Leveraging the experience of stressors: the role of adaptive systematic self-reflection

Monique F. Crane*, Maria Kangas, Eyal Karin, Ben Searle, Diana Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)
    24 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: To date, little attention has been paid to the processes by which resilience is developed, and how the likelihood of a resilient outcome may be enhanced over the life course. Objective: This study investigates the potential for adaptive systematic self-reflection to support the development of situation resilience via stressor exposure. Design: An experimental randomized controlled design was conducted. Participants were randomly assigned to either the Systematic Self-reflection intervention (n = 61) or disengagement control group (n = 60). Method: Participants were 121 university students (female= 68%) ranging in age from 18 to 56 years. Participants experienced two psychosocial stressors and completed a baseline survey, a second survey occurred post-stressor 1, and a third post-stressor 2. Salivary cortisol was taken pre stressor 2, immediately post stressor 2, and at 10 min intervals until 30 min. Results: The intervention was associated with greater reductions in negative affect, than a disengagement control task, and prevented the continued reduction in positive affect observed in the disengagement control condition. Moreover, the intervention promoted a steeper cortisol recovery trajectory, than the control condition for those with higher pre-stressor cortisol. Conclusions: This study provides further evidence that certain self-reflective practices may be involved in the development of resilience from stressor exposure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)231-247
    Number of pages17
    JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • resilience
    • affect
    • wellbeing
    • randomized controlled trial
    • salivary cortisol


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