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SpringerBriefs in Psychology

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Salvatore R. Maddi

Hardiness
Turning Stressful Circumstances
into Resilient Growth

13

Salvatore R. Maddi
Department of Psychology
and Social Behaviour
University of California
Irvine, CA
USA

ISSN 2192-8363
ISBN 978-94-007-5221-4
DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-5222-1

ISSN 2192-8371 (electronic)


ISBN 978-94-007-5222-1 (eBook)

Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg New York London


Library of Congress Control Number: 2012946181
The Author(s) 2013
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This book is dedicated to Deborah M.


Khoshaba, my beloved wife and esteemed
colleague, without whom things would be
very hard for me

Preface

My parents were poor immigrants from Sicily, who came to the United States
for freedom and opportunity shortly after World War I. They worked at odd jobs,
and had four children. As their only son, I was regarded by them as the hope of
the family. They encouraged me to try hard to get an education, and to find some
career that was honorable. In contrast to the other children of immigrants in my
classes, I immersed myself in learning and growing thereby. So, my teachers also
saw me as the hope of my family, and supported my efforts, encouraging me to
continue schooling. With the help of scholarships, I completed my BA and MA
at Brooklyn College, in New York, and my Ph.D. at Harvard, in Cambridge. Stepby-step, I found myself pursuing an academic career, first at the University of
Chicago, and then at the University of California, Irvine.

vii

Contents

1 The Importance of Resiliency in Daily Living. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Naturally Stressful Nature of the Personal Development
Process. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
We Live in the Centuries of Change. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Ongoing Need for Thriving Under Stress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2 Personal Hardiness as the Basis for Resilience. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Hardiness as the Pathway to Resilience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Longitudinal Study of Stress at Illinois Bell Telephone . . . . . . . . . . .
Hardiness Helps Turn Stresses into Growth Opportunities. . . . . . . . . . . . .
References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

7
8
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3 Thirty Years of Hardiness Validational Research and Practice. . . . . .


Hardiness Emerges as a Distinctive Pattern of Attitudes
and Strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Hardiness Improves Health Under Stress. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Hardiness Improves Performance and Conduct Under Stress. . . . . . . . . . .
The Relative Effectiveness of Hardiness and Other Individual
Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Where Does Hardiness Come From? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

19

4 Hardiness Assessment and Training. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Development and Effectiveness of Hardiness Assessment . . . . . . . . .
The Initial Development of Hardiness Training. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The First Hardy Coping Step is Situational Reconstruction. . . . . . . . . . . .
The Second Hardy Coping Step is Focusing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Third Hardy Coping Step is Compensatory Self-Improvement. . . . . .
The Previous Steps Lead to Formulating and Carrying out
an Action Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Effectiveness of the Initial Form of Hardiness Training . . . . . . . . . . .
The Further Development of the HardiTraining Program. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Contents

The Effectiveness of the HardiTraining Program. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Becoming a Certified Hardiness Trainer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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5 Raising Hardy Children. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Hardy Attitudes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Supportive Early Interactions Build the Hardy Attitude
of Commitment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Early Environments Permitting Mastery Build the Hardy Attitude
of Control. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ongoing Changes Construed as Richness Build the Hardy Attitude
of Challenge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Hardy Strategies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Parents Need to Emphasize Problem-Solving Coping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Parents Need to Emphasize Supportive Social Interactions. . . . . . . . . . . .
Parents Need to Emphasize Taking Care of Oneself. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
In all this, Parents Need to Admire, Respect, and Love Their Young. . . . .
References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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6 Applying Hardiness to Teaching and Counseling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Teaching Hardiness in Schools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Obtaining the Schools Approval for the Hardiness Course. . . . . . . . . . . .
Effectiveness of the Hardiness Training Course on Students. . . . . . . . . . .
Teaching Hardiness in Counseling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Conformism and Existential Sickness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Specifics of Hardiness Counseling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Case Examples from Hardiness Counseling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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7 Hardiness as a Relationship and Work Facilitator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Changing Nature of Relationships and Work Situations. . . . . . . . . . .
The Importance of Learning Through Failures as Well as Successes. . . . .
Deepening Significant Relationships into Intimacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Engaging in Fulfilling Work by Learning all the Time. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Neither Relationships Nor Work Settings Need Last Forever. . . . . . . . . . .
References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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8 How Hardiness Facilitates Functioning in Military


and Safety Roles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Special Importance of Hardiness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Relevant Hardiness Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
How Military and Safety Personnel Need to Function in Times
of Terrorism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Contents

xi

9 The Importance of Hardy Organizations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


How Organizations Thrive in Turbulent Times Through Hardiness. . . . . .
Culture, Climate, Structure, and Personnel of Hardy Organizations . . . . .
What are the Advantages of Hardi Organizations?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
What are the Disadvantages of Organizations that are not Hardy?. . . . . . .
Can Hardi Organizations Be Built Simply Through a
Greening Effect?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Assessing and Developing the Hardiness of Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . .
References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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10 The Psychology of Possibility. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Chapter 1

The Importance of Resiliency


in Daily Living

Abstract Life is by its nature a changing, and therefore stressful, phenomenon.


One source of stress is the ongoing developmental process that starts with birth,
and continues until death. The other source of stress is megatrends imposed by circumstances beyond our control, especially in our changing times. Together, these
ongoing stresses need to be turned to advantage by what we learn in dealing with,
rather than denying and avoiding them. Fully engaging in this resilient process is
facilitated by personality hardiness.
Keywords Developmental stresses Stressful megatrends Future-oriented
decisions Resiliency Personality hardiness
Lately, there has been increasing emphasis on resilience under stressful circumstances, along with the attempt to understand why some people are more resilient than others (e.g., Bonanno 2004; Maddi 1998, 2005). Most of the resiliency
emphasis has been on not losing ones performance and health, despite the stresses.
There has also been some attention paid to the phenomenon of not just surviving,
but also thriving under stress. A particular example of this is personality hardiness,
which has emerged as a pattern of learned attitudes and skills that helps in turning stressful circumstances from potential disasters into growth opportunities that
do not only merely maintain, but also enhance performance and health (cf., Maddi
2002, 2005). This book follows along this path. The first step in this process, which
is covered in this chapter, is to consider the inherently stressful nature of living.

 he Naturally Stressful Nature of the Personal Development


T
Process
Due to their continually changing, unpredictable, and demanding processes, the
developmental stages are an ongoing stressful phenomenon for us all (Frankl
1963; Maddi 2004; May et al. 1958). The developmental process begins with
our being pushed out of our mothers womb, and forced to begin breathing and

S. R. Maddi, Hardiness, SpringerBriefs in Psychology,


DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-5222-1_1, The Author(s) 2013

1 The Importance of Resiliency in Daily Living

functioning for ourselves, in the cold, bright, noisy environment we had never
anticipated. This experience was called the birth trauma by Rank (1929). In this
developmental period, the baby tries to understand and interact with other people
and the environment, without getting hurt, despite being mystified. But, you fail
frequently, as you crawl around and bang into things, feel too cold or warm, get
hungry without knowing what to do about it, and experience being overwhelmed
or alone. You try to figure out what the adults around you mean by the sounds they
keep making. When you have to urinate and defecate, you just do it, but then the
adults around you seem to do all sorts of things in response, without your knowing what is going on. But, one thing becomes reasonably surethose around you
sometimes stop you from doing what you want, or is simply normal. And, if these
experiences make you cry, or express anger, you may be silenced or chastened by
others. Although it does not really make sense to you, you end up having to do
what others want, and avoiding what they do not want.
No sooner do you make some progress in dealing with this early pattern
of trauma, than you have to leave what had hopefully (through what you have
learned) become your safe-house, in order to go to school. You have no idea
what going to school means, and you cry when your mother leaves you off at
Kindergarten. Then, somehow, you have to interact with other children, who do
not have your interests at heart, and a teacher, who imposes rules and regulations
on you, and a curriculum, which requires that you keep learning new things all the
time. And, even if you are fortunate enough to find some friends, interact cooperatively with teachers, and get at least reasonably good grades, as soon as you
feel you have learned something, the situation changes again. Even if your family
continues to live in the same place, you will go from grade to grade, and school to
school, changing teachers, friends, and curricula in the process.
These stressful schooling experiences continue through high school and college, and become even harder to deal with, as you are increasingly separated from
your parents and the safe-house into which you were born. Before you realize it,
you have reached the age wherein you are expected to begin considering what
your adult life will be like. Do you fit in with others and institutions, or not? Do
you have contributions to make, or is it more important to be a follower? You must
seriously begin considering what kind of career, new family, and role in society
you will have. Shall you just have sex with anyone who seems attractive or powerful, or should you be using all your resources (including sex) to find the right
person to marry? Should you just take whatever job is available to you, or struggle to find and prepare for the career that best expresses your skills, values, and
preferences? By this time, you are also more responsible for your own consumer
behavior. What brands of clothing, cars, food, beverages, and equipment should
you buy, and how much should you spend on these things? Should you just fit into
society, or determine the role that is best for you and others? And, how should you
feel about the reactions of your parents to all this? Needless to say, the period of
education in early adulthood is undoubtedly stressful.
Nor, as time goes on, does the period of middle adulthood become less stressful. You have to compete for a job that seems like a good one to you. If you get it,

The Naturally Stressful Nature of the Personal Development Process

then you have to learn how to perform in it, and get evaluated all the time by your
supervisors. Even if your performance seems adequate to them, you are constantly
evaluating whether it is the right job for you. Are you bored, or overwhelmed?
And, you are constantly trying to meet people with whom you can be friends or
loved ones. Needless to say, this is a competitive activity. Then, if you marry someone and start a family, before you know it, you are struggling to help your children
and spouse with their own stressful circumstances. How can you be a good parent
and spouse, and still keep trying to find your own place in life? And, is it the right
marriage for youare you bored, overwhelmed, or unattracted? If there are difficulties in your marriage, should you divorce, just have affairs, or is there some
more constructive alternative? And, if you have not married, how can you face all
the issues of adulthood alone?
Moving on to the period of later adulthood is hardly less stressful. One thing
you are increasingly faced with is retirement from work. Although this may seem
positive, especially if you have hated your job, retirement is generally a stressful
circumstance in that you are faced with losing what you have established, and wondering what to do now. In this regard, retirement is a sign of approaching the end
of life. Also, the members of your family of origin, and your peers in general, may
begin showing signs of deteriorating health, or actually dying, to say nothing about
the health problems you may be having. Understandably, you begin looking back
on your life, wondering if it was a sufficient expression of your wishes, values, and
capabilities. You increasingly wonder what you should do with yourself, whether
there really is an afterlife, and whether your struggle in life was all worth it.
All in all, each of the periods of development is fraught with stressful circumstances. Even if many of them are dealt with constructively, it is nonetheless true
that life is, by its developmental nature, fraught with problems and changes that
can have an undermining effect on performance, motivation, and health, if not
handled well.

We Live in the Centuries of Change


As if the ongoing stressfulness of the natural developmental process were not
enough, the period of time and the society in which we live may well impose
megatrends on us that add additional stresses. At the present time, there are several megatrends that increase the stressfulness of everyday living, beyond what is
generated by the ongoing developmental pressures mentioned before. Indeed, the
twentieth and twenty-first centuries may well be remembered as the centuries of
change.
One ongoing megatrend is the breathtakingly fast technological advance that
began years ago, but is still continuing. A major effect of this has been the development of computers, progressing through the Internet, and the new telecommunications industry. Also, there has been a general streamlining of the processes
whereby goods and solutions are reached. While the upside of this megatrend has

1 The Importance of Resiliency in Daily Living

been much greater ability to communicate, solve problems, reach goals, and bring
about new areas of functioning, the downside is the difficulty for many people of
participating in, much less contributing to this technological advance. There are
fewer and fewer jobs involving assembly line working, and the new jobs that get
created require increasing amounts of computer and conceptual and technological knowledge. A current example of this is that the old way of buying and selling
stocks, which had involved being present and interacting with others at the Wall
Street location, has fallen to 30 %, and been replaced with computer automated
processes instead. In general, the megatrend of rapid technological advance has
put continual stressful pressures on people to try to learn more in order to be qualified for jobs that are becoming fewer and more advanced.
Another ongoing megatrend of our time is globalization. Its upside is our growing knowledge of, and interaction with people all around the world. But, the downside of globalization to societies, communities, and individuals is the threat to
their values of right and wrong, and to their stability and security. Terrorism is one
expression of this sense of threat, as some societies and their members feel that the
only way to protect themselves from imposition from more powerful societies is
to undermine them in unidentifiable ways, rather than on the traditional battlefield.
And, less powerful members of the powerful societies may also be undermined, as
globalization encourages businesses to outsource jobs to other countries where pay
is lower. For that matter, even relatively powerful members of the powerful societies may experience increasing levels of stress. For example, I did counseling several years ago with an American venture capitalist who was increasingly stressed
and anxious at having to do more and more business with people in other countries,
whose values and aims he did not know, and whom he would never even meet.
In our time, another downside of rapid technological advance and emerging
globalization is the megatrend of mounting, worldwide competition. The days are
over when we could carry on work within our own country and its economy. Now,
there is worldwide competition for the best products and employees at the best
prices. The upside of this is that many foreign countries are participating further
in our economy, not only by buying our products, but also by contributing technological advances to our production system. Ireland, India, and China, for example,
have improved their economies significantly in recent years by having their young
workers become expert in writing computer software programs and selling them
to us at competitive prices. The downside of all this is that some of our companies
(and their workers) are floundering, as they cannot lower their prices and salaries
enough to be whole. And, all this is happening in the democratic United States at
just the time when the pressure for equal opportunities for women and minorities
in the workplace mounts. The upside of this is less discrimination in the job market. But, the downside is decreased job security. An additional factor increasing
job insecurity is our aging population. As people live longer, they are retiring from
work at later ages than before, which, along with the other factors mentioned, is
making it harder for younger people to find the jobs they want.
The Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which have been ongoing for many years, are
another example of megatrends affecting us all. Certainly, the military personnel

We Live in the Centuries of Change

who are fighting abroad, and their families left behind here, are experiencing significant stresses everyday. But, the war-related economic drain, terroristic retaliations, general uncertainty, and worldwide questions as to whether the United
States is a friend or enemy, are increasing the stress for all of us.
Another megatrend being experienced now on a worldwide basis is the economic downturn, not only due to the expenses of wars, but also due to the deterioration of the job and real estate markets. Crucial companies in the United States
have actually received government subsidies, but there are still an increasing number of job losses and company foreclosures going on. This has led to less money
being spent by consumers, and the resulting further slowdown of businesses. Our
economy is in the worst state since the great depression, and needless to say, this
has imposed many serious stressful circumstances on us.
There are certainly significantly stressful megatrends in our times. This does
not mean, however, that other times have been less stressful. After all, the developmental pressures are always part of the human process of growing up. And,
history shows that other periods of history than our own have also been fraught
with stressful megatrends, though their particular content may have been different.
There have always been wars, natural disasters, and political and social turmoil.

The Ongoing Need for Thriving Under Stress


Life is by its nature a stressful phenomenon, due to the combination of ongoing
pressures fueled by developmental requirements and additionally imposed megatrends. And, the initial effect of increased stress appears to be increased strain,
which is the bodys arousal reaction to the perceived threat. Selyes (1976) awardwinning research with laboratory animals has shown that when imposed stresses
are strong and uncontrollable, the continuing strain reaction depletes bodily
resources, resulting in various kinds of bodily breakdown.
People who believe that they are entitled to easy comfort and security tend to
deal with stresses by denying them as they constitute threats to their sense of what
life should be all about. You try to look the other way, and if you are unsuccessful in this, you minimize the change implications of what is happening. Helpful in
this denial is the process of avoiding potentially challenging stresses, by immersing yourself in activities that are habitual and fun. So, instead of directly considering the implications of the stresses, you engage in excessive, but enjoyable
activities. These activities may include overspending on unneeded products, gambling, sexual promiscuity, and excessive television watching. Whichever pattern
you sink into, the overall aim is to distract yourself from those mounting stresses
involving developmental pressures and disruptive megatrends. What you want is
happiness, no matter what is going on. Unfortunately, this is a pattern of behavior
that interferes with you being able to find meaning and fulfillment in your life.
Another stress-response pattern on the part of people who believe they are entitled to easy comfort and security is to conclude that they have been victimized,

1 The Importance of Resiliency in Daily Living

and should therefore strike back at those who are victimizing them. The first step
is exaggeration, in which you see the pressures as something imposed on you by
enemies, rather than a natural expression of the stressful nature of living. This
approach leads to looking for enemies, and reacting with angry, even violent
behavior toward them.
The major difficulty with engaging in denial and avoidance, and feeling victimized and striking back, is that these approaches stultify learning, growth, and
fulfillment in living. In order to keep developing, you must treat stressful circumstances as an opportunity to learn and grow in wisdom, rather than a destructive
imposition on you. This is what the existentialists (e.g., Frankl 1963; Kierkegaard
1954; Maddi 2004; May et al. 1958) call choosing for the future (which involves
learning and changing), instead of the past (which involves insisting on holding
on to what is already known). Choosing the future involves a continual process of
changing ones own beliefs and behaviors, as the result of taking ongoing stressful
changes seriously, as what life is all about.
In order to proceed in this difficult process, you need existential courage, or
what Tillich (1952) called the courage to be. The following chapters of this book
concern the conceptualization, research, and practice concerning personality hardiness, which is the pattern of attitudes and strategies that constitute the existential courage and motivation to do the hard work of turning stressful circumstances
from potential disasters into growth opportunities (Maddi 2002).

