Inspecting the role of positive emotions, adaptive coping, and psychological resources to explain the strengthening of resilience after stress exposure

  • David KANSAKAR

Student thesis: MPhil Thesis (Lingnan)


A few studies have indicated the resilience promoting role of stressors but there is a lack of studies to delineate the underlying mechanisms. To address that gap of knowledge, this study utilizes a combination of broaden and build theory (Fredrickson, 1998, 2001b) and the stress and coping model (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) to delineate the mechanisms underlying strengthening of resilience upon exposure to stressors. The main underpinnings of the theoretical model are two pathways that lead to resilience. Based on the broaden and build theory, the experience of positive emotions will lead to resilience via adaptive coping and psychological resources. The other pathway to resilience is via adaptively coping to stress. A cross sectional online survey was utilised to test the hypothesised model. A total of 506 students filled out the survey, and a total of 276 valid responses were obtained. Results generally supported the overall theoretical model. Concerning individual paths, contrary to the hypothesis, stress was negatively related to resilience. However, adaptive coping and positive emotions alleviated the negative effect of stress on resilience. Further, it was found that positive reappraisal alleviated the negative effect of stress on positive emotions. Also, adaptive coping was negatively related to resilience probably because of the uncontrollable nature of stressors. Experience of positive emotions relate to resilience via adaptive coping and psychological resources, namely self-efficacy and hope. Thus, initial findings suggest that positive emotions relate to resilience via the broaden and the build pathways, separately. Finally, the potential practical implications of a loving kindness meditation for university students. Directions for future research on resilience are discussed.
Date of Award18 Aug 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Lingnan University
SupervisorYue Lok Francis CHEUNG (Supervisor)


  • Resilience
  • Stress
  • Positive emotions
  • Adaptive coping
  • Hope
  • Self-efficacy
  • Optimism

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