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How we cope with change depends on our psychological hardiness (similar to resilience) is a personality style proposed by psychologists Suzanne Kobasa and Salvatore Maddi and comprises three attitudes – the three Cs: commitment, control, and challenge. Individuals ‘high in hardiness’ are more likely to put stressful events into perspective and tend to perceive them less of a threat and more of a challenge and opportunities for personal development. As a consequence stressful events are likely to impact negatively on a person’s health. The buffering effect of psychological hardiness on health and well-being has been well researched and has been demonstrated in a wide variety of occupational groups, from business executives to students including people working in highly stressful conditions such as fire-fighters and people in the military.

According to Maddi, taken together the three components of psychological hardiness provide the motivation and confidence to look to the future to find meaning in life rather repeating the past. To choose the unfamiliar future over the familiar past also requires courage. Adopting the three attitudes of hardiness has been shown in research to enhance performance and health even in the face of stressful life changes.


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