References
Bonanno, G. (2004). Loss, trauma, and human resilience: How we underestimated the human
capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events. American Psychologist, 51, 7282.
Frankl, V. E. (1963). Mans search for meaning: An introduction to logotherapy (L. Lasch,
Trans.). New York: Washington Square Press.
Kierkegaard, S. (1954). Fear and trembling and the sickness unto death. New York: Doubleday.
Maddi, S. R. (1998). Creating meaning through making decisions. In P. T. P. Wong & P. S. Fry
(Eds.), The human quest for meaning (pp. 326). Mahwah: Erlbaum.
Maddi, S. R. (2002). The story of hardiness: Twenty years of theorizing, research, and practice.
Consulting Psychology Journal, 54, 173185.
Maddi, S. R. (2004). Hardiness: An operationalization of existential courage. Journal of
Humanistic Psychology, 44, 279298.
Maddi, S. R. (2005). On hardiness and other pathways to resilience. American Psychologist, 60,
261262.
May, R., Angel, E., & Ellenberger, H. F. (1958). Existence: A new dimension in psychiatry and
psychology. New York: Basic Books.
Rank, O. (1929). The trauma of birth. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.
Selye, H. (1976). The stress of life (2nd Ed.). New York: Lippencott.
Tillich, P. (1952). The courage to be. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Chapter 2

Personal Hardiness as the Basis


for Resilience

Abstract Together, the hardiness attitudes and strategies facilitate resilience under
stress. The hardy attitudes are the 3Cs of commitment, control, and challenge. No
matter how bad things get, challenge helps you realize that life is naturally stressful, commitment helps you stay involved with what is going on around you, and
control helps you try to turn it to your advantage. This courage helps you engage
in the hardy strategies of problem-solving coping, socially-supportive interactions,
and beneficial self-care. Our 12-year longitudinal study at Illinois Bell Telephone
showed that the higher were managers in personality hardiness; the better was
their performance, and health after the disruptive deregulation of the telephone
industry they experienced. These findings led to the Hardiness Model.
Keywords Hardy attitudes Hardy strategies Resilience Enhanced
performance Enhanced health Problem-solving coping Sociallysupportive interactions Beneficial self-care Illinois Bell Telephone
study Stress Strain Hardiness model
Early in my career, I was studying the personality characteristics that increase the
likelihood of creativity in ones performance. What I was finding is that the more
people are interested in novelty and increases in stimulation, the greater the likelihood that they will show creativity (originality) in their performance (Maddi
1969). At one point, a student on my research team brought me an article she had
found in Family Circle Magazine, which emphasized the importance of avoiding
stressful circumstances, as they can kill you. The article emphasized that the major
way of avoiding stress was to keep stability, and avoid changes. I was shocked at
this conclusion, as it implied that, from what my research was showing, creative
people are trying to commit suicide.
In mulling over this contradiction between what I, and others were finding,
I began to think that there are probably individual differences in peoples reactions to stressful circumstances that are worth studying. Perhaps people who are
more intrigued by ongoing changes are more likely than others to turn the resulting
stresses to advantage by what they learn. And, as they grow from what they learn, the
stresses are resolved, and therefore less likely to undermine performance and health.

S. R. Maddi, Hardiness, SpringerBriefs in Psychology,


DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-5222-1_2, The Author(s) 2013

2 Personal Hardiness as the Basis for Resilience

Hardiness as the Pathway to Resilience


Before long, the conceptualization of personality hardiness began to emerge
(Kobasa 1979; Maddi and Kobasa 1984). Basically, hardiness was considered
the specifics of what existentialists call existential courage (Maddi 2004). In particular, hardiness emerged as a pattern of attitudes and strategies that together
facilitate turning stressful circumstances from potential disasters into growth
opportunities.
In particular, there are the three Cs of hardiness attitudes (Maddi 1994, 2002).
If you are strong in the C of challenge, you accept that life is by its nature stressful, and see those stressful changes as an opportunity to grow in wisdom and capability by what you learn through trying to turn them to your advantage. In this,
you think that you can learn from failures as well as successes. You do not think
you are entitled to easy comfort and security. Instead, you feel that fulfillment can
only be gained by having turned the stresses into growth opportunities. Another C
of hardy attitudes is commitment, which involves the belief that no matter how bad
things get, it is important to stay involved with whatever is happening, rather than
sink into detachment and alienation. And the third C of hardiness is control, which
leads you to believe that no matter how bad things get, you need to keep trying to
turn the stresses from potential disasters into growth opportunities. It seems like a
waste of time to let yourself sink into powerlessness and passivity.
To truly express existential courage, a person must possess all 3Cs of commitment, control, and challenge. American psychology is currently preoccupied with
the importance of the control attitude, and I have encountered the opinion from
others that it is this attitude that fully defines hardiness. But, imagine people high
in control though simultaneously low in commitment and challenge. Such people
would want to determine outcomes but would not want to waste time and effort
learning from experience or feeling involved with people, and events. In that, these
people would be riddled with impatience, irritability, isolation, and bitter suffering
whenever control efforts fail. What we see in this is something close to the Type A
behavior pattern (e.g., Friedman and Rosenman 1974), with all its physical, mental,
and social vulnerabilities. Such people would be egotistical, and vulnerable to seeing themselves as better than the others, and having nothing more to learn. There
is surprisingly little to call hardiness in this orientation.
Now, imagine people high in commitment, but simultaneously low in control
and challenge. Such people would be completely enmeshed with, and defined by
the people, things, and events around them, never thinking to have an influence
through, or to reflect on their experience of their interactions. They would have
little or no individuality, and their sense of meaning would be completely given
by the social interactions and institutions in which they would lose themselves.
Such people would be extremely vulnerable whenever any changes were imposed
on them. There is certainly little to call hardiness here.
Finally, imagine people who, though high in challenge, are simultaneously
low in control and commitment. Such people would be preoccupied with novelty,

Hardiness as the Pathway to Resilience

caring little for the others, things, and events around them and not imagining they
could have a real influence on anything. They might appear to be learning constantly, but this would be trivial in comparison with their investment in the thrill
of novelty per se. They would resemble adventurers (Maddi 1970) and could be
expected to engage in games of chance and risky activities for the excitement that
they bring. Once again, there is little of hardiness in this.
I could continue by showing you how any two of the 3Cs, without the third,
is still shy of hardiness. However, I hope this is not necessary and that the point
is clear that it is the combination of strength in all 3Cs that constitutes hardiness.
People who are simultaneously strong in all of the 3Cs tend to (1) see life as a
continually changing phenomenon that provokes them to learn and change (challenge), (2) think that through this developmental process, they can work on the
changes in a fashion that turns them into fulfilling experiences (control), and (3)
share this effort and learning in a supportive way with the significant others and
institutions in their lives (commitment).
Thus, conceptually, all three Cs of hardy attitudes need to be strong, in order
to provide the existential courage and motivation to do the hard work of turning
stresses to advantage. That hard work involves hardy coping, hardy social interaction, and hardy self-care (Khoshaba and Maddi 2004; Maddi 2002). Coping
that is hardy involves clear identification of stressful circumstances, analysis of
what can be done to resolve them by turning them to growth advantage, and carrying out the steps that result from this identification and analysis. The opposite
of hardy, problem-solving coping is denial and avoidance, by trying not to notice
stressful circumstances, and distracting oneself through excessive activities, such
as overspending, gambling, and substance addiction. Hardy social interaction
involves giving and getting social support from the significant others in ones life.
The opposite of hardy social interaction is feeling victimized and acting on this
to punish the supposed victimizers, and overprotect ones supposed allies. Hardy
self-care involves protecting ones bodily functioning by engaging in relaxation
procedures, eating in a balanced and moderate way, and keeping a moderate level
of physical activity. The opposite of hardy self-care involves no effort to moderate
bodily arousal, indulgence in eating overly sweet and fatty foods, and becoming a
couch potato.
Hardiness has been put forward as the pathway to resilience under stress
(Bonanno 2004; Maddi 2005). Resilience is often considered the phenomenon of
maintaining your performance and health, despite the occurrence of stressful circumstances. I emphasize that resilience should also be considered to involve not
only this survival, but thriving as well, in the sense that stressful circumstances can
also enhance performance and health, through what you learn and then use. Thus,
I expect that the combination of strong hardiness attitudes and strategies will result
in the best possible living in our turbulent times.
Also, we believe that hardiness can be learned. It is best, needless to say, if that
learning takes place early in your life, through the nature of your interactions with
your parents and other mentors (Khoshaba and Maddi 1999; Maddi 2002). But,
hardiness can be learned at any time in life through our hardiness training program

10

2 Personal Hardiness as the Basis for Resilience

(Khoshaba and Maddi 2004; Maddi 1987, 2002). What is especially important in
learning hardiness is that the parent or mentor support you in practicing problemsolving coping, supportive social interaction, and beneficial self-care, and also
show you how to use the experiential feedback resulting from these hardy strategies to enhance the hardy attitudes. Thus, when you function on your own, you
will have not only the knowledge of how to do problem solving, socially-supportive interactions, and beneficial self-care, but also the courage and motivation to
carry out this needed hard work.

The Longitudinal Study of Stress at Illinois Bell Telephone


As indicated earlier, the magazine article my student brought me in 1974, which
emphasized avoiding stress because it can kill you, did not make sense to me,
especially as my ongoing research was showing how it is specifically people who
are oriented toward change who are likely to be creative. This contradiction led me
to feel provoked to consider the importance of studying whether there are individual differences in whether stressful circumstances undermine or enhance performance and health, and if so, whether the individual differences concern hardiness.
So, I convinced my research team that we needed to do research on such individual differences in a sample of people undergoing substantial stresses. At the
time, I was a psychology consultant for Illinois Bell Telephone (IBT), which was
headquartered in Chicago. Then, the telephone industry was a federally-regulated
monopoly, as our government believed that reliable, inexpensive telephone service
was in the national interest. In this, IBT was a subsidiary of the parent company,
American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T), and none of these companies needed
to be competitive, or worry about their bottom lines.
At the time, the Executive Vice President of IBT was Carl Horn, with whom I
had become friendly through my consulting work for his company. We had both
talked about how the monopoly status of AT&T and its subsidiaries probably
would be drawing to a close in the near future, as our federal government was
beginning to believe that more business competition was necessary in order to
hasten the development of the telecommunications industry, and insure that the
United States would be at the center of that development. Although the writing
was on the wall, neither he nor I could predict how many months or years might
pass before the deregulation would occur. But, there was no uncertainty that the
deregulation would be a colossally stressful disruption for the company and its
employees.
I shared with Carl Horn the importance of my team doing research on the different sorts of performance and health reactions people might have when they
experience stressful circumstances. In this, I emphasized the excessive nature
of the Family Circle article on the importance of avoiding stresses, and asked
whether he would permit us to study IBT employees before, during, and after the
impending federal deregulation of the telephone monopoly. He not only agreed

The Longitudinal Study of Stress at Illinois Bell Telephone

11

to endorse this study, but also offered to pay some of its expenses. In addition, I
had financial grant support from the National Institute of Health. So, we rushed to
develop and carry out our natural experiment at IBT.
By 1975, we were ready to begin data collection. Carl Horn sent a request to
the supervisors, managers, and decision-makers at IBT, introducing our data collection procedures, encouraging them to volunteer to participate in the study, and
promised them anonymity. But, he did not elaborate what the study was about.
The resulting sample was 259 employees, who we tested comprehensively and
regularly over the years of the study. Administered were many existing questionnaires, covering personality characteristics, social interaction patterns, and signs of
stress, strain, motivation, and beliefs. In this regard, we included each year the set
of test items we had composed to cover the 3Cs of hardiness. Over the years, subsamples were also interviewed, covering many of the same areas, and also emphasizing early developmental experiences.
In addition to these psychological data, we also had available to us the performance data, such as job evaluations, promotions, and demotions that was ordinarily compiled by IBT. We also had available our participants medical information,
as it was IBTs procedure to give each of its supervisors, managers, and decisionmakers a free yearly physical examination on their birthday, and free treatment if,
and when, they became ill.
We continued to collect the yearly data mentioned above, as we waited for the
anticipated federal deregulation of the telephone industry. That deregulation happened in 1981 (6years into our research program), and is still regarded as one of
the major business upheavals in history. A sign of this at IBT was that it went from
roughly 26,000 employees in 1981, to just over 14,000 in 1982. Nearly 50% of the
employees were terminated in the downsizing required in order for the company
to become more economically competitive in the new market conditions. And, the
work roles of those employees who remained were continually reorganized, in the
attempt to get the company to be successfully competitive. There were also many
subjective signs of this upheaval. For example, early in 1983, we asked a manager
in our sample what the deregulation was like for him. He indicated that he had 10
different supervisors in 12months. He said, they were in and out the door, and
didnt know what they were doing. And, I dont know what I am doing either.
We continued to collect performance and health data for 6years after the
deregulation upheaval, in this study that has come to be regarded as a classical
natural experiment (Maddi and Kobasa 1984). What we found is that, following
the deregulation, two-thirds of the employees in our sample fell apart, showing
various breakdown symptoms. Physically, there were heart attacks, strokes, kidney failures, cancers, and suicides. Psychologically, there was depression, anxiety, excessive spending, divorces, and dependency on alcohol, drugs, and other
addictive experiences. But, the other third of the sample were resilient by not only
surviving, but also thriving. If they stayed at IBT, they tended to rise to the top
of the heap in the reorganization. If they left IBT, they either used their experience to start their own companies in the new competitive industry, or joined other
startup companies and rose to the top of the heap there. If anything, they showed

12

2 Personal Hardiness as the Basis for Resilience

more excitement, enthusiasm, motivation, and fulfillment than they had before the
upheaval. They showed many signs that the upheaval and reorganization necessities led them to grow and develop. These findings clearly supported my position
that there are individual differences in the reaction of people to stressful circumstances. Whereas some people are undermined, others are enhanced in their performance and health.
Another major consideration in this research was to see whether there were
psychological factors existing before the deregulation that could have influenced the difference between the two-thirds of the sample that were undermined
by the upheaval, and the one-third that survived and thrived. Needless to say, the
major emphasis of this study was the attitudes and strategies that I came to call
hardiness.
Concerning the hardy attitudes, we composed various questionnaire items for
commitment, control, or challenge. Examples are, for commitment: Most days
life is interesting and exciting for me, for control: Peoples misfortunes result
from the mistakes they make, and for challenge: I easily start in on unexpected
new tasks. Considering the relevant data for the 15 composed items for each of
the attitudes of commitment, control, and challenge showed adequate reliability
both in terms of internal consistency and stability. Further, each of the 3Cs showed
moderate positive correlations with the other two, as was expected, in order to
consider them together as the attitudes of hardiness. Although measurement of
hardy attitudes has improved greatly in the years since the IBT study, that study
made a good start.
At the attitudinal level, we also included a measure of Type A personality, an
approach that was emphasized at the time (Friedman and Rosenman 1974). People
high in Type A personality are driven, impatient, and competitive, unsatisfied with
themselves, and experience great time pressure.
At the hardy strategy level, we included two measures from a well-known coping test (Folkman and Lazarus 1980). One measure involved items showing an
attempt to resolve work stresses by working on transforming them. Examples of
the items included: I knew what had to be done, so I doubled my efforts and tried
harder to make things work and I came up with a couple of different solutions to
the problem. The other coping measure, which seemed the opposite of hardiness,
involved engaging in denial and avoidance coping of work stresses. Examples of
the items included: Tried to forget the whole thing, and Daydreamed or imagined a better place than the one I was in.
Also included concerning hardy strategies was a measure of interacting with
others in a socially-supportive way (Moos et al. 1974). Sample items include, for
family interactions: We say anything we want to around home, and There is
plenty of time and attention for everyone in our family. For work interactions,
sample items are: Superiors really stand up for their people, and People take
a personal interest in each other. In measuring hardy health practices, interview
data was used concerning dieting, smoking, alcohol intake, drug use, relaxation,
and physical exercise.

