Clinical Associate Professor, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology
& Adjunct Assistant Professor
Institution: Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY)
Promoting Academic Success through Resilience and Hardiness
There is no doubt that life itself is ever-changing. In fact, we are changing from the minute we are conceived. Some of this is part of our natural maturation process – or the unfolding of developmental changes across our lifespan. Life events and situations can also force us to change and, at times, can be stressful. Researchers have identified characteristics related to our personality that indicate how well we adapt – or don’t – to these changes. Studies on resiliency and hardiness (Bonnano, 2004; Maddi, 2002) have shown that those individuals high in resilience or hardiness are better equipped to handle this stress. Furthermore, some individuals have been shown to thrive under stressful circumstances.
College life includes academic, financial, and social demands which can place excessive stress on students. Some students may lack the coping or problem solving skills necessary to meet these new demands. Students who have a hard time coping may be at risk for academic failure and drop-out. According to Fentress & Collopy (2011), one contributing factor can be a low academic self-efficacy (i.e., their perceptions of their own academic ability). They found that higher dropout rates of first generation college students may be linked to low academic self-efficacy, whereas high self-efficacy may be linked to high retention and resiliency. Maddi (2002) also found that academic success was related to a construct he called hardiness.