An Exploratory Study on Psychological Body Armor: Factors Supporting Reactive and Proactive Pathways to Resilience

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Psychological body armor, Resilience, Proactive resilience, Reactive resilience


Using Everly’s Psychological Body Armor (PBA) as a theoretical framework, this exploratory study examined the relationship between PBA’s two unique interacting human protective pathways (proactive and reactive resilience). Participants from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform (N = 202) completed a demographic questionnaire and the 10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale for global resilience capacity. We measured the proactive resilience pathway with the 9-item Self-Acceptance and 9-item Purpose in Life subscales from the Scale of Psychological Well-Being (PSW), the 4-item Subjective Happiness Scale, and a 1-item Spirituality scale. We assessed reactive resilience with the 9-item Relationships with Others subscale from the PSW, a 2-item Perceived Stress Scale, the 18-item Brief Symptom Inventory, a 1-item sleep scale, a 1-item fitness scale, and a 3-item nutrition scale. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that for the proactive pathway, self-acceptance and subjective happiness were significant unique predictors of resilience capacity, while positive relationships with others, psychological distress, and physical fitness activity were significant unique predictors for the reactive pathway. We conducted a set-theoretic Qualitative Comparative Analysis in order to identify paths to resilience using a method that allowed for equifinality. We found paths to proactive resilience via strong self-acceptance and strong happiness, as well as via low self-acceptance, strong purpose in life, and low happiness. We found a path to reactive resilience via strong sleep quality, in addition to a path via strong personal relationships with others and low psychological distress. These two analytic approaches converge on a set of targets for building resilience in first responders.

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Crisis, Stress, and Human Resilience: An International Journal





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Behavioral Sciences