The Longitudinal Study of Stress at Illinois Bell Telephone

13

Throughout the study, we also included measures of both stress and strain symptoms (Maddi and Kobasa 1984). The stress measure included such items as Recently,
Ive had a career or job change, and Recently, I have experienced an illness in a
family member or friend. The strain measure included such items as Often, I have
general aches and pains, and Ive been having troubling dreams lately.
Finally, a measure of constitutional strengths and weaknesses was included,
with the kind of interview data often used by physicians. The participants were
asked to report on the number of major illnesses presumed to have some hereditary basis that their natural parents suffered. In this, we assumed that parents who
had few of these illnesses had passed on stronger physical constitutions to their
children (who, of course, constituted our sample).
As to results, we found, as expected, that the hardy attitudes were positively
related to the hardy strategy of problem-solving coping, and negatively related
to avoidance coping. Further, the hardy attitudes were positively related to the
hardy strategy of socially-supportive interactions, and unrelated to Type A social
behavior. The hardy attitudes were also positively related to the hardy strategy of
beneficial self-care. These findings emerged in the data before the upheaval, and
continued on after the upheaval. Indeed, the pattern of hardy attitudes and strategies was predominant in the managers who survived and thrived after the deregulation, whereas the opposite pattern characterized those who fell apart.
As to effects on bodily reactions to stressful circumstances, we found that prior
to the deregulation, the intensity of stress and strain reactions of managers was
lower in those with hardy attitudes and strategies, than in those low in hardiness
(Kobasa et al. 1981, 1982a, b). This pattern continued after the deregulation, even
though the amount of stress and strain understandably increased in most managers.
In one study (Kobasa et al. 1986), hardy attitudes, social support, and physical exercise were compared in their health effectiveness after the deregulation. Among managers who were all above the sample median in stresses, the total hardy attitudes
was roughly twice as effective in decreasing risk of illness than were social support
and physical exercise. Of particular interest was the synergistic beneficial effect of
these three stress-buffering variables: Managers with two stress buffers did somewhat better than those with only one, but those with all three buffers did remarkably
better than those with only two. We also found no relationship between hardiness
measures and constitutional strength, either before or after the deregulation.

Hardiness Helps Turn Stresses into Growth Opportunities


All in all, the pattern of results in the IBT study supported the conceptualization
of hardiness as a pattern of attitudes and skills that facilitates or even enhances
performance and health under great stress. The results also showed that hardy
managers expected stress, and saw it as an opportunity to do what they could to
transform it and thereby grow in fulfillment. A particularly noteworthy example
in a manager whose questionnaire results showed high hardiness both before and

14

2 Personal Hardiness as the Basis for Resilience

Fig.2.1The Hardiness Model for performance and Health Enhancement, Copyright 1986
2004

after the upheaval involved his answer to the question (asked of him before the
upheaval), What is it like to be a manager in this company? He responded, To
be an accepted manager in this company you have to have a bell-shaped head.
When asked what that meant, he pointed to a several-volume work on his bookshelf that was published by the parent company, AT&T. Then he said,
When a problem arises, you do not think it through on your own. Instead, you
go to the index of these books by Ma Bell, and you are directed to the part of the
books you need to read, which reading tells you exactly what to do. That is what I
mean by needing to have a bell-shaped head.
Interestingly enough, this manager was among those who felt much more energetic after the upheaval, immersed himself in using his talent to figure out what
needed to be done in the chaotic environment, experienced few signs of performance and health breakdowns, and rose to the top of his reorganizing company.
Figure 2.1 diagrams the general pattern of results of the IBT project, and is
quite consistent with the additional research findings in subsequent studies over
the next 25years. The bad news depicted in this Hardiness Model is the sinister
line near the top. The first box considers the total of your stressful circumstances,
which circumstances may be either acute or chronic. Acute stresses involve disruptive changes, such as unexpected automobile accidents, or job losses. Chronic
stresses involve a continuing mismatch between what you want and what you
get. For example, you may see yourself as a loving person, but are unable to find
someone on whom to lavish that. Or, as in the IBT manager exampled above, you
may see yourself as a capable and resilient person, but have to just fit in to be considered doing your job well.

Hardiness Helps Turn Stresses into Growth Opportunities

15

The model also shows that stressful events that are not resolved have the effect
of increasing bodily strain, or arousal. This arousal is what Cannon (1929) called
the fight or flight response. Before there was civilization, whenever humans would
encounter the stress of other animals bigger and stronger than them, what was evolutionarily important was the mobilization of energy that facilitated either fighting back
or running away. Arousal hormones and glucose would be pumped into the blood
stream, so that the mind and muscles would have the energy needed to make quick
decisions and carry them out. Now that we live in more civilized times, the stresses
we encounter tend not to involve bigger and stronger animals. Nonetheless, the effect
of our current stressful circumstances is the same on the bodily arousal. But, even
with this bodily arousal, we are unlikely to fight or run away. If we do not resolve the
stresses by problem-solving, the arousal persists as what we now call strain.
Further, the hardiness model shows that when strain becomes too high and
too prolonged, bodily and psychological resources are depleted, and breakdowns
occur. This has been shown in Selyes (1976) award-winning research. These
breakdowns can be physical, such as the so-called wear and tear diseases of
the circulatory and digestive systems. Breakdowns can also be psychosocial and
emotional, such as failing to meet deadlines, disregarding significant others, and
depression and anxiety disorders. The last piece of bad news depicted in the hardiness model is the box at the top of the figure, which proposes that, when strainrelated breakdowns occur, they may do so along the lines of our constitutional
weaknesses.
The good news involves the four boxes at the bottom of the model, which
together conceptualize how stress and strain can be kept within manageable limits,
so that the likelihood of breakdowns is minimized and, indeed, performance and
health may even be enhanced. The box at the left summarizes the hardy attitudes
of interrelated commitment, control, and challenge. Together, these attitudes constitute the existential courage and motivation needed to do the hard work of transforming the stressful circumstances from potentials for breakdowns into growth
opportunities instead. These courageous attitudes stimulate hardy (problem-solving) coping, rather than regressive (denial and avoidance) coping. The hardy attitudes also stimulate socially-supportive (rather than competitive) interactions with
significant others.
The combination of hardy attitudes, hardy coping, and hardy social interactions
facilitates turning stressful circumstances to developmental advantage. In this, one
has the courage and strategies that permit (1) clear evaluation of the stressful circumstances, (2) a consequently emerging sense of what can be done to learn from
them and increase in capability thereby, and (3) persistence in carrying out what
has been learned. As shown in the diagram, this process will reduce the stressful
circumstances, and in that way, decrease strain, and the likelihood of breakdowns.
The hardiness model also shows that hardy attitudes can facilitate the strategy
of beneficial (rather than undermining) self-care. This helpful self-care involves
keeping bodily arousal at an optimal level, so that there is enough energy to carry
out the hard work of hardy coping and socially-supportive interactions, but not
so much energy that the careful, ongoing work involved in this coping and social

16

2 Personal Hardiness as the Basis for Resilience

interaction is impossible. When your arousal level is getting too high, beneficial
self-care involves relaxation exercises, nutrition that moderates sweet and fatty
foods, and physical exercise that helps in using up the excess energy. As the diagram shows, hardy attitudes helps with hardy self-care, and this decreases bodily
arousal level. But, beneficial self-care, by itself, does little to reduce the stressfulness of the circumstances provoking excessive bodily arousal. Only hardy coping
and social interactions can decrease the stressfulness of the circumstances, through
turning them to advantage by what is learned.
But, it should not be concluded from what I have been saying that the best outcome is to avoid any stress and strain, and thereby feel comfortable. After all, as I
have said before, life is by its nature stressful. So, it is not possible to avoid stress
all together, and still be living well. The aim of hardiness attitudes and strategies is
to recognize stresses, learn from them, and thereby move ones living toward wisdom and fulfillment. And, this is an ongoing process, not one that once achieved,
indicates that nothing further is required. Indeed, if it were possible to resolve present and future stresses completely, ones resulting life would not be comfortable
and stable. You would get so bored that soon you would begin engaging in excessive attempts to find stimulation, such as over spending, gambling, abusing alcohol and other stimulating substances, sexual promiscuity, and even aggressiveness
and law-breaking. After all, the cortex of the human brain evolved in a fashion
that facilitates learning and growing. This remarkable cortex therefore requires
stimulation in order to keep functioning. The psychological research on the effects
of stimulus deprivation shows this. When research participants were deprived of
stimulation for a long time, they actually began hallucinating (such as seeing ones
head separated from ones body and floating around the room), and often quit participating in the study, even though that meant not getting the substantial money
payments promised (cf., Fiske 1961). It certainly seems as if our human brains
need constant stimulation, even if that stimulation is stressful, as that then provokes transforming the stress into new learning and wisdom. It seems clear that it
is not the best answer to deny and avoid stressful circumstances, just because paying attention to, and learning from them, can be a consuming process.

References
Bonanno, G. (2004). Loss, trauma, and human resilience: How we underestimated the human
capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events. American Psychologist, 51, 7282.
Cannon, W.B. (1929). Bodily changes in pain, hunger, fear, and rage. New York: Appleton.
Fiske, D. W. (1961). Effects of monotonous and restricted stimulation. In D.W. Fiske, & S. R.
Maddi (Eds.), Functions of varied experience. Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press.
Folkman, S., & Lazarus, R. S. (1980). An analysis of coping in a middle-aged community sample. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 21, 219239.
Friedman, M., & Rosenman, R. H. (1974). Type A behavior and your heart. New York: Alfred A.
Knopf.
Khoshaba, D. M., & Maddi, S. R. (1999). Early experiences in hardiness development. Consult
Psychol J, 51, 106116.

References

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Khoshaba, D. M., & Maddi, S. R. (2004). HardiTraining: managing stressful change (5th ed.).
Irvine: Hardiness Institute.
Kobasa, S. C. (1979). Stressful life events, personality and health: An inquiry into hardiness.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 111.
Kobasa, S. C., Maddi, S. R., & Courington, S. (1981). Personality and constitution as mediators
of the stress-illness relationship. J Health Soc Behav, 22, 368378.
Kobasa, S. C, Maddi, S. R., & Kahn, S. (1982a). Hardiness and health: a prospective study. J
Pers Soc Psychol 42:168177.
Kobasa, S. C., Maddi, S. R., & Puccetti, M. (1982b). Personality and exercise as buffers in the
stress-illness relationship. J Behav Med, 4, 391404.
Kobasa, S. C., Maddi, S. R., Puccetti, M., & Zola, M. A. (1986). Relative effectiveness of hardiness, exercise, and social support as resources against illness. J Psychosom Res, 29, 525533.
Maddi, S. R. (1969). The pursuit of consistency and variety. In R. Abelson, E. Aronson, W.
McGuire, T. Newcomb, M. Rosenberg, and P. Tannenbaum (Eds.), Theories of cognitive consistency: A sourcebook. Chicago, IL: Rand McNally.
Maddi, S. R. (1970). The search for meaning. In M. Page (Ed.), Nebraska symposium on motivation. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Maddi, S. R. (1987). Hardiness training at Illinois Bell Telephone. In J. P. Opatz (Ed.), Health
promotion evaluation (pp. 101115). Stevens Point, WI: National Wellness Institute.
Maddi, S. R. (1994). The Hardiness Enhancing Lifestyle Program (HELP) for improving physical, mental, and social wellness. In C. Hopper (Ed.), Wellness lecture series. Oakland:
University of California/HealthNet.
Maddi, S. R. (2002). The story of hardiness: twenty years of theorizing, research, and practice.
Consult Psychol J 54:173185.
Maddi, S. R. (2004). Hardiness: An operationalization of existential courage. J Humanist
Psychol, 44, 279298.
Maddi, S. R. (2005). On hardiness and other pathways to resilience. Am Psychol, 60, 261262.
Maddi, S. R., & Kobasa, S. C. (1984). The hardy executive: health under stress. Homewood:
Dow Jones-Irwin.
Moos, R. H., Insel, P. M., & Humphrey, B. (1974). Family, work and group environment scales
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Selye, H. (1976). The stress of life (2nd Ed.). New York: Lippencott.

Chapter 3

Thirty Years of Hardiness Validational


Research and Practice

AbstractThe measure of the hardy attitudes has gone through several


improvements, and is now an 18 item scale called the Personal Views Survey
III-R. Research has shown that the test is a valid indicator of commitment, control, and challenge, which together constitute the hardy attitudes. This test is a
positive predictor of various indices of performance and health, and a negative
predictor of strain and denial and avoidance, in working adults and college students. The hardy attitudes test has also been shown to be a positive predictor
of the hardy strategies of problem-solving coping, socially-supportive interactions, and beneficial self-care. These hardy strategies have also been shown to
be positive predictors of performance and health. Also, the hardy attitudes are
better predictors of performance and health than are optimism, religiosity, and
well-being. Research has also shown that hardiness can be learned, especially
through parental encouragement and assistance of their young.
Keywords Hardiness validational research Performance Health
Anxiety Depression Creativity Conduct Strain Military personnel
Firefighters Athletes Nurses Working adults College students
In the years since the IBT study, the hardiness approach has been considerably
elaborated and is now an established part of psychology. Important in this development has been an active interplay between theory, research, and practice.
Hundreds of studies have been done around the world, and the hardy attitudes
measure has been translated into 18 foreign languages. What follows is a brief
account of what has taken place in hardiness theorizing, and researching.

 ardiness Emerges as a Distinctive Pattern of Attitudes and


H
Strategies
The hardy attitudes questionnaire that had been used in the IBT longitudinal study
included 55 relevant items. The test had shown adequate internal consistency reliability for the commitment, control, and challenge subscales. And, of course, there

S. R. Maddi, Hardiness, SpringerBriefs in Psychology,


DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-5222-1_3, The Author(s) 2013

19

20

3 Thirty Years of Hardiness Validational Research and Practice

was evidence of validity in the tests positive relationships with subjective measures
of problem-solving coping, socially-supportive interactions, and beneficial self-care.
In addition, the hardy attitudes measure showed negative relationships with not
only subjective, but also objective measures of illness symptoms and performance
difficulties (e.g., Maddi and Kobasa 1984).
Studies beyond IBT showed similar patterns of results with such samples as
bus drivers (Bartone 1989), lawyers (Kobasa et al. 1982), and nurses (Keane et al.
1985). In these and other samples, hardy attitudes, as measured by the Personal
Views Survey (PVS) showed positive relationships with the hardy strategies, and
negative relationships with reported strain, illness symptoms, and performance
problems. But, in some studies using undergraduate samples, one of the three Cs,
challenge, was sometimes not related to the other two, commitment and c ontrol
(e.g., Funk and Houston 1987). This led to a revision of the hardiness measure to
30 items (the PVS II) that were worded in a manner relevant not only to working
adults, but college students as well. In this revision, internal consistency reliability
was improved, and the challenge subscale showed regular positive relationships
with the commitment and control subscales (Maddi 1997). Since then, two
additional revisions (the PVS III, and the PVS III-R) have taken place, with the
aim of shortening the test and improving its reliability and validity. The present
edition (PVS III-R) is only 18 items, is psychometrically improved, and has a wide
range of applicability. The general pattern with regard to these recent revisions of
the hardiness measure is that of a positive correlation between all of the 3Cs, and
each of them and the total hardy attitudes score (Maddi 1994, 1997; Maddi and
Khoshaba 2001). Consistent with this are the findings of the factor analytic study
of Sinclair and Tetrick (2000), which shows that the 3Cs are first-order, positivelycorrelated factors, that lead to the total hardy attitudes as a second-order factor.
Early on, the validity of the hardy attitudes measure was further questioned by
the alternative interpretation (e.g., Funk 1992; Funk and Houston 1987; Hull et
al. 1987) that hardy attitudes might be nothing more than the opposite of negative
affectivity, or neuroticism. That the PVS II could not be explained away like this is
indicated by a study (Maddi and Khoshaba 1994) in which hardy attitudes and an
accepted measure of negative affectivity were entered into regression a nalyses as
independent variables in the attempt to predict the clinical scales of the Minnesota
Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) as dependent variables. With the
effects of negative affectivity controlled, hardiness was still a pervasive n egative
predictor of MMPI clinical scale scores. Further undermining the negative
affectivity criticism is a study that used an objective measure of strain (Maddi
1999), showing hardiness to be higher among employees whose nurse-measured
blood pressure was in the normal range than it was among those with high blood
pressure.
The study by Maddi and Khoshaba (1994) went further in countering the
assertion that hardiness is just the opposite of negative affectivity or neuroticism. The study investigated the relationship between hardy attitudes and the
five-factor model. Those findings showed that, although the hardy attitudes measure is negatively related to the neuroticism scale of the NEO-FFI measure of the

