Building resilience through exposure to stressors

The effects of challenges versus hindrances

Monique F. Crane*, Ben J. Searle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the potential for certain types of stressors to build resilience in the occupational setting. Using the challenge- hindrance stressor framework (Cavanaugh, Boswell, Roehling, & Boudreau, 2000), we propose that challenge stressors have the potential to promote the capacity for resilience, whereas hindrance stressors experienced in the workplace erode resilient functioning. Employing a 2-wave longitudinal design we examined the effects of challenge and hindrance stressors on psychological resilience and strain 3 months later. Two-hundred and 8 working adults (48.1% female) participated in both surveys. Findings indicated that Time 1 challenge stressors had a significant effect on psychological resilience 3 months later (Time 2). In contrast, Time 1 hindrance stressors positively predicted Time 2 strain and negatively predicted psychological resilience. Moreover, resilience mediated the relationship between Time 1 stressors and Time 2 strain. These results demonstrate the potential positive and negative impacts of workplace stressor types on psychological resilience, and provide an exploration of a mechanism through which challenge and hindrance stressors influence well-being. This analysis also investigated the role of resilience in moderating the relationship between hindrances and strain. Some evidence emerged for the moderating role of resilience in the hindrance-strain relationship. The implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-479
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Occupational Health Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • resilience
  • occupational
  • challenge– hindrance
  • strain
  • job stressors

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