Meaning, Spirituality, and Growth

Protective and Resilience Factors in Health and Illness

Authored by: Crystal L. Park

Handbook of Health Psychology

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  April  2012

Print ISBN: 9780805864618
eBook ISBN: 9780203804100
Adobe ISBN: 9781136638299

10.4324/9780203804100.ch18

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Abstract

This chapter delineates pathways through which three protective and resilience-related resources—meaning, spirituality, and stress-related growth—promote health and well-being. Although the emphasis here is on physical health, literature regarding related mental health states is included as appropriate. In this chapter, the resources are each considered in turn, with the discussion reviewing the potential protective effects of their ongoing influence under ordinary circumstances and then reviewing their potential resilience effects on individuals confronting serious illness and other major life stressors. Specifically, this chapter reviews the empirical evidence regarding how these resources may (a) protect individuals’ health by imbuing daily life with direction and positive emotional states and minimizing wear and tear, and (b) promote resilience in stressful situations by buffering stress and its resulting emotional and physiological strain. Suggestions for future research to better understand these important pathways and clinical implications conclude the chapter.

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