Higher-Order Model of Resilience in the Canadian Forces

Lee, Jennifer E. C.; Sudom, Kerry A.; McCreary, Donald R.
July 2011
Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science;Jul2011, Vol. 43 Issue 3, p222
Academic Journal
Psychological resilience is an important construct for those who work in high-stress, potentially traumatic occupations. Using data collected as part of the Canadian Forces (CF) Recruit Health Questionnaire (RHQ), structural equation modelling analyses were performed to test the fit of a model of resilience comprised of several intrapersonal resilience factors (i.e., Big Five personality traits, dispositional affect, dispositional optimism, hardiness, mastery, self-esteem) and one interpersonal resilience factor (i.e., social support). An initial model showed that all lower-order intrapersonal variables loaded significantly onto a higher-order intrapersonal resilience latent factor, and that this factor was significantly correlated with social support. However, the strong intercorrelations between a few of the intrapersonal variables pointed to some redundancy. Based on empirical data and on a conceptual analysis, an alternative, more parsimonious model of resilience was developed. This model consisted of the Big Five personality traits, positive affect, and mastery as lower-order factors of dispositional resilience, which was hypothesised to be correlated with social support. This analysis is an important first step to developing an approach to conceptualise and measure resilience. One benefit of being able to assess resilience is that doing so can inform the development of programs to enhance mental health, readiness and recovery. However, more research is needed to understand the processes through which these psychological factors influence occupational as well as health outcomes before relevant policies may be developed.


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