Hardiness Emerges as a Distinctive Pattern of Attitudes and Strategies

21

five-factor model of personality, it is also positively related with all four of the
other factors (i.e., extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to
experience). Thus, recent hardy attitudes measures are more than negative affectivity. Interestingly enough, all of the five factors together only accounted for 25% of
the variance of hardiness, suggesting that the latter is not merely a combination of
the five factors as a depiction of personality. So hardiness theorizing and measurement appears to have something to contribute to psychology.
An experiential sampling study furthers the view that the hardy attitudes measure is a valid expression of participants experiences (Maddi 1999). In this study,
working adults who had already completed the PVS III were subsequently paged
at random 10 times a day for 3 days. When they were paged, their task was to
complete a short questionnaire about what they were doing, and how that was
going for them. The results indicated a positive relationship between PVS III
scores and personal descriptions that showed (1) involvement with others and
ongoing activities (commitment), (2) a sense that their ongoing experiences had
been chosen, and influenced by them (control), and (3) that there was a positive
process of learning going on in these activities (challenge).
In further studies, the expected positive correlations have been found between
the hardy attitudes measure and standard measures of (1) the hardy strategies of
problem-solving (rather than denial and avoidance) coping (e.g., Maddi 1999;
Maddi and Hightower 1999; Maddi et al. 2006), (2) socially-supportive (rather
than competitive or overprotective) interactions with others (e.g., Maddi and
Kobasa, 1984; Maddi et al. 2006), and (3) beneficial (rather than undermining)
self-care (e.g., Allred and Smith 1989; Contrada 1989; Khoshaba and Maddi 2004;
Maddi et al. 1996; Weibe and McCallum 1986). These findings support the theorizing that considers hardiness to be a pattern of attitudes and strategies that can
influence performance and health.

Hardiness Improves Health Under Stress


There are also accumulated findings indicating that hardiness renders self confidence and resiliency to people experiencing stressful changes. In this regard, a
number of studies show that hardy attitudes have a buffering effect on both strain
and illness symptoms. One such study involved the impact of a military air disaster on the health of assistance workers (Bartone et al. 1989). The higher the hardy
attitudes of the assistance workers, the less were their signs of strain and illnesses.
Also, Harvey (2005) studied undergraduates who were told that they would
have to give a difficult talk in one of their courses. The higher their hardiness
levels (which had been measured before the talk was imposed on them), the more
effectively and gracefully they responded to the stressful requirement, and the
less did they show signs of strain measured physiologically. With similar results,
Kobasa et al. (1982) studied the illness symptoms of a subsample of IBT managers
from the year before, to the year after the deregulation. Understandably, this great

22

3 Thirty Years of Hardiness Validational Research and Practice

upheaval increased the overall level of illness symptoms. But, the managers high
in hardiness showed a much lower increase than did those low in hardiness.
There is also a study by Kuo and Tsai (1986) in which hardy attitudes were
measured in a Chinese sample of people about to emigrate to the United States.
They found that, the higher the hardy attitudes levels prior to emigration, the lower
the signs of stress, strain, and illnesses in the first few years in the new country.
One possible alternative explanation to the greater tolerance of stress and
strain provided by strong hardy attitudes is that these attitudes simply e ncourage
denial and avoidance. But, there are findings showing a negative relationship
between hardy attitudes and defensive repression (Maddi et al. 2006). Repression
in this study was measured through a standard, accepted approach involving a
combination of a high score on socially-desirable responding and a low score on
anxiety (Jamner and Schwartz 1986; Myers and Steed 1999). Our findings are
consistent with the conceptualization of hardiness as a way of recognizing and
working with stress and strain, rather than denying and avoiding them.

 ardiness Improves Performance and Conduct


H
Under Stress
Consistent with the IBT results are those of many subsequent studies showing
that hardy attitudes are not only positively associated with hardy strategies, but
with enhanced performance as well. For example, Maddi and Hess (1992) measured hardy attitudes in high school, varsity basketball players from a number of
schools during the summer, before the regular sports season began. Then, they
obtained from the team coaches performance data throughout the ensuing season
on these players. The performance data involved seven characteristics, such as
number of points scored, assists, and foul-outs. The results showed that hardiness
was positively related to positive measures of performance, and negatively related
to measures of poor performance. The only performance measure not related to
hardiness was number of free throws scored. Interestingly enough, free throws are
routinely practiced every day by varsity players, and take place during the only
moments of calm in a basketball game. So, it appears that hardiness helped these
varsity players address the ongoing stresses of the games, and enhanced their
ensuing behavior.
Another sports study involved women who were competing to become members of the 1994 U.S. Olympic synchronized swimming team (Lancer 2000).
These female athletes had completed the PVS III at the beginning of the struggle
to become members of the U.S. team. Once the competition was over, it became
clear that those who made the team had higher levels of hardiness than those who
failed. Then, in the Olympics competition, the U.S. synchronized swimming team
and the team from another country tied for first place, and a playoff was necessary
to determine the winner. The U.S. team lost the playoff, and the two of its swimmers with the poorest performance were the ones with the lowest hardiness scores.

Hardiness Improves Performance and Conduct Under Stress

23

There have also been a number of studies showing a positive relationship


between hardiness and performance of military personnel in ongoing stressful
circumstances. For example, Bartone (1999) studied U.S. Army members in various stressful circumstances, such as peace-keeping and combat missions abroad.
Using various dependent variables and prospective designs, he has found considerable evidence that the lower hardy attitudes were, when measured prior to the
missions, the greater was the likelihood that life-threatening stresses and culture
shock of military engagement abroad would lead to such mental breakdowns as
depression and post-traumatic stress disorders. There have been similar findings
in studies concerning the experience of non life-threatening, non military culture
shock for American employees on work missions abroad (Atella 1989), and for
immigrants to the U.S. (Kuo and Tsai 1986).
Similar results have also been reported on people undergoing the intentionally
stressful training of military personnel. Westman (1990) studied men and women
in officer training school for the Israeli military. She measured hardiness levels
before the participants entered training, and determined their observations and performance throughout the training. The higher the hardiness, the greater was the
tendency to perceive the training as stressful, but to graduate successfully. After
all, officer training school is intended to be stressful, in order to separate the resilient from the vulnerable. If ones ability to see a problem clearly is impeded by
complacency or defensiveness, how can one cope with it effectively enough to find
a solution? Along those lines, Florian et al. (1995) found that hardiness positively
predicts mental health at the end of a 4-month combat training program for the
Israeli military. By path analysis, they showed that mediating factors included an
increase in problem-solving coping and support-seeking interaction strategies.
These findings are quite consistent with hardiness theorizing.
Also consistent with these findings on hardiness as a force in performing well
during stressful training is a study by Bartone and Snook (1999). In a group of
cadets at U.S. Military Academy, it was found that the best predictor of leadership
behavior over the 4-year training program was hardiness, measured early in the
training process. Further, it has been found that hardiness, measured in firefighter
cadets before their four-and-a-half-month, strenuous training began, predicted
who would stay in the program, and perform well (Maddi et al. 2007). A similar pattern of results is emerging in studies of male and female undergraduates.
Lifton et al. (2000) have found that among high-risk undergraduates, hardiness
measured just after their arrival on campus was a positive predictor of retention
over the 4-year program. Further, it has been shown that there is a positive correlation between hardiness and grade-point-average in undergraduates (Maddi et
al. 2009).
There are also findings showing a positive relationship between hardiness and
creativity (Maddi et al. 2006). In this, creativity was measured by the Unusual
Uses test, which provides participants with a list of everyday objects, and asks
them to indicate four ways in which each object can be used. Then, the usages are
compared for frequency across the entire sample. This showed that the higher the
hardiness, the more infrequent are the proposed usages.

24

3 Thirty Years of Hardiness Validational Research and Practice

There is also one study about hardiness and conduct (Maddi et al. 1996). This
study concerned alcohol and drug use among recent high school graduates. The
results showed that, although almost all the participants indicated that they had
tried alcohol and drugs, there was a negative relationship between hardiness and
continued use of these debilitating substances. Although these results were based
on self-report data, the findings were also confirmed by concurrent urine tests.
Additional conduct studies are currently under way.

 he Relative Effectiveness of Hardiness and Other


T
Individual Characteristics
Some additional studies have compared the relative effects of hardy attitudes and
other personality factors in determining coping strategies and performance. This
beginning emphasis on the role of various individual difference characteristics on
performance and health is very important.
An early effort of this sort compared the relative effectiveness of hardy attitudes and optimism on problem-solving and avoidance coping (Maddi and
Hightower 1999). In the first study, male and female undergraduates were administered measures of the personality characteristics of hardy attitudes and optimism,
and of both problem-solving and avoidance coping efforts. The second study followed the same pattern, but used different coping measures. In these two studies,
the stressful circumstances were the ongoing pressures of college life. To increase
the experienced stresses, the third study involved a sample of females who had
been referred by their physicians to a local hospital where their breast lumps
would be tested to see if they were cancerous. In the third study, hardy attitudes
and optimism were measured before the hospital appointment at which it would
be determined whether or not the lumps involved cancer. In regression analyses,
hardy attitudes and optimism were used as independent variables, in the attempt to
predict the coping variables as dependent variables.
The approach taken in all three studies automatically purifies the independent
variables of their effects on each other. The results of these three studies were similar, showing that hardy attitudes was positively related to problem-solving coping, and negatively related to avoidance coping. Optimism had little or no effect in
the analyses. This is clearly consistent with our theorizing about hardy attitudes as
existential courage, and suggests that there may be an element of complacency in
optimism that interferes with dealing with stressful circumstances.
Another comparative study involved U.S. Army officers at or above the rank of
Colonel, who were spending a year of additional training, as they were regarded as
leaders in their organization (Maddi et al. 2006). They completed questionnaires
concerning hardy attitudes, religiosity, and signs of depression and anger. Here,
too, regression analyses were run, with hardiness and religiosity as the independent variables, and measures of depression and anger as the dependent variables.
As expected, the hardy attitudes showed a pattern of negative relationships with

The Relative Effectiveness of Hardiness and Other Individual Characteristics

25

measures of both depression and anger, whereas religiosity had little role in these
dependent variables. But, with one of the measures of anger used, there was a
significant interaction between hardiness and religiosity. When the interaction
effect was graphed, it showed that when hardiness was high, it rather then religiosity decreased anger. But, when hardiness was low, religiosity was associated
with lower anger. The results of this study are also consistent with our theorizing
that hardy attitudes amount to the existential courage needed to deal directly with
stresses. The findings also suggest that religiosity may not be as directly relevant
to dealing effectively with stressful circumstances as is hardiness.
Also relevant are three studies done on undergraduate students (Maddi and
Khoshaba 2001). In each of these studies hardiness and one conceptually relevant variable were measured, and compared through regression analyses in their relative effectiveness in predicting subsequent grade point average (GPA). In all three studies, both
hardiness and the other personality variable showed significant positive correlations
with GPA. But, the regression analyses changed the picture. In the first study, hardiness showed a stronger relationship to GPA than did Satisfaction with Life. This seems
another expression that hardiness avoids the complacency of happiness measures,
such as optimism and satisfaction with life. In the second and third studies, hardiness
retained a positive relationship with GPA, but the other variables did not. The other
variables in these two studies concerned standard measures of academic attitudes.
Taken together, these three studies suggest that it is hardiness, rather than specific academic attitudes or general happiness that has an influence on college performance.
Another relevant study (Maddi and Matthews et al. 2011) utilizing a cohort of
1254 cadets at the U.S. Military Academy. In this study, the personality characteristics of hardiness, grit, and emotional intelligence were measured before the
training began, was evaluated as to their relative effect on the various performance
measures used in that institution at the end of the first year of training. Needless
to say, the best predictor of these performance measures was cadet performance
in high school (which had been used as a criterion for selecting applicants to be
cadets). The only personality characteristic that made an additional difference on
performance was hardiness, which positively predicted the grades at the end of
the first year of training. Also, both hardiness and grit were positive predictors of
retention during this first year of training.

Where Does Hardiness Come From?


In the research covered thus far, it appears that hardiness attitudes positively
influence performance and conduct. This positive influence may well involve the
moderating effect of problem-solving coping, socially-supportive interactions,
and beneficial self-care on accurately perceiving stresses, managing strain, and
attempting to transform the stresses to advantage by what is learned.
But, where does this important hardiness come from? Is it inherited, or learned?
And, if it is learned, how does this happen? Our relevant theorizing emphasizes

26

3 Thirty Years of Hardiness Validational Research and Practice

that hardiness is learned (Maddi and Kobasa 1984). In particular, a sense of


commitment to people and circumstances develops if the youngsters parents are
generally loving and supportive, approving their childs interactions with them and
others with encouragement and acceptance. Further, a sense of control, in the continuing efforts to fulfill goals, is encouraged when the parents make sure that the
tasks their child experiences are just a bit more difficult than what they can easily
perform. In contrast, if the tasks are too easy, there will be no resulting sense of
accomplishment or mastery. If the tasks are too hard, the child is likely to fail and
feel powerless. And, to develop a sense of challenge, the child needs to be helped
by parents to see ongoing changes as important, and a positive influence to learn,
and make the best of things. In this, the environment gets seen as full of requirements to grow and develop, and help others in this process. All together, these
three areas of positive experience build the 3Cs of hardiness, as the child develops.
Thus far, there has not been much directly relevant research on this conceptualization. But, there is one study involving a sample of managers at IBT, who were
interviewed concerning their early life experiences (Khoshaba and Maddi, 1999).
The managers included in this study were selected for interviews on the basis of
whether they had been shown to be regularly high or regularly low in hardiness,
measured by the PVS II questionnaire. The high hardiness managers, in contrast
to those who were low, described their early lives as replete with stressful changes,
such as moving from place to place, frequently meeting new people, and having
their parents change jobs. Their parents helped them to see these changes as just
what happens, and to work together in resolving the disruptions in a manner that
involved moving forward in family life. In all this, the managers, who were of
course quite young at the time, were viewed by their parents as the hope of the
family. The youngsters were encouraged, respected, and supported whenever they
tried to help the family not only survive, but also thrive.
As you can see, these results are consistent with what would be expected in the
conceptualization of how hardiness is learned. Needless to say, the weakness of
this study is that it involved retrospective interviews about early life, on the part of
managers who were already high or low in hardiness. Further studies are needed in
order to reach a firm conclusion that hardiness is a learned process. Fortunately, as
will be covered in the next chapter, there are now emerging studies showing that
hardiness training in adulthood can increase hardiness levels and improve subsequent performance.

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Bartone, P. T. (1989). Predictors of stress-related illness in city bus drivers. Journal of
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Bartone, P. T. (1999). Hardiness protects against war-related stress in army reserve forces.
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3 Thirty Years of Hardiness Validational Research and Practice

Maddi, S. R., & Hess, M. (1992). Hardiness and success in basketball. International Journal of
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hardiness. Human performance, 3, 141155.

