Examining characteristics of resilience among university students: An international study
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Attending university is a particularly stressful time due to unique emergent stressors such as changes in environment, loss or diminishment of social support networks, academic pressures, developing peer relationships, and financial management. There is growing recognition that these common stressors may have deleterious effects on the mental health of students. Resilience, a personality characteristic that moderates the negative effects of stress and promotes adaptation, has been associated with increased psychological well-being. Despite a growing body of research on resilience and its clinical significance in preventing mental health problems, relatively little is known about contributing factors for resilience in well-adjusted university students. This current study examined the characteristics of university students reporting high and low resilience for elucidating its clinical implications in preventing mental health problem, primarily focusing on potentially modifiable psychosocial variables. An international sample of 214 university students recruited from Australia, the United States of America, and Hong Kong universities completed measures of resilience, perceived social support, campus connectedness, and psychological distress. Results of a one-way between groups multivariate analysis of variance revealed that perceived social support, campus connectedness, and psychological distress accounted for a significant proportion (36%) of the variance between the high and low resilience groups of university students. University students with low levels of resilience reported significantly lower levels of perceived social support, campus connectedness, and higher levels of psychological distress, in comparison to university students with high levels of resilience. Findings offer important implications for the development of resilience-based interventions among university students.
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