Aims: Contemporary health models recognise potential of resilience resources and resilient response to stress for disease prevention and health interventions. However, resilience is under-researched in context of the laboratory-stress paradigm. In particular, there are gaps in our knowledge of the role that resilience resources play in cardiovascular recovery from stress.
Therefore, this study’s main aim was to predict associations between self-reported resilience resources and cardiovascular recovery from acute stressors in a laboratory. Second aim was to investigate associations between self-reported resilience resources.
Methods: A hundred healthy adults completed a multi-instrument questionnaire and took part in a standardised laboratory-stress paradigm, including cognitive and social-evaluative challenges. Six measures of cardiovascular function were obtained, at 3-minute intervals, including prior to and after the completion of the stressor. Change scores for heart rate and blood pressure were used as an index of cardiovascular reactivity to, and recovery from the stressor.
Results: Regression analysis showed that optimism and avoidance coping were the significant and strong predictors of self-reported resilience. In turn, resilience, avoidance coping and positive affect were significant and strong predictors of diastolic blood pressure (DBP) recovery.
Conclusions: The current study demonstrates the variance in contribution of dimensions of resilience and positive psychological wellbeing to cardiovascular recovery from stress. The results are discussed in relation to models of health and potential for psychologically based health interventions.