Chapter 4

Hardiness Assessment and Training

AbstractThis chapter concerns hardiness assessment and training. With regard


to assessments, the development over many years of an effective questionnaire
measure is emphasized. Most of this work concerned the hardiness attitudes of
commitment, control, and challenge, as measured by the Personal Views Survey
III-R. This measure has also been included along with measures of hardy strategies of problem-solving coping, and socially supportive interactions, and is called
the HardiSurvey III-R. Also covered is the initial form of HardiTraining, which
has been expanded and improved over the years. The approach now emphasizes
exercises in problem-solving coping, socially supportive interactions, effective
self-care, and how the feedback obtained from these efforts deepen the hardiness attitudes. Research validation of the effectiveness of this training is included.
Finally, reference is made to our Hardiness Train-the-Trainer program.
Keywords Hardiness assessment Hardiness training Personal Views Survey
III-R HardiSurvey III-R Hardiness Train-the-Trainer program
There has now been more than 30years of hardiness theorizing, researching, and
practicing. In the facilitation of practice, the Hardiness Institute was formed more
than 20years ago. This company is licensed in California. By now, considerable
progress has been made on measuring hardiness, and determining whether it can
be effectively trained. This chapter will cover both topics.

 he Development and Effectiveness of Hardiness


T
Assessment
The measurement of hardy attitudes has improved over the years. The first measure, the Personal Views Survey, involved 50 items, and was introduced in the IBT
longitudinal study (Maddi and Kobasa 1984). Even before that study was completed, the number of items used in measuring hardy attitudes had diminished to
the 30 that most clearly showed the 3Cs of commitment, control, and challenge

S. R. Maddi, Hardiness, SpringerBriefs in Psychology,


DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-5222-1_4, The Author(s) 2013

29

30

4 Hardiness Assessment and Training

(Personal Views Survey, II). In working adults, the 3Cs measured by the Personal
Views Survey II, were positively intercorrelated, as expected conceptually, and
showed adequate reliability (as to internal consistency and stability).
But, other studies (e.g., Funk 1992; Hull et al. 1987), mostly using college student samples, found that challenge was not always positively correlated with commitment and control. This problem led us to rewrite several of the items, so that
they would be more relevant to college age samples, and that led to the Personal
Views Survey III, which also showed adequate reliability. This version of the test
showed consistent positive correlations of the 3Cs, and strong positive correlations of them with total hardiness scores (cf. Maddi 2002). Indeed, factor analysis
results showed that the three Cs were consistent with interrelated first order factors
that lead to a composite second order factor (Sinclair and Tetrick 2000).
The latest version of the hardy attitudes test is the Personal Views Survey III-R.
It is formed of the empirically best 18 of the 30 items of the previous version of
the test (Maddi et al. 2006). In this test version, the 3cs show strong positive intercorrelations with each other, and with the total hardiness score. Internal consistency reliability is adequate for each of the 3cs, and for the total hardiness score.
And, there is growing evidence of empirical validity. Each of the 3cs is measured
by three positively and three negatively worded items. Examples of items are, for
commitment, I often wake up eager to take up life wherever it left off (positive indicator) and Its hard to imagine anyone getting excited about working
(negative indicator); for control, When I make plans, Im certain I can make them
work, (positive indicator) and Most of what happens in life is just meant to be
(negative indicator); and for challenge, Changes in routine provoke me to learn
(positive indicator) and I am not equipped to handle unexpected problems of life
(negative indicator). In general, the major use of the Personal Views Survey is in
research (e.g., Maddi 2002).
But, there is also the HardiSurvey, III-R (copyrighted and trademarked by the
Hardiness Institute), a 65 item questionnaire which includes, along with the just
discussed measure of hardy attitudes, measures of hardy (problem-solving) coping, and hardy (socially-supportive) interactions. Also included are measures
of stress, strain, and regressive (avoidance) coping. Taken together, the scores
on these various scales produce a comprehensive report of stress resilience and
stress vulnerability, along with recommendations as to what needs to be done
to strengthen resilience. In this regard, the extensive norms maintained by the
Hardiness Institute, are used to evaluate the scores of individuals taking the test.
The most resilient pattern involves relatively high scores on hardy attitudes, hardy
coping, hardy interactions, and hardy self-care, especially if the stress and strain
scores that reflect ongoing experiences are also high. The most vulnerable pattern
includes low scores on one or more of the hardy attitudes, coping, interactions,
and self-care, and relatively high scores on stress, strain, and regressive coping.
Needless to say, there are also mixed patterns. The HardiSurvey III-R, which is
typically used in consulting or counseling work (though it can also be taken by
individuals interested in their own patterns), is available on line at www.Hardiness
Institute.com.

The Development and Effectiveness of Hardiness Assessment

31

Percentile Ranks
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95
Stress
Strain
Regressive Coping
HardiAttitudeTM
HardiCopingTM
Work Support
Social Support
Vulnerability to
Change Factors
Personal Effectiveness
Overall Personal Effectiveness

Fig.4.1 Your personalized HardiSurveyIII-R score summary

As an example, Fig.4.1 shows the graph from the report of a person who
has completed the HardiSurvey III-R. As you can see from the percentile scores
(which are based on our normative base), this person has stress, strain, and regressive coping scores that are higher than the norms. This indicates a stressful environment, which may sometimes be reacted to with denial and avoidance. But, the
persons hardy attitudes, hardy coping, and hardy work and family social support
scores are considerably higher than the norms, indicating considerable involvement in turning stresses to developmental advantage. Understandably, this pattern leads to a stress effectiveness score that is very high as to the norms, and also
much higher than the persons own overall vulnerability score. All in all, the overall score shows that this person is handling the stressful environment quite well,
and growing and developing in the process.

The Initial Development of Hardiness Training


There is now also a well-delineated, and empirically validated procedure for training hardiness (Khoshaba and Maddi 2004). This training effort began at Illinois
Bell Telephone, in the years following the traumatic deregulation of the telephone
industry (Maddi et al. 1998). As the upheaval further and further undermined the
performance and health of managers, the decision-makers at the company came
to us for help. They were so pleased with our valuable research efforts, but hoped
that we could somehow participate in helping managers survive and thrive in the
new, competitive business environment into which they had been thrust.

32

4 Hardiness Assessment and Training

We arranged a course schedule that involved 12 once-a-week meetings for


doing hardiness training exercises that we put together through our ongoing conceptualization of what leads to resilience under stress (Maddi 1987). The course
was made available to Illinois Bell Telephone managers on a voluntary basis.
Each course was limited to 20 managers, so that they and the trainer would have a
chance to interact. Our general conceptualization was to put the managers through
exercises that involved hardy (problem-solving) coping, and to then have them use
the feedback they obtained from carrying out these exercises to deepen their hardy
attitudes. Thus, they were not only learning how to take steps to turn their stressful
circumstances to their advantage, but also deepening their courage and motivation
to do this hard work, when the encouragement of the trainer was no longer available to them. Specifically, we would present the exercises in class, and then instruct
the course members to carry out the exercises in their own lives, during the week
in between sessions. In each session, class members would share with each other
and the trainer how things had gone for them during their week of trying the exercises out in their living.

The First Hardy Coping Step is Situational Reconstruction


In the first session, class members were introduced to each other and the trainer,
and informed of the efforts they would be using throughout the course and thereafter, in the attempt to turn stressful circumstances to their advantage. Their
homework assignment in the following week was to make a list of the stressful
circumstances they were currently experiencing, that they had not yet resolved.
In the second session, they began to learn about the first mental step in hardy
coping, which is called Situational Reconstruction (Khoshaba and Maddi 2004).
This involves each of them selecting a stressful circumstance from their list, and
thinking about it various ways. Specifically, they tried to imagine how the stressor
could actually become worse, and also, how it could become better. Whatever
would make it worse or better is up to them, as that involves their view of what
makes sense in their lives. Once having determined what would make the stressor
better or worse, they were encouraged to make up stories about how the better and
worse versions would actually happen. Once having done this, they are asked to
come up with what they could actually do that would decrease the likelihood of
the stressor getting worse, and increase the likelihood of it getting better. If the
trainee goes through these steps of Situational Reconstruction effectively, this is
called the first scenario, which prepares him/her for constructing an Action Plan
that can turn the stressor to advantage.
In working on Situational Reconstruction, James provided a good example
of this first scenario. Like all managers at Illinois Bell Telephone, he was overwhelmed by the disruptions and unpredictability produced by the federal deregulation of the telephone industry. But, this did not stop him from working through
Situational Reconstruction. In this, James realized that things could be even worse

The First Hardy Coping Step is Situational Reconstruction

33

by his losing his job, and even better by his earning a central role in the newlyevolving company. He also realized that he could help his and the new companys
situation to improve by taking an active role in trying to figure out what is needed
to be done in order for the organization to not only survive, but also to take a central role in the new telecommunications industry. He realized that, in order to do
this, he would have to keep an open mind about possible developments, keep talking to peers, and supervisors about this, and try to learn from this process. Soon, in
this process, he was ready to come up with a specific Action Plan, and carry it out.

The Second Hardy Coping Step is Focusing


But, trainees sometimes cannot navigate the steps of Situational Reconstruction
effectively. They get stuck, rather than come up with lots of good ideas of what
can be done. One frequent reason for this is that delving into the stressful circumstance arouses painful emotions that the trainee defends against. This defensive
attempt to avoid the negative feelings may well have a stifling effect on imagination. And, without your imagination working, you will get stuck, rather than come
up with routes to solution of the problem. After all, routes to solution of stressors
require that you have the courage to see the problem clearly, and figure out what
needs to be done.
So, when trainees get stuck doing Situational Reconstruction, they are encouraged to try the second step in Hardy Coping, which is Focusing (Gendlin 1978;
Khoshaba and Maddi 2004). This involves trying to see beyond your defensive
protection efforts, realize your true emotional state, and take this insight into
account in trying to come up with an Action Plan. In doing this, you direct your
attention to the messages your body is sending you, when you consider the stressful circumstance. Examples of such messages are rapid heart beating, rumbling
stomach, neck and shoulder aches, and muscle tension. In trying to make sense
out of these bodily symptoms, you may well come up with a new way of thinking
about the stressful circumstance, which we call an emotionally-based insight. If
you get such an insight, you go back to trying Situational Reconstruction again,
with the inclusion of the insights based on Focusing, and see if this gets you
unstuck, so that you can now come up with an Action Plan. We call this the second
scenario in hardy coping.
Arthurs efforts at hardy coping represent a good example of this second scenario. A Latino immigrant, he was so pleased when he became a manager at Illinois Bell. His increase in salary led him to buy his first home, where
he believed he and his family would feel happy and secure. The house was on
the edge of a park in the middle of Chicago, and he could afford it because the
housing market was declining, as wealthy people were tending to move to the
suburbs, to avoid the increasing influx of poor immigrants in the city. Imagine
how he felt when he finished work and went home to the new house for the first
time, and found a group of gang members hanging out on his front lawn. His

34

4 Hardiness Assessment and Training

enthusiasm changed to anger, as he rushed into the house to avoid the intruders
and check on the well-being of his family.
Needless to say, this experience with the gang members was his stressful circumstance. When he tried to work on it with Situational Reconstruction, he kept
getting stuck, as his anger got in the way of his thinking broadly and imaginatively. He could not imagine how things could possibly get worse. And, the only
way he could think of trying to make things better was by killing the gang members, which, of course, would also make things worse when he got arrested. He
could not imagine various versions of the situation, and how some might lead to
better solutions than others. The first scenario was not working.
So, we encouraged him to try Focusing. Although it was difficult for him to listen to the messages his body was giving him, he finally was able to focus enough
so that he came up with an emotionally based insight. That insight was that, behind
his anger, was tremendous fear. He had defended against the fear because he liked
to see himself as a tough person, who had overcome disadvantages. When he took
the insight about fear back to efforts with Situational Reconstruction, he realized
that acting on his anger would make things worse, whereas taking his fear seriously could help him find some way of improving things for himself and his family, by helping the gang members assimilate into society, so that they too would be
better off. This successful second scenario led him toward an Action Plan.

 he Third Hardy Coping Step is Compensatory


T
Self-Improvement
Sometimes, in attempting to resolve a stressful circumstance, trainees get stuck
trying Situational Reconstruction, and get no emotionally based insight when they
try Focusing. They are then permitted, through these unsuccessful efforts to cope,
to conclude that the stressful circumstance they are experiencing is given (i.e.,
something they cannot change with their current capabilities). This leads them to
the third scenario in hardy coping, which involves the technique of Compensatory
Self-Improvement (Maddi 1987). In this, the trainees effort shifts to finding
another stressful circumstance that in his/her view is related to the one that cannot be resolved, and work on that other circumstance instead. The overall view in
this is that the best a person can ask is to be working on the stresses that can be
resolved, and accepting the others that were not workable. This is what we call the
third scenario, in the attempt to find a workable Action Plan.
Evelyns efforts provide a good example of this third scenario. Her stressful circumstance was that her husband had come home one day and announced that he
thought he had fallen in love with another woman, and did not know what to do. He
was not ready to separate from Evelyn, as he thought he also still loved her. But, the
other woman was constantly on his mind. When she tried Situational Reconstruction,
Evelyn concluded that things could be worse (if he left her), and better (if he came to
love her more than the other woman), and her Action Plan involved doing everything

The Third Hardy Coping Step is Compensatory Self-Improvement

35

she could to make their lives together more intimate and satisfying. To try to get over
their having drifted apart, she tried her best to make their lives together more close.
She cooked wonderful meals, arranged for them to spend more time together doing
things that could bring them closer. She kept this up for months, but by then, she
was exhausted and what she had tried did not work. He still felt love for the other
woman, and decided to separate from Evelyn, so that he could see whether the other
woman was right for him.
At that point, Evelyn felt she could do nothing more about the relationship, and
engaged in Compensatory Self-Improvement instead. She chose to try to get over
her phobia of skiing, which had existed her whole life. Whenever she got up on the
slope, her heart would beat rapidly, she would shake, and have to back off. Indeed,
her husband was an inveterate skier, and for years, he and she would go on skiing
weekends. He would spend the day on the slopes, and she would be back in the
hotel watching TV. In the evenings, when he and other skiers would be sharing
their experiences on the slopes, she had nothing to say. So, Evelyn put together an
Action Plan to overcome her phobia.

 he Previous Steps Lead to Formulating and Carrying out


T
an Action Plan
Whether the trainee is involved in the first, second, or third scenario of the mental
work of hardy coping, he/she is led to using what has been learned to formulate
an Action Plan which could help in resolving the stressful circumstance. Action
Plans are comprised of an overall goal, and the instrumental steps that need to be
taken to reach the goal (Maddi 1987). In addition, the order in which the instrumental steps need to be taken should also be indicated. As the Action Plan is carried out, the trainee needs to use the feedback obtained in this process to deepen
the hardy attitudes of commitment, control, and challenge (Maddi 1987). In this,
when the support given by the trainer is over, the trainees deepened hardy attitudes will give the courage and motivation for him/her to continue to do the hard
work of hardy coping. The three sources of feedback involved are seeing (1) how
your efforts have helped, (2) how others have observed and supported your efforts,
and (3) what the effect on resolving the stressor has been. What follows are summaries of how James, Arthur, and Evelyn carried out Action Plans, and deepened
their hardy attitudes in the process.
Jamess Action Plan involved the goal of becoming considered a central person
in the attempt of Illinois Bell Telephone to be a successful company in the new telecommunications industry. One instrumental step toward this goal involved meeting with his supervisor, and indicating that he would try to take an active approach
to help the company develop by becoming competitive. He started meeting with
fellow managers, to discuss with them what could be done to turn the deregulation to their advantage. In addition, he searched for and read articles and books
that were relevant. When he would come up with relevant ideas as to what should

36

4 Hardiness Assessment and Training

be done, he would share them with his fellow managers and supervisors, listening
carefully to their feedback, and seeing where that led. Soon, the others saw him as
someone to turn to, and as a stimulus to what is needed to be done. Before long,
he became a decision-maker in the company. In that process, he used the feedback he obtained from evaluating himself, and from what his fellow managers and
supervisors thought of him and his ideas, as a basis for further building his hardy
attitudes.
Arthurs Action Plan involved minimizing the conflict between the local gang
members and him and his family. In this, the overall goal was to make it possible
for him and his family to feel secure and fulfilled in their new home. As you know,
Arthur had come to realize that this process would involve his helping the gang
members to assimilate better with his family and those of other neighbors in the
community. The instrumental steps leading to this involved Arthur meeting with
other neighbors who were worried about the gang activities, and forming a community organization, so that they could work together to implement solutions. One
concrete step in this process was for the neighbors to contribute money, so that they
could rent a local, empty store, and turn it over to the gang members as a meeting
place. This got them off the streets and Arthurs front lawn. Another concrete step
involved some of the neighbors becoming mentors for the gang members, to help
them understand how their lives would improve by engaging in more constructive
interactions with members of the community. Also, involved here was trying to
convince the gang members that staying in, and working hard at school would lead
them to a better life. Once this approach continued long enough to convince the
gang members that the neighbors not only cared about them, but knew how to help
them, the entire neighborhood began to improve dramatically. The gang members
and the neighbors began to believe in each other, and work to help each other.
When last I heard from Arthur, he was being invited by other communities in
the city to give talks on how he and his community organization had helped turn
poor immigrants into constructive citizens. Needless to say, Arthur had lots of
feedback on his efforts that deepened his hardy attitudes, and helped him to recognize that anger was not the solution to his stressful circumstance.
The goal of Evelyns Action Plan was to overcome her skiing phobia. An
instrumental step in the process involved her enrolling in a skiing class, and making sure that the teacher knew about her phobia. However difficult the class was
for her, she kept going. At one point, she even felt embarrassed, as the teacher
of the class, and the other class members, were young enough to be her children.
But, as she persisted, she realized that the teacher and other students liked helping mom with her problem. They were so excited and supportive, whenever
she made some progress. And, she began to realize through this progress, that
she could actually do what she had never thought was possible. Not only was she
actually able to ski, but the feedback this involved from the others and herself
deepened her hardy attitudes. Indeed, she began to be able to ski with less fear,
and even went on skiing weekends without her husband. Needless to say, he began
to see her as more attractive, and she apologized to him for not having tried to
overcome the phobia sooner.

