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Resilience: Chapter III (Appraisal)

May 16

Good day to you all! Especially to those who have been “liking” Re-sergeance. I encourage you to submit your opinion or something on a related topic. It matters not whether you are a member of the police community. The perspective of those served is welcome. As promised in the last submission, a brief look at “the appraisal process” is presented here. I would like you to be exposed to what seems, without a lot of argument, the key to much of human behaviour. The process is most certainly at the centre of, and can moderate, your response to stressors of all types including traumatic.

To begin it is not news that our perception and appraisal processes can act as moderating factors with “PTSD” and other comorbid (occurring with) psychological conditions. There is a vast literature on coping that supports the idea that “problem centred” versus “emotional” coping is more effective in dealing with traumatic stress. That means that an event will be more stressful if a person believes that the stress of the situation exceeds his/her coping capabilities. The perception of an overwhelming stressor can lead to self perceptions of inadequacy, and to a poor outcome.

Looking back at the literature on resilience in children, the data suggests several things; i) effective parenting can increase self efficacy; ii) self esteem and self confidence seem to work as moderators of traumatic exposure and serve as shields; iii) self efficacy grows stronger as more and more stressful situations are mastered; iv) healthy attachment results in an increase in potential for mastering stressful experiences and increasing autonomy; v) intelligent, socially adept children tend to be more resilient and able to pick up danger cues more quickly than those intellectually challenged; as they pick up danger cues more quickly, assistance from others is sought which may serve to block the onset of the acute stress disorder phenomenon.

The literature is clear that “internal locus of control” (akin to independence) is related to effective coping when it comes to posttraumatic stress (and psychopathology in general). Those of us with an internal locus of control seem to manifest less posttraumatic stress and to have a healthier overall adjustment than those of us with an “external locus of control” (akin to dependence).

So there it is……it seems that the father of stress research, Hans Selye, was correct when he said, “Adopting the right attitude can turn a negative stress into a positive one”. However being able to adopt the right attitude seems related to a number of variables; including, self esteem, self confidence, intelligence, experience with traumatic events, healthy attachments and good parenting.

Next time I’d like to take a look at the study of resilience post-1980 when “PTSD” was recognized (under military pressure) as a diagnostic entity by the American Psychiatric Association. This should be of interest to us as this is when the research focus began to shift from the study of traditional social-psychological and developmental variables of trauma survivors to pre and post trauma areas of adaptive competence; across a variety of trauma populations, including those who do and do not develop “PTSD”.

Here is something for you to cogitate upon until we meet again……….”MOST HUMAN MISERY IS A RESULT OF PEOPLE REFUSING TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN LIVES.”

Dr. Mike Webster
Registered Psychologist

  1. It seems that reality is an experience created by the laws of science and left to be interpreted by a parade of pompous, self absorbed fools.

    — Bozo the Clown

  2. Dear “Unsolved”, I’ll save this one until it fits better. Most readers won’t make a connection with the current post.

    Mike W.


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