Management Faculty Publications and Presentations

A challenge or a hindrance? Understanding the effects of stressors and thriving on life satisfaction

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In this research, we develop a theoretical model that links a 2-dimensional model of stressors to individual thriving, resilience, and life satisfaction to examine the possibility that some stressors may actually be beneficial. We test this model across a 10-week period with 189 university students. Our findings indicate that while hindrance stressors diminish appraisals of life satisfaction, challenge stressors promote life satisfaction. Additionally, we find that thriving mediates the relationships between stressors and life satisfaction. A further moderated mediation examination demonstrates how resilience influences thriving as an intervening mechanism by buffering the negative indirect effects in the hindrance stressor–life satisfaction relationship. Our results provide initial support for understanding the psychological mechanisms that explain the differential relationships between stressors and life satisfaction. Although stressful experiences can never be fully avoided, our results provide some hope that resilient individuals can still thrive in stressful environments that promote personal challenges and achievement.


© 2015 American Psychological Association

Publication Title

International Journal of Stress Management