The Effectiveness of the Initial Form of Hardiness Training

37

The Effectiveness of the Initial Form of Hardiness


Training
A systematic research study (Maddi 1987) corroborated these individual signs. In
particular, a group of IBT managers who applied for and went through hardiness
training following the industry upheaval were evaluated for their hardiness and
for several signs of performance and health, both during and following the training. This experimental group was compared to a control group, which consisted
of demographically similar managers who had applied for the hardiness training,
but could not be trained immediately, and were put on a waiting list. The control
group managers were tested in the same ways and at the same times as were those
in the experimental group.
The results of this study were quite consistent with conceptual expectations.
From the beginning to the end of training, the experimental group showed a much
larger increase in hardiness attitudes and hardy coping than did the control group.
Further, at the end of training, the experimental group showed less subjectively
experienced stress and strain, and a greater degree of learning and fulfillment on
the job, than did the control group.
There were also some more objective measures used in this study, and the
results of them supported the self-report indices already mentioned. In particular,
the job evaluations of the managers after the training period was completed, were
higher in the experimental group than were those of the control group. Important
in this is that the supervisors making the job evaluations did not know that the
experimental and control group managers were undergoing hardiness training or
waiting for it. In addition, the medical evaluations of the managers in this study
showed that, following the hardiness training period, the experimental group
was in better shape than the control group. In particular, the experimental group
showed fewer managers having high blood pressure levels following the training
than was true of the control group.
This study also involved retesting the participants 6months after the end of hardiness training (which was still before the control group was actually offered the
training). The differences in results between the experimental and control groups
already mentioned continued through this 6month period. Overall, it appears that
the training of hardy coping and hardy attitudes was effective in this study.

 he Further Development of the HardiTraining


T
Program
Over the years since the Illinois Bell longitudinal study, the hardiness training program has been expanded to include additional components. In particular,
there is now also training for interacting with others in a socially supportive way,
and engaging in beneficial self-care. My colleague, Deborah Khoshaba, has been

38

4 Hardiness Assessment and Training

instrumental in this development of a more complete training program (Khoshaba


and Maddi 2004).
The hardy social support component involves exercises that help the trainees
determine which, if any, of their interactions with significant others are conflictful. The relationships that are conflictful are the subject matter of the training,
which involves techniques for resolving the conflicts interactively, rather than letting them persist, or avoiding them. Important here is the practice of effective listening, effective communicating, and using these activities to replace the conflict
with a mutual pattern of giving and getting assistance and encouragement in living (Khoshaba and Maddi 2004). As in hardy coping, the trainee is taught how to
use the feedback obtained from socially supportive interactions to deepen his/her
hardy attitudes. Case study examples of this training component show that trainees
can greatly transform conflictful relationships into ones that deepen their enjoyment of, and commitment to relationships with others.
The beneficial self-care component (Khoshaba and Maddi 2004) involves exercises that help the trainee to recognize the importance of keeping bodily arousal
levels from becoming either too high (which undermines coping efforts), or too
low (which involves insufficient energy), and remaining physically healthy in that
process. One component of beneficial self-care training involves using relaxation
techniques (such as meditation, and deep breathing), when arousal gets too high.
Another training component involves recognizing, but not giving into wishes to
eat too sweet and fatty foods, as stresses mount. In this, the trainee learns that his/
her body can become accustomed to healthy food and drink, even if it does not
seem satisfying at first. The third training component involves learning the value
of the level of physical exercise that is consistent with keeping up ones energy,
without overdoing things. There are many case study examples of the value of this
hardiness training component. As with the other components, the trainee is taught
how to use the feedback obtained through beneficial self-care to deepen the hardy
attitudes.

The Effectiveness of the HardiTraining Program


The expanded version of the training program is now called HardiTraining, and
comprises a comprehensive approach to deepening hardy attitudes and skills so as
to increase the likelihood of turning stressful circumstances from potential disasters into growth opportunities instead. There is a detailed workbook that includes
provocative examples of both positive and negative ways of dealing with stresses,
detailed exercises to promote the positive ways, and checkpoints for determining
ones progress (Khoshaba and Maddi 2004). This workbook is intended for the
trainees to use with the supervision of a Certified Hardiness Trainer.
The HardiTraining program is comprehensive, involving not only hardy
attitudes, but also hardy coping, social support, relaxation, nutrition, and exercise.
The latter five are often called the fingers of the hand, with hardy attitudes being

The Effectiveness of the HardiTraining Program

39

the palm of the hand. The hardiness training components all work together, forming an effective hand, as it were. But, it is also true that the HardiTraining program is designed to be flexible. Any combination of, or all of the hardy skills may
be included, as long as there remains emphasis on the feedback from efforts that
will build the hardy attitudes. A frequent guide as to whether the entire training
program is needed, or only certain parts of it will do, is the results of the prospective trainees HardiSurvey III-R (available at www.HardinessInstitute.com). In
this regard, it is valuable to administer the HardiSurvey III-R before HardiTraining
begins.
In general, HardiTraining has a preventative effect, by giving trainees the
strength and conviction to resolve stresses, and turn what is learned to advantage.
Important in this is so-called tertiary prevention, which is for people whose health
or performance is already compromised. For them, HardiTraining will help them
not to be further undermined, and give them a greater likelihood of improving.
Included here may be people who are suffering from degenerative diseases (e.g.,
heart disease, cancer), and law-breakers who need rehabilitation. HardiTraining is
also relevant to secondary prevention, where people are at risk of, but have not
yet undergone health or performance decrements. This includes people in especially risky and stressful professions (e.g., military personnel on combat or peacekeeping missions, police officers, and firefighters), or people whose work or
private lives are especially disrupted (because of such things as divorces, or deaths
in the family, or company divestitures, or mergers). The HardiTraining done at
Illinois Bell Telephone following the deregulation of the telephone industry is a
good example of secondary prevention. In our tumultuous times, however, it is
essential that HardiTraining also be applied in primary prevention, where the people involved have not yet encountered the level of stresses that threaten to undermine them, but are likely to in the future. For example, the training should include
youngsters in school, so that they be adequately prepared in adulthood to turn the
rising tide of disruptive changes into opportunities rather than let them become
disasters.
By now, two empirical studies have been done on the effectiveness of the
more complete HardiTraining approach. Both studies involved college students,
who took HardiTraining as a regular credit course. In both studies, the textbook
involved was the HardiTraining workbook (Khoshaba and Maddi 2004), and the
teachers were Certified Hardiness Trainers.
The first study (Maddi et al. 2002) involved high-risk students, who had just
entered a community college. They were considered high-risk because they were
either recent immigrants, below the poverty level, from broken families, or some
combination of these factors. So, the study fits into the category of secondary
prevention. Each of two Certified Hardiness Trainers taught the HardiTraining
courses, with enrollments of 20 students each. The students were tested with
the HardiSurvey III-R (Maddi and Khoshaba 2001), both at the beginning and
end of the training. The control goup was comprised of high-risk students who
took similarly-sized, semester courses emphasizing other facilitative procedures,
such as time-management and study skills. Students in the control group were

40

4 Hardiness Assessment and Training

also tested with the HardiSurvey III-R at the beginning and end of the course.
Results of this first study showed that, by comparison with the control course, the
HardiTraining course led to greater increases in hardy attitudes and skills, and to
higher grade-point-average (GPA) 6months later.
The second study (Maddi et al. 2009) involved undergraduate students at a
large college who took the HardiTraining as a regular credit, quarter-long course.
Also, the teachers of this course were also Certified Hardiness Trainers, and the
textbook was also the HardiTraining workbook. Each of the courses forming the
experimental group sample were enrolled in by somewhat more than 100 students.
The control group involved demographically similar students who took other
courses taught by the same teachers. In both the experimental and control groups,
the HardiSurvey III-R was administered at the beginning and end of the relevant
course, and GPAs at graduation were obtained for the students as well. Although a
few of the students in this study were high-risk, most were not. So, the study falls
in the category of primary prevention.
This was a carefully controlled study. There were no differences between the
experimental and control groups in either GPA or hardy attitudes and skills before
the class began. At the end of the class, the experimental group (which had taken
HardiTraining) was higher in hardy attitudes and skills, and lower in experienced
stress and strain, than was the control group. Then, 624months later, at graduation, the students who had taken HardiTraining showed higher GPAs than did
those who had taken some other course taught by the same teacher.
The results of these two studies indicate that HardiTraining is effective
in improving performance in the ongoingly stressful circumstances of college life. What is needed now in systematically evaluating the effectiveness of
HardiTraining are additional studies involving other participants than college students, and other indices of performance and health.

Becoming a Certified Hardiness Trainer


As indicated earlier, it is possible for individuals to undergo HardiTraining
through using the HardiTraining workbook, with the supervision of a Certified
Hardiness Trainer. This approach is especially useful for groups of trainees working together, which often happens when HardiTraining is done in organizations.
To facilitate this latter approach, the Hardiness Institute has a well-developed
Train-the-Trainer Program. Typically, professionals who qualify for this program have backgrounds and experience in psychology, social work, nursing,
teaching, or human resources functioning. These professionals go through a
two-step process in becoming Certified Hardiness Trainers.
The first step is participation of prospective trainers in an intensive, 3day group
session led by one or more Certified Hardiness Trainers, this training utilizes the
HardiTraining workbook and other materials, and emphasizes what it is like to
train others in how to increase in hardiness. Important in this process are definitive
examples of training strengths and weaknesses.

Becoming a Certified Hardiness Trainer

41

Once this first step has been completed successfully by the prospective trainers,
the second step begins. This second step involves the prospective trainer employing
what has been learned with whatever small groups of trainees are available to him/
her through consulting or human resources work. In this process, the prospective
trainer remains in close contact with the Certified Hardiness Trainer who helped
put him/her through the first step. This contact involves obtaining feedback as to
how the prospective trainer can continue to improve. The interaction can occur in
person, by phone or email, or both. Typically, this second step takes 46months,
depending on how often the prospective trainer engages in trying to apply what has
been learned to the hardiness levels of others. Once this second step has been successfully completed, the prospective trainer becomes a Certified Hardiness Trainer.
From this point on, the Hardiness Institute remains in contact with the
Certified Hardiness Trainer, in order to make available any ongoing changes in the
HardiTraining program, and continue to help with any problems that may arise. At
the present time, there are Certified Hardiness Trainers in various cities in the U.S.
and around the world.

References
Funk, S. C. (1992). Hardiness: A review of theory and research. Health Psychology, 11, 335345.
Gendlin, E. (1978). Focusing (2nd Ed.). New York: Bantam.
Hull, J. G., Van Treuren, R. R., & Virnelli, S. (1987). Hardiness and health: A critique and alternative approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 518530.
Khoshaba, D. M., & Maddi, S. R. (2004). HardiTraining: Managing stressful change (5th ed.).
Irvine: Hardiness Institute.
Maddi, S. R. (1987). Hardiness training at Illinois bell telephone. In J. P. Opatz (Ed.), Health
promotion evaluation. Stevens Point: National Wellness Institute.
Maddi, S.R. (2002). The story of hardiness: Twenty years of theorizing, research, and practice.
Consulting Psychology Journal, 54, (3), 173185.
Maddi, S. R., Kahn, S., & Maddi, K. L. (1998). The effectiveness of hardiness training.
Consulting Psychology Journal, 50, 7886.
Maddi, S. R., & Khoshaba, D. M. (2001). HardiSurvey III-R: Test development and internet
instruction manual. Irvine: Hardiness Institute.
Maddi, S. R., & Kobasa, S. C. (1984). The hardy executive: Health under stress. Homewood:
Dow Jones-Irwin.
Maddi, S. R., Khoshaba, D. M., Jensen, K., Carter, E., Lu, J., & Harvey, R. H. (2002). Hardiness
training for high-risk undergraduates. NACADA Journal, 22, 4555.
Maddi, S. R., Harvey, R. H., Khoshaba, D. M., Lu, J. H., Persico, M., & Brow, M. (2006). The
personality construct of hardiness, III: Relationships with repression, innovativeness, authoritarianism, and performance. Journal of Personality, 74, 575598.
Maddi, S.R., Harvey, R.H., Khoshaba, F.M., & Resurreccion, N. (2009). Hardiness training facilitates performance in college. Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 566577.
Sinclair, R. R., & Tetrick, L. E. (2000). Implications of item wording for hardiness structure,
relation with neuroticism, and stress buffering. Journal of Research in Personality, 34, 125.

Chapter 5

Raising Hardy Children

Abstract The nature of the interaction between parents and their young is very
important, as hardiness has been shown to be learned. As to the hardy attitudes,
socially supportive interactions lead to a sense of commitment, early environments
permitting mastery lead to a sense of control, and ongoing changes construed as
richness of experience lead to a sense of challenge. As to the hardy strategies of
action, an emphasis on recognizing and solving problems leads to hardy c oping,
an emphasis on supportive interactions leads to hardy social support, and an
emphasis on what one needs leads to hardy self-care. In all this, parents need to
admire, respect, and love their young.
Keywords Parent/child interactions Supportive interactions Moderately
difficult tasks Richness through changes Problem-solving Supportive
relationships Self-care Admiration Respect Love
The expanding evidence that the hardiness pattern of attitudes and skills
enhances performance and health under stress certainly indicates the importance of trying to encourage this pattern in youngsters (Maddi 2002). Although
there is no evidence to indicate whether hardiness is inherited, there is certainly
research indicating that hardiness can be increased through relevant training. As
covered in the previous chapter, it has been shown that HardiTraining increases
not only hardiness, but also performance and health, in college students. This
chapter covers conceptualization of how parents can increase the hardiness of
their children.
Early in their lives, children have little understanding of themselves and their
world, but they do have needs and capabilities that push for expression. Children
depend on others for things such as food, water, security, and love. But, there may
also be individual differences in how these needs are approached. One child may
have the capability for vigorous, frequent muscular actions, and for social extroversion, whereas another may tend toward self-reflection, inactivity, and social
introversion. A third child may be especially sensitive, empathic, and emotionally
expressive. In any event, needs and capabilities jointly define the childs input to
interaction with parents.

S. R. Maddi, Hardiness, SpringerBriefs in Psychology,


DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-5222-1_5, The Author(s) 2013

43

44

5 Raising Hardy Children

To be sure, parents also have needs and capabilities, and these get expressed in
individual ways in their interactions with their children. But, parents have lived
long enough to have views about themselves, the world, and child rearing, and
their beliefs also influence how they interact. In all this, the nature of the interactions children have with their parents leads them, over time, to develop general
viewpoints or dispositions toward themselves and their environments. Some of
these dispositions help to develop, whereas others stifle hardiness.

The Hardy Attitudes


As indicated earlier, the 3Cs of hardy attitudes are commitment, control, and
challenge. Together, these 3Cs provide the existential courage and motivation to
carry out the hardy strategies of problem-solving coping, socially supportive
interactions, and beneficial self-care (Maddi 1994, 1998). It is important, therefore,
to consider how the 3Cs may be learned in the interactions youngsters have with
their parents and mentors.

 upportive Early Interactions Build the Hardy


S
Attitude of Commitment
Commitment is the component of hardy attitudes that involves experiencing ones environment and self as interesting, worthwhile, and satisfying, rather
than dull, meaningless, and frustrating. A strong sense of commitment in adulthood may well result from the overall degree to which the interactions children
had with their parents were supportive, in the sense of providing encouragement
and acceptance (Maddi 2002). When parents meet their childrens efforts to satisfy
their needs by interacting with them in a manner showing approval, interest, and
encouragement, the children feel supported and, on this basis, come to view self
and world as interesting and worthwhile. But, if parents are generally neglectful,
or hostile and disapproving toward their childrens expression of needs and potentialities, the children come to view the world as empty and worthless. What is
important in the development of commitment is the overall degree of parental support, rather than just any one or two interactions that were traumatic or wonderful.
There are many reasons why parents might be consistently unsupportive of
their children. For example, parents might be too wrapped up in their work lives
away from the family, or be continually resentful because they did not want the
burden that children bring. Another common problem is that parents themselves
may be so overwhelmed that they slip into becoming neglectful and ungiving to
others. Nor can it help if parents have come to recognize that they do not love
each other. In contrast, parents who find family interactions fulfilling, who are
managing to cope with their own lives, and who appreciate rather than resent their
children, are much more likely to be supportive of them.

Supportive Early Interactions Build the Hardy Attitude of Commitment

45

There is a particularly damaging (though subtle) way in which parents can be


unsupportive, and thereby undermining of their childs sense of commitment to self
and world. This occurs when parents impose on their children preconceived notions
of what is acceptable and admirable despite the fact that these notions are at variance with the natural expressions of the childs capabilities and needs. A female
child who is naturally very physical may be regarded by her parent as unladylike and
be supported only for signs of emotional sensitivity and imaginativeness. Similarly,
a naturally sensitive and imaginative male child may be considered unmanly and be
supported only when he shows signs of physical prowess and aggression.
In this way, children may be forced to conform to parental expectations rather
than express their capabilities vigorously. The result is a developing person who
appears outwardly adjusted but carries around a nagging, restless sense that something important is missing, and that life as currently lived is not enough. To avoid
this sense of alienation (rather than commitment) in their offspring, parents need
to support them, not out of rigid preconceptions of what will be best for them, but
rather out of respect for the importance of the individuality that will result from
natural expression of a childs capabilities and interests.

 arly Environments Permitting Mastery Build


E
the Hardy Attitude of Control
Why do some people believe that, and act as if, they can influence ongoing events,
whereas others passively succumb to being the victims of circumstances? These
differences in the hardy attitude of control may reflect the overall proportion of
mastery, as opposed to failure experiences, in early life. As they grow older, childrens developing physical and mental capabilities lead them to try to accomplish
things. Their own needs and abilities define many competing goals for them to
strive toward. When children succeed, they have a sense of masteryand when
they fail, a sense of failure. Arenas for mastery or failure may include cleaning
and dressing oneself, finding ones way outside the home, interacting with others,
getting school work done, riding a bicycle, and so forth.
As they develop, it is best for children when the tasks they encounter are just
a bit more difficult than what they already know well enough to easily perform.
If the task is too easy, succeeding at it will not bring a sense of accomplishment
or mastery. Conversely, if the task is too hard, the child is likely to fail and feel
powerless. What builds a sense of control is for the childs interaction with the
environment to involve predominantly tasks than can be mastered because they
are moderate in difficulty (McClelland 1958). If that is so, children will sense that
they are able to influence things, and will learn a willingness to act on that sense.
But, if the largest proportion of the childs tasks are so hard as to provoke failure,
powerlessness will be learned instead.
When children encounter too many hard tasks, it is often because their parents
are subtly competing with them. Out of resentment and an investment in exercising

46

5 Raising Hardy Children

power over children, some parents may actually impose tasks of such difficulty on
their children that their failure is common. Then the child can be chastised for not
having tried hard enough, thus providing what appears as a socially acceptable basis
for punishment and rejection. If children encounter, instead, many tasks that are too
easy, it usually means that parents are being overprotective. Although there is less
parental resentment in this approach, it is actually just another way for parents to
exercise power over their children. The assumption is that children are too weak and
incapable to do anything on their own, so they need the parents superior competence.
However, parents who are genuinely interested in their children feeling and acting in
an independently competent fashion make the effort to ensure that the childs tasks
are generally of moderate difficulty, and are appreciative of the youngsters efforts.

 ngoing Changes Construed as Richness Build


O
the Hardy Attitude of Challenge
Why do some people expect life changes to be frequent and stimulating, whereas
others expect stability and regard change as nothing more than a disruption of
security? This difference in the hardy attitude of challenge reflects the degree to
which a persons early environment changedand whether those changes were
regarded as richness or as chaos. An early life environment may have many large,
obvious changes (e.g., many trips to foreign countries, many changes in residence,
and many different visitors to the home). But, more subtle changes (e.g., varying
tasks to perform around the home, interacting with parents and siblings who talk
and act in differing ways because they are in a vigorous developmental process
themselves, and having many hobbies) are perhaps even more important.
Neither obvious nor subtle changes are by themselves sufficient to build the
hardy attitude of challenge. In fact, children may be overwhelmed by continual
change unless they are helped to see it as richness rather than chaos. Parents
must themselves see changes as interesting and developmentally valuable so that
they can communicate this to their children. In the communication, parents must
encourage their children to use their mental capabilities to conceive the challenges
as signs of richness and possibility. In contrast, parents who themselves are disrupted by changes, and communicate this, are understandably unable to help their
children learn to feel challenged rather than threatened.
It is especially important for parents to help their children build the attitude of
challenge because, as indicated in Chap. 3, life is by its nature a stressful phenomenon. Each stage in a persons development, from birth to old age, involves not only
changes but also requirements for personal change and growth. And the stresses of
this developmental process can be exacerbated by imposed megatrends of change,
such as economic downturns, wars, and dramatic technological advances.
It is therefore useful to consider some examples of how parents may help their
children by turning them on to the richness, rather than threats, of experiential
changes. For example, suppose your child makes a drawing of a human face in

Ongoing Changes Construed as Richness Build the Hardy Attitude of Challenge

47

which although the nose and mouth are within the face, the eyes are off to the side
of the sheet. Many parents would see their task as making sure their child knows
he/she made a mistake that needs to be corrected. But, the way of encouraging
richness of experience might involve reacting positively, such as Wow u sually
the eyes are within the head, but you wanted to put them outside. Maybe that
means something, like that person just saw something that was so exciting that its
almost as if his eyes popped out of his head. If you take that tack, you encourage your child to recognize that, especially in art work, there does not need to be
a literal truth, and that metaphors may be important. Needless to say, metaphoric
and intuitive thinking is important not only in art, but in life in general.
More generally, parents need to encourage richness of experience by helping
their children recognize that things that happen often have more than just the
obvious meaning. Indeed, using your thinking and intuition may lead to meanings
that were not obvious at first. This is a complex, ongoing effort to figure things out
that is an important part of living. This process needs to be emphasized by parents
as interesting and exciting, rather than disruptive and painful.
This process of seeing the richness of experience needs to continue in the relationship between parents and their offspring as the youngsters get old enough to
have experiences outside of the home into which they were born. For example, suppose your child comes back from school and shares with you that there is another
student in his/her class who is appreciated by the teachers but vilified by many of
the other students. To encourage experiential richness, it would not be enough for
you to just emphasize how that student must be doing what is needed in order to
learn. There may indeed be some truth to this assumption, but it is not enough in
the process of helping your youngster to recognize that experiences have many
aspects, rather than only one meaning. Instead, you need to draw out lots of aspects
of meaning in this situation, by the questions you ask your youngster, and the suggestions you make. How does the student approved of by the teachers feel about
being rejected by the others? Does that student want nothing to do with the others,
or is he/she in pain over the rejection? Are the other students disgusted with the
approved student, or do they wish they too were approved of? Has there been any
attempt on the part of the students to get together, and cooperate, or not? How does
your own youngster react to all of this, and what steps has, or can he/she take, in
the attempt to help everyone get along with each other? You should emphasize that
there are lots of meanings in this situation, whether or not they fit together easily.

The Hardy Strategies


In this overall process of encouraging your youngsters to develop the hardy
attitudes, it is also important to help them learn the hardy action patterns of
problem-solving (rather than avoidance) coping, socially supportive (rather
than conflictful) interactions with others, and beneficial (rather than indulgent)
self-care. What points youngsters in the direction of hardy action-patterns, or
strategies, is quite consistent with what helps them develop the hardy attitudes.

48

5 Raising Hardy Children

Parents Need to Emphasize Problem-Solving Coping


In the process of growing up, there are ongoing changes continually imposed
on youngsters. It may seem as if the easiest way of coping with these disruptive
changes is by denying and avoiding them. But, if this is a regular pattern of behavior,
it will stultify psycho-social development and growth. What is needed instead is a
process of recognizing problems, and solving them, so that you can increase your
learning and sense of fulfillment.
Certainly, youngsters who have developed the hardy attitudes will have the
courage and motivation that makes them more likely to engage in problem-solving
coping. But, parents can aid their youngsters to develop the hardy attitudes by their
recognizing how to do problem-solving coping. The first step in this process is for
there to be sufficient dialogue between the youngster and the parent for stressful
circumstances to be recognized. For each stressful circumstance, the parent needs
to be supportive of the youngster, and encourage dialogue about what might be
done that could stop the stressor from getting worse, while increasing the likelihood that it will get better. Once the youngster has come up with such an action
plan, the parent needs to support him/her in the difficult process of carrying it out.
The aim in this is not to just help the youngster feel better by denying and avoiding, but rather, to point him/her toward more comprehensive fulfillment by learning
how to transform the stressor into advantageous growth. This helps the youngster
not only to know how to resolve stressors, but also to recognize that living fully is a
more complex, comprehensive phenomenon than just feeling good, no matter what.
An example of a stressor might be if your male child keeps coming home crying because the other boys in the neighborhood are always rejecting him. When
you and he talk about what is happening, it becomes apparent that the other boys
must have felt rejected by your son. After all, when your son walks home from
school, he goes right past the other boys who are now playing stick ball on the
street. He thinks he has to get home right away, so that you do not have to worry
about him. He also thinks that he is not good enough at the sport to try to join in
with the other kids. You try to encourage your son to participate with the other
boys by indicating that you will not worry about him not coming right home from
school, as long as you know where he is. You also encourage him to practice stick
ball in your back yard. In this, you have him throw the ball back and forth with
you, and you pitch the ball so that he can practice hitting it with the stick. Soon,
with your support, he is joining in with the other boys, and playing stick ball with
them well enough to be happy with himself, and with their new acceptance of him.
However constructive this kind of parent/child interaction is, there will be times
when a certain stressor cannot be resolved, no matter how hard the effort to do
so. These unresolvable stressors are givens, and must just be accepted without this
undermining the youngster. Examples of givens, for some people, might be determined by such unchangeable things as height, weight, sex, and age. If the ongoing
process is problem-solving coping, the usual success of this will facilitate acceptance and tolerance of the occasional stressors that are givens.

Parents Need to Emphasize Supportive Social Interactions

49

 arents Need to Emphasize Supportive Social


P
Interactions
Needless to say, youngsters are almost always in the process of having to interact
with others, whether these others are members of the family, peers and teachers
at school, or members of the community at large. When these interactions do not
go well, that is certainly stressful. Another important hardy strategy involves recognizing conflicts with significant others, and taking actions to resolve these difficulties. This approach is more fulfilling and developmentally valuable than is just
letting the conflicts fester, or trying to avoid them in order to just feel better.
There must be continual dialogue amongst parents and their youngsters, in order to
improve the social support the youngsters are getting and giving in interactions with
significant others. In this dialogue, parents need to help their youngsters recognize
conflicts with others, and think through what to do in order to try to resolve the conflicts. An important step in resolving conflicts is to discuss them with the other person,
not in the sense of blaming anyone, but rather in the sense that recognition is important
in resolution. Another step is suggesting how you and the other person may modify
your interactions so that the conflict is resolved. Once resolved, the conflict can be
replaced with a mutual pattern of giving and getting assistance and encouragement in
the difficult process of living well. Especially, if the person with whom you are in conflict is a significant other (e.g., family member, schoolmate, teacher), efforts to replace
conflicts with assistance and encouragement are valuable.
And, of course, the conflict may be between the youngster and his/her parent or
parents. In this context, it is all the more important for parents to help their youngsters by recognizing and admitting the conflict to them. It is important in this process not to just blame the youngster, but instead, to admit ones own contribution,
and encourage him/her to say what comes to their mind. The aim is to get all parties to agree on the importance of resolving the conflict without blaming the other
person, and to replace it with mutual assistance and encouragement.

Parents Need to Emphasize Taking Care of Oneself


As if all this were not enough, there is also the importance of hardy self-care.
A typical part of denying and avoiding stressors, and letting interactional conflicts
fester, is the attempt to distract oneself by excessive and unhealthy eating, drinking,
spending, gambling, watching TV, and being on the internet (Carmody et al. 2011;
Maddi 2012). It is well known that these excesses and addictions can undermine
a persons health, and also lead to destructive and unethical behaviors, and avoidance of growth-oriented functioning. And, at least some of these excesses can also
decrease ones life expectancy considerably.
Parents need to help their youngsters take good care of themselves. One aspect
of what parents can do is to interact with their children in ways that enhance their

50

5 Raising Hardy Children

hardy attitudes. The courage and motivation this leads to will decrease the likelihood of the denial and avoidance efforts that can lead to excesses and addictions.
Further, parents can also make sure that the food and drink served at home are
healthy and moderate. Unfortunately, many parents feel that they and their children
cannot be satisfied by food that is only moderate in fat and sugar. Such parents
may also involve themselves in drinking and smoking at home, in a manner that
serves as a model for their youngsters. What needs to be taken into account in
homes where this problem exists is that the human body gets used to anything you
give it consistently. And, if what you give it is also healthy, you have accomplished
your responsibility as parents, as well as helping yourselves.
It is also important for parents to keep the dialogue going with their youngsters,
in order to see if they are falling into unhealthy habits when they are not at home.
If such unhealthy habits abound, that shows that the youngsters hardy attitudes
and strategies are insufficient. If such unhealthy patterns appear present, the parents
should try to talk openly and supportively with their youngsters about the importance of the family, of their staying healthy, and living long. In this process, the
parents should not be punitive, but rather educational. As the youngsters get older,
there are lots of books and articles that will help them understand the importance
of relaxation exercises, sound nutrition, and useful physical exercise that are good
alternatives to unhealthy habits (e.g., Khoshaba and Maddi 2004).

I n all this, Parents Need to Admire, Respect, and Love


Their Young
Needless to say, parents have an important role to play in helping their youngsters live well and long, all the while growing and developing toward a fulfilling life. If parents could do it all by themselves, there would be no need of any
other approaches. But, clearly, not only are some parents poor at enhancing the
hardiness of their youngsters, but even those parents who are good at it have a
decreasing role in the development of their children once they have begun going
to school, and then reach adulthood. Clearly, many approaches that enhance hardiness need to be available in schools, work places, counseling and medical professions, and the community at large.
In trying to enhance the hardiness of their youngsters through the approaches
emphasized here, parents need to admire, respect, and love their children throughout this difficult developmental process. It will not work for parents to insist that
the youngsters do exactly what the parents believe is best, and to vilify any different behaviors. The parents must admire and help their young to find their
own solutions to lifes difficulties, as long as those solutions express hardy attitudes and strategies. Even with this, it must be accepted that there will be failures from time to time, and that these failures can be learned from. The results
of the research study mentioned in Chap. 3 (Khoshaba and Maddi 1999) are
supportive of this conceptualization. In that study, Illinois Bell managers were

In all this, Parents Need to Admire, Respect, and Love Their Young

51

studied extensively for 6years before the catastrophic federal deregulation of


the telephone industry. Although two-thirds of the sample fell apart as the result
of this major stressor, the other third not only survived but also thrived, showing
enhanced performance and health. The differences between these two groups in
self-reported early life experiences with their parents and mentors fit very well
with what has been said in this Chapter. Indeed, the managers who survived and
thrived the catastrophic stresses had earlier reported that their young lives had
included many ongoing changes, which were treated by their parents as normal,
and that they had been strongly supported in their efforts by their parents, who
saw them as the hope of the family. These hardy managers had never felt criticized, blamed, or unloved by their parents. In contrast, the managers who fell apart
following the catastrophic deregulation of the industry had reported early lives
that were unchanging, and even boring. Further, they felt that their parents did
not understand or support them, being instead preoccupied with themselves, and
insisting that their children fit into what was expected of them.

References
Carmody, C., Maddi, S. R., & Taddeo, M. (2011). Hardiness as protection against internet addiction. In preparation.
Khoshaba, D. M., & Maddi, S. R. (1999). Early experiences in hardiness development.
Consulting Psychology Journal, 51, 106116.
Khoshaba, D. M., & Maddi, S. R. (2004). HardiTraining: Managing stressful change (5th ed.).
Irvine: Hardiness Institute.
Maddi, S. R. (1994). The hardiness enhancing lifestyle program (HELP) for improving physical,
mental, and social wellness. In C. Hopper (Ed.), Wellness lecture series. Oakland: University
of California/HealthNet.
Maddi, S. R. (1998). Creating meaning through making decisions. In P. T. P. Wong & P. S. Fry
(Eds.), The human quest for meaning (pp. 326). Mahwah: Erlbaum.
Maddi, S.R. (2002). The story of hardiness: Twenty years of theorizing, research, and practice.
Consulting Psychology Journal, 54(3), 173185.
Maddi, S. R. (2012). Resilience and consumer behavior for higher quality of life. In D. G. Mick,
S. Pettigrew, C. Pechman, & J. L. Ozanne (Eds.), Transformative consumer research for personal and collective well-being: Reviews and frontiers. New York, NY: Routledge.
McClelland, D. C. (1958). Risk taking in children with high and low need for achievement. In J.
W. Atkinson (Ed.), Motives in fantasy, action, and society. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand.

Chapter 6

Applying Hardiness to Teaching


and Counseling

Abstract This chapter concerns hardiness training in adolescence and adulthood.


In this, it covers primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. Primary and secondary prevention emphasizes hardiness assessment and training in schools.
Hardiness assessment and training in counseling emphasizes tertiary prevention.
Also covered is the approach to obtaining school approval for a hardiness training
course, and the validation of this approach is important in this. Hardiness assessment and training in counseling emphasizes help in overcoming conformism,
vegetativeness, nihilism, and adventurousness. The specifics of this approach are
covered, along with case studies.
Keywords Hardiness assessment Hardiness training Primary prevention
Secondary prevention Tertiary prevention School approach Counseling
approach Conformism Vegetativeness Nihilism Adventurousness
The previous chapter has emphasized how hardiness training can make an important contribution when children are being raised by their parents. This approach
emphasizes primary prevention, when the children are being prepared for being
able to handle significant stresses as they mature. The present chapter covers the
applications of hardiness training when people have emerged from childhood
into adolescence and adulthood. These applications involve learning hardiness in
school, or in counseling. This school approach generally involves primary, and
perhaps even secondary prevention, as stresses are mounting when life becomes
more complicated, but there is probably no significant emotional damage. In contrast, counseling concerns tertiary prevention, as there is already some emotional
damage that needs to be resolved.

Teaching Hardiness in Schools


The hardiness assessment and training procedures are well developed now, and
can be used as the organizing features of courses at the college and high school
levels. For assessment, the HardiSurvey III-R is a 65-item, well-validated test of

S. R. Maddi, Hardiness, SpringerBriefs in Psychology,


DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-5222-1_6, The Author(s) 2013

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6 Applying Hardiness to Teaching and Counseling

hardy attitudes and strategies, as well as stress and avoidance coping, that can be
administered either in hard copy form or on the internet (www.HardinessInstitute
.com), and provides a comprehensive report of stress vulnerability and resilience,
along with recommendations of what, in anything, needs to be done. Typically,
this test is administered both at the beginning and end of the hardiness course,
taught by a Certified Hardiness Trainer. In the course, Harditraining (as described
in Chap. 4) is facilated through a hard-copy workbook (Khoshaba and Maddi
2004). The hard copy include explanations of hardiness as a basis for improving
performance and health, relevant positive and negative case studies, exercises concerning the development of hardy strategies and attitudes (as covered in Chap. 4),
and check-points to evaluate ones work.
In the course meetings, it is the teachers role to systematically cover these hardiness assessment and training materials. Students are given assignments to do in
their everyday lives, and to document what happens in their workbook. Then, the
discussion in class covers what experiences the students have had in their efforts.
The teachers reactions and support are important in this, as is the verbal interaction among the students. To do this in an effective manner, the teacher needs to
become a Certified Hardiness Trainer. This involves a three-day training procedure
with the Hardiness Institute, followed by a procedure whereby the Institute stays
in touch with the teacher, as the offerings of courses proceeds.
If the class enrollment is small, this will facilitate ongoing discussions in which
students participate along with the teacher. But, if the class enrollment is large,
then it is useful for there to be not only lectures for the class as a whole, but also
discussion sections for subgroups in which student interaction is more possible.
These discussion sections may be led by teaching assistants, who are supervised
by the instructor, or by the instructor him or herself.

 btaining the Schools Approval for the Hardiness


O
Course
The first offering of HardiTraining as a college course was at Utah Valley
University. Two counselors (Keith Jensen and Elaine Carter) became Certified
Hardiness Trainers, in order to offer the course to high-risk freshmen. The second
offering of the course was for undergraduates at University of California, Irvine,
taught by Deborah Khoshaba and me. We were interested in making the course
available to undergraduates at all levels of college completion.
Interestingly, at both schools, the attempt to obtain permission to offer the
HardiTraining course encountered opposition from the committees on academic approval. At first, it was questioned whether the course had any academic
value. This question was easily answered, by documenting all the conceptual and
research papers that have been performed on hardiness, and its growing influence
in psychology. Then, the opposition took the form of questioning the appropriateness of giving students course credit for undergoing psychotherapy. We answered

Obtaining the Schools Approval for the Hardiness Course

55

this objection by making clear that as a course, HardiTraining qualifies as lifestyle


training, rather than psychotherapy. After all, it involves primary, or at most secondary prevention for college students, who are presumably not in school because
of existing mental disorders. We insisted that, if psychological lifestyle training
is not accepted, then we should stop giving students grades in art classes for their
ability to draw and paint, and in biology classes for their ability to perform surgery on laboratory rats. Soon after, the opposition ended, and HardiTraining was
accepted as a regular credit course in both colleges.

 ffectiveness of the Hardiness Training Course


E
on Students
In general, the undergraduates seemed extremely pleased with the HardiTraining
courses. On both campuses, after finishing the course, students who encounter on
campus the teachers of HardiTraining indicate how valuable what they learned
was for them. They say things like, You dont know what an important difference
that course has made in my life, and My relationships are so much better now,
and I know what I want to do in my life. They also say, Why didnt someone
teach us this before?
Needless to say, there is also lots of evidence during the classes themselves of
improvements in functioning, both in the HardiTraining exercises performed in the
workbooks, and discussed in class. Typically, the stresses identified by students
involve their changing relationships with their parents, attempts to find peers with
whom to bond, and struggles to find the right career.
In one case, Marilyns stressor was that although her parents had insisted that
she become a physician (like her father), she had begun to find through college
experiences that she really felt more at home and capable being an artist. When
she tried to talk about this with her parents, they were very derogatory, indicating such things as that she was obviously expected them to financially support her
in adulthood. Hardy coping and social support exercises, supplemented by discussions with students and the teacher, helped Marilyn resolve the conflict by convincing her parents that she was making an adult decision, based on her classroom
and work experiences, and that this decision need not disrupt their love for each
other. She kept reaching out to them, despite their initial criticisms of her. Soon,
they became less critical, and tried harder to understand her development. As time
went on, her paintings got included in an art show, and her parents attended the
show proudly. She was making good progress not only in finding a meaningful
career for herself, but also in having a deeper, more equal relationship with her
parents.
In another case, Georges stressor was that whenever he spent time with his
male dorm members, they would end up drinking heavily and looking for females
with whom to have quick and uninvolving sex. As time went on, he felt more and
more empty and lonely, and wanted deeper, more lasting relationships not only

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6 Applying Hardiness to Teaching and Counseling

with females, but with males as well. He was helped by his class experiences in
not only hardy coping and social support, but self-care as well. He kept telling
his dorm members that he appreciated them, but needed to spend time trying to
find a deep relationship with a female. Because he did not reject them completely,
neither did they avoid him. He kept trying to find other ways to meet females, such
as joining clubs of interest to him, and going to relevant campus meetings. Soon,
he found the girl he wantedthey became close and spent lots of meaningful time
together. He was hardly drinking any more. And, several of his male dorm members indicated how happy they were for him, and wondered if he could help them
do likewise. He shared with them how he and his girlfriend had met, and what he
and she had been doing to deepen their relationship.
On both campuses, more students try to get into the HardiTraining courses
than can be accommodated, and they plead to be accepted on the basis of what
friends have told them about the value of the courses. Indeed, Deborah Khoshaba
was voted Outstanding Professor of 2008 by undergraduates who had taken the
HardiTraining course at the University of California, Irvine. And, as already covered in Chap. 4, research done at both Utah Valley University, and the University
of California, Irvine have shown the effectiveness of learning hardiness. In
these carefully controlled studies, it appears that not only do students taking the
HardiTraining course increase in hardiness, they also show subsequent increases
in Grade-Point-Average (Maddi et al. 2002, 2009).
By now, several other colleges and high schools are getting involved with
HardiTraining. Among the colleges is San Francisco State University, where
HardiTraining is taught by Richard H. Harvey, who was a graduate student of
mine. To help at the high school level, Deborah Khoshaba and I have participated in a program, organized at the University of California, Irvine, to provide
local high school teachers with new technologies with which to help their students learn and develop. Our HardiTraining course contribution for the teachers
to become Certified Hardiness Trainers has generally been the most popular of the
offerings, and we are told by teachers who complete this program that it has been
very helpful to them in increasing the hardiness and resulting capabilities of their
students.

Teaching Hardiness in Counseling


The hardiness approach is also quite relevant in counseling, or psychotherapy.
When people seek counseling, it is usually because they have been undermined by
one or more of the three major categories of existential stress in living. These categories are social upheavals, threat of death, and imposed recognition of lifestyle
superficiality (Maddi 1967, 1998). Social upheavals can include the trickle-down
effects of such things as economic recession, wartime and terrorist disruption, and
the transition from an industrial to an information society. Such social changes
are especially stressful to people whose low hardiness has led them to have

Teaching Hardiness in Counseling

57

conformist views that society is an absolute reality, which implies that it should
never change.
People low in hardiness also tend to treat their biological organism, and those
of the others around them, as an absolute reality, almost as if they implicitly
believe they will live forever. Thus, the signs of possible or actual death to themselves and those to whom they are close is a major stressor.
The recognition of superficiality in their living is also something that people
low in hardiness strenuously avoid. In their conformist ways, they do not admit
failures, and bend every effort to avoid stressful problems. They insist that their
lives are fine, covering up their feelings of insecurity and worthlessness. So, recognition of the superficiality of their lifestyles will not happen unless it is forced
on them by circumstances. A typical circumstance involves spouses, partners, or
family members who are suffering sufficiently from the conformists superficiality
to confront them and force the issue. Another circumstance emerges when people
low in hardiness fail simultaneously in so many areas of life that there is little or
no way to deny or distract themselves from the flood of adverse information.

Conformism and Existential Sickness


In order to avoid stressful experiences, people low in hardiness tend to endorse
conformist views of life. They think and evaluate experiences in terms of fitting
into society, avoiding the fragility of biological living, and denying that their experiences are in large measure the result of their own decisions. This is what the
existential psychologists call a pattern of choosing the past, rather than the future
(cf., Maddi 2002, 2004, 2006). Throwing oneself into the unknown and unpredictable future is too anxiety-provoking for the person low in hardiness. In order to
choose the future, you must be able to tolerate the anxiety of uncertainty, and this
is helped by the attitudes of commitment, control, and challenge constituting high
hardiness. In this, hardiness gives you the courage to face stresses, turn them to
your advantage, and grow in the process (Maddi 2002, 2004, 2006).
In contrast, if you are low in hardiness, you will engage in conformist views,
in hopes that you will be able to avoid the anxiety of ongoing life stresses (Maddi
2002, 2004, 2006). But, this is not a very effective solution, as it stops you from
changing and growing in wisdom. As the result of this continual choosing of the
past, a sense of guilt (often experienced as depression) builds up over missed
opportunities. This sense of having wasted your life can be as serious a mental
symptom as can be the ontological anxiety of lifes uncertainty.
All this ongoing anxiety and guilt of living can lead you to seek counseling,
in order to feel better emotionally (Maddi 1998). But, some people deal with the
growing anxiety and guilt by becoming even more defensive in what they do and
how they think. This excessively defensive pattern of denying and avoiding may
lead to even more serious existential sicknesses, that are also bases for counseling
and psychotherapy (Maddi 1998). The most serious of these existential sicknesses

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6 Applying Hardiness to Teaching and Counseling

is vegetativeness (Maddi 1967). At the cognitive level, individuals suffering from


vegetativeness cannot find anything they are doing or can imagine doing that
seems interesting or worthwhile. At the emotional level, vegetativeness involves
a continuing state of apathy and boredom, punctuated by periods of depression.
And, at the action level, vegetativeness involves a low level of activity and energy,
as everything seems aimless and directionless. This vegetative pattern has been
indentified through research and psychotherapy practice concerning personal
meaning, where it is usually called depression (Farran et al. 1995).
Nihilism is a less severe form of existential sickness because there remains
some semblance of meaningfulness in the persons life (Maddi 1967). At the cognitive level, the nihilist can only find meaning by disconfirming everything that
purports to have positive meaning. At the emotional level, nihilism characteristically involves anger, disgust, and cynicism. At the action level, the nihilistic person is competitive and combative, rather than having any self-determined direction
(Heidrich and Ryff 1993).
The least severe form of existential sickness is adventurousness (Maddi 1967,
1970), in which some basis for positive meaning remains, but only through
extreme, risky activities. At the cognitive level, everyday life seems empty, with
vitality and importance reserved only for extreme, uncommon experiences. At
the emotional level, adventurers are apathetic and bored in ordinary living, feeling excited and alive when taking risks. At the action level, people suffering from
adventurousness oscillate between lackluster behavior and extreme intensities.
Adventurousness is commonly expressed in excessive spending, gambling, promiscuous sexuality, and excessive use of alcohol and/or drugs.

Specifics of Hardiness Counseling


Some people may seek counseling because they are constantly overwhelmed by
anxiety and/or guilt (depression). These people have not yet sunk into specific
existential sicknesses. Needless to say, even if your hardiness is high, you will
experience anxiety when disruptive changes provoke you to try to learn what is
happening and needs to be done. Indeed, existential anxiety is endemic, though it
may not be completely undermining, if your hardiness is reasonably high. It is also
true that, even if your hardiness is high, you may well experience existential guilt
from time to time, especially when you encounter givens that you cannot do anything about (Maddi 2004, 2006).
So, the function of counseling for people who are trying their best, and have
enough hardiness to be rather successful at this, is to help them put their lives in a
broader perspective, so that it will be more emotionally tolerable. In this process,
the counselor needs to help the client engage further in HardyCoping. The client
is encouraged to identify the stresses in his/her current life, and to try to problem-solve with regard to each of them in turn. The client needs to identify how
each stressor could be worse, or better, and how he/she can help it become better.

Specifics of Hardiness Counseling

59

This will lead to an Action Plan that the client will be encouraged to implement,
with the resulting learning, and changes in worldviews and patterns of interaction.
In this process, the support and experience of the counselor is helpful.
But, if the person coming for help is suffering from one of the more extreme
forms of existential sickness, the counseling process is more prolonged and difficult. Vegetativeness, nihilism, and adventurousness reflect a lifetime of choosing
the past, and the resulting pattern of conformity. But this pattern has been undermined by traumatic events that have stripped the protective conformist coating
from this decision-making limitation. Adventurousness and nihilism express a
desperate second line of defense against full recognition of the problem of having
chosen the past too often, whereas in vegetativeness there is not even this defensiveness left.
A two-step process is needed to help clients with one or more of the existential
sicknesses. The first step