First Advisor

Robert Sinclair

Term of Graduation

Summer 2009

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Systems Science: Psychology


Systems Science




Stress tolerance (Psychology) -- Health aspects, Well-being -- Health aspects, Health behavior



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, xii, 245 pages)


In recent decades, as scientific understanding regarding the effects of stress on health and well-being has grown, researchers have shown increasing interest in personal factors such as hardiness that may enhance one's ability to remain resilient under stressful conditions. Hardiness is a complex trait composed of three components (commitment, control, and challenge) that combine synergistically to increase stress tolerance. Over time, a large and complex body of research has accumulated, and while many qualitative reviews have been conducted, quantitative summaries remain rare. This study provides an empirical synthesis of research findings examining the relationships between hardiness and correlates related to physical health (global health perceptions and illness) and well-being across multiple domains (subjective wellbeing, job satisfaction, psychological distress, and burnout).

A series of meta-analyses were conducted to generate weighted mean correlations (estimates of/?) and to test several potential moderators, including generation of hardiness instrument, assessment category for correlates (e.g., cognitive vs. affective well-being), sample characteristics (e.g., students, older adults, military), gender, and publication status. Reporting source (self vs. objective sources) and type of symptoms assessed (medical vs. somatic) were also tested as potential moderators for the physical health correlate. Additional analyses were performed to obtain estimates of/? for each of the hardiness components (commitment, control, and challenge) with health and well-being.

Results suggest hardiness is moderately related to well-being and modestly (but significantly) related to physical health. Weighted mean correlations for the hardiness composite with selected correlates were: SWB = .46, distress = -.43, job satisfaction = .40, burnout = -.46, physical health = .30, and illness/injury = -.24.Results suggest the conceptual model underlying measures used to assess hardiness and other constructs may influence the relationships observed. Further, when components were analyzed, the challenge component consistently showed the weakest relationships and commitment the strongest with all correlates included, although evidence regarding consistency was more mixed. Overall, findings from this meta-analysis help to explain some of the variability in results and suggest several directions for future research.


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