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Investigating state-trait distinction in scales of resilience: Application of generalisability theory

Psychological resilience has been linked to a range of positive psychological outcomes, notably as a protective factor against the harmful effects of stress and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Resilience is also a proven asset for students, workers, and organisations. Despite a general academic consensus of resilience as both dynamic and developable, interventions to develop it have proven largely ineffective. Interventions designed to enhance resilience should be focused on aspects of resilience that are dynamic and thus amenable to change. Accordingly, accurate assessment of resilience, and formation of effective resilience training interventions necessitates clear delineation between stable and dynamic aspects of resilience. Without this distinction, changes in state and trait resilience are likely to be conflated, resulting in imprecise measurement of resilience and inadequate design of interventions. Generalisability Theory (G-theory) has been recommended as the most robust and appropriate statistical model to evaluate state-trait distinction, reliability, and sources of measurement errors. This study investigated five major psychometric scales of resilience and the individual items within these scales to ascertain whether they were reliable measures of either stable or dynamic features of resilience. G-theory methodology was implemented to discriminate between state and trait features of resilience, and to assess the reliability of five scales of resilience measurement over a period of several weeks. Longitudinal measurement design was applied to an adequate sample of 94 participants, assessed at 3 time points with one-week intervals on five resilience scales. All analysed scales demonstrated a high generalisability of scores across occasions and the sample population (G > 0.90), consistent with expectations for a trait measure. Eleven state-items were identified in four resilience scales and consolidated into eight dynamic aspects of resilience. These dynamic aspects of resilience include adaptation to change, perseverance, self-confidence in the face of adversity, self-efficacy, trust in instincts, ability to follow plans, ability to plan, and non-reactivity. These resilience facets are the most modifiable and therefore should be the primary target of interventions to enhance resilience in people. This research established the overall reliability of all five psychometric scales for the assessment of trait resilience. Therefore, these validated scales are useful to assess long-lasting changes in resilience but lack the sensitivity required to detect temporal changes, warranting the development of a state-resilience scale.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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