above suggest that hardiness could not only ease individual’s mental symptoms, but also release the negative psychological and physiological reaction caused by stress. People with higher level of hardiness used problem-focused coping strategies more often, and using emotion-focused coping strategies would cause more psychological distress to individuals with lower level of hardiness. People with higher level of hardiness would feel and utilize social support more efficiently, and could keep a good psychological and physiological state from overcoming diffculties using these external validity mental resourses. Consequently, hardiness is a positive personality resourse which could help individuals to cope with the stress and protect physical and mental health.

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