Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Self-Esteem and Well-Being as the Major Indicators of Resilience to Stress

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Self-Esteem and Well-Being as the Major Indicators of Resilience to Stress

Article excerpt

Resilience means maintaining flexibility and balance in life while dealing with stressful circumstances and traumatic events. The key is not to avoid stress altogether, but to manage the stress in the life in such a way by avoiding the negative consequences of stress. The ability to confront and adapt to stress and adversity is now commonly referred to as resilience (Block & Kreman, 1996).

Resilient people are those who are characterized as experiencing less enduring grief symptoms after the loss of a loved one .They are less likely to perceive uncertainty , more likely to make positive meaning of adversity, and more efficient in their learning. Resilient person has an internal locus of control, healthy self-esteem, and has developed adaptive coping skills. Researchers have discovered that the ability to cope or deal with stress is linked to specific differences in the way brain cells communicate with each other (Bonano et al., 2002).

Resilience depends upon personality, childhood and experiences etc. Some people are strong willed and simply refuse to be a victim; this has a lot to do with self-confidence or self-esteem. One trait of personality directly related to resilience is hardiness; the theory behind this is that people who have more attributes relating to hardiness are better equipped to deal with life's challenges. After controlling other predictors such as subjective well-being, researchers found that resilient individuals also scored higher on indexes of global adjustment, work and social adjustment and psychological and physical health adjustment (Klohnen, 1996).

A study in which 297 adolescents were classified into 3 groups created from crossing scores of depressive symptoms and frequency of daily hassles viz: well-adjusted, resilient and vulnerable, a discriminate function analysis was performed to investigate the group differences on self-esteem, social support, different coping strategies and different aspects of social life. The analysis revealed that self-esteem, problem solving, coping strategies helped to discriminate groups. Well adjusted adolescents had higher self-esteem to that of other two groups. In addition, resilient adolescents had higher self-esteem than vulnerable adolescents (Mischelle & Marc, 1999).

Self-esteem is the dynamic aspect of self-image, through which the individual is constantly evaluating himself in relation to the society. It is the most important index of resilience to stress. Self-esteem is a significant factor in shaping and influencing behavior pattem and experiences (Allport, 1937).

High self-esteem means having the skills or attributes to recover quickly from mental, physical or emotional crisis; people having high self-esteem have a natural ability to bounce back from adverse circumstances, repair negative moods and psychopathology which predicts and leads to high resilience to stress. Self esteem has two inter-related aspects: it entails a sense of personal efficiency and a sense of personal worth. It is the integrated sum of self-confidence and self-respect. It is the conviction that one is competent and worthy of living (Tanya & Dennis, 2008).

There are reasons for expecting that both high and low self-esteem individuals would evaluate their own performance differently from that of others. High self-esteem subjects have been described as defensive persons who use repressive processes to avoid the recognition of negative aspect in them. People with low self-esteem might be expected to assess their own performance less favorable than that of others even when it is objectively comparable (Cohen, 1959).

An impressive number of studies have found a positive correlation between high self-esteem and psychological resilience, with a high proportion of persons with low self-esteem showing signs of psychological maladjustment. Although many of these studies operationally defined self-esteem in terms of a discrepancy between real and ideal self; a variety of indexes have been employed to measure adjustment (Byrne, 1974). …

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