Saturday, May 28, 2016

Natural resilience to major life stressors is not as common as thought

Natural resilience to major life stressors is not as common as thought
When someone goes through a rough period in their life, say a divorce or losing their job, the common thought has been that this is a test of the person's natural resilience or ability to bounce back. "Give the person time to heal" has been the common mantra. This oftentimes meant that when these people struggled they would be left to deal with their situation largely on their own.

Most psychological studies have supported the idea of a person's innate resilience to the struggles of life. Prior research reinforced the idea that humans by and large are naturally resilient to major events that result in qualitative shifts in their life circumstances. As a result, people stay on an even keel even through trying times.

But now, new research from Arizona State University finds that natural resilience may not be as common as once thought and that when confronted with a major life-altering event many people can struggle considerably and for longer periods of time. The new research questions prior claims that resilience is the "usual" response to major life stressors by looking at longitudinal data in a more nuanced way and making less generalization about the human response to such dramatic events.


"We show that contrary to an extensive body of research, when individuals are confronted with major life stressors, such as spousal loss, divorce or unemployment, they are likely to show substantial declines in well-being and these declines can linger for several years," said Frank Infurna, an ASU assistant professor of psychology and co-author of the new study.


The findings have implications not just for science but for public policy. According to Infurna, sweeping scientific claims that "most people are resilient" carry dangers of blaming the victims (those who do not rebound immediately), and more seriously, suggest that external interventions are not necessary to help people hit by traumatic events.

"Previously it was thought such interventions may not be a good utilization of resources or could be detrimental to the person," he added. "But based on our findings, we may need to rethink that and to think after the event: What are the best ways that we can help individuals to move forward?"

No comments:

Post a Comment