Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Richard P. Schellenberg
The main purpose of this research was to examine relationships between the personality construct of hardiness and specific coping responses used by persons to deal with stressful life events. The following hypotheses were tested: Hypothesis I: There is a positive relationship between hardiness and the following coping mechanisms: perseverance, positive thinking, drawing strength from adversity, self-adaptation, humor, rational action, and restraint. Hypothesis II: There is a negative relationship between hardiness and the following coping mechanisms: fatalism, escapist fantasy, intellectual denial, self-blame, sedation, avoidance, withdrawal, wishful thinking, passivity, indecisiveness, and hostile reaction. Hypothesis III: There is a positive relationship between hardiness and the complexity of coping mechanisms employed, as indicated by the number of different coping mechanisms used by subjects to deal with a significant stressful event. Hypothesis IV: There is a negative relationship between hardiness and the intensity of stress caused by a significant stressful event. The need for this research stems from the lack of studies of the influence of personality factors on coping. Moreover, although conceptual links between hardiness and coping have been proposed, there have been no investigations of hardiness-coping relationships reported in the literature. Testing the above hypotheses involved a sample of 136 community-dwelling men and women aged 18 to 75. These subjects responded to a measure of hardiness (Kobasa & Maddi, 1982), the Coping Mechanism Scale (McCrae, 1984), and a demographic data sheet. The Coping Mechanism Scale consists of the revised Ways of Coping checklist (Folkman and Lazarus, 1985) and the Coping Questionnaire checklist (McCrae, 1984). The use of this scale involved having subjects first describe the most stressful situation they experienced du ring the past year and t hen indicate on the checklists the extent to which they used different coping mechanisms when trying to deal with this situation. The results of the study provided no support for Hypothesis I. Hypothesis II, on the other hand, was strongly supported. There were negative relationships between hardiness and the use of the following coping responses when encountering the stressful situations: fatalism, escapist fantasy, intellectual denial, avoidance, withdrawal, wishful thinking, passivity, indecisiveness and hostile reaction. Most of these mechanisms may be regarded as immature ways of coping. Hence the Hypothesis II findings suggest that persons scoring high on hardiness tend to use such immature mechanisms less than persons scoring low on hardiness. This overall negative relationship was observed to vary according to the type of stressful situation encountered. Hardiness was negatively related to four of these mechanisms when the situation encountered was a challenge and to only two of the mechanisms when the situation encountered was either a threat or a loss. Hypothesis III received little support inasmuch as there was no substantial evidence for a relationship between hardiness and two different indices of coping complexity. Hypothesis IV was not supported in that hardiness was unrelated to the intensity of stress caused by the subjects' stressful situations. However, hardiness was positively associated to how well subjects thought they had handled the situations and negatively associated with the number of illnesses (non-physician attended) that had occurred since the onset of the situations. Finally, supplementary findings of the thesis included the result that hardiness was unrelated to the gender of the subjects (males = 49; females = 87); hardiness was positively related to age, years spent at present type of employment, and to degree of job satisfaction.
Copyright 1986 Karen T. Larson
Larson, Karen T., "Relationship Between Hardiness and Coping" (1986). Master's Theses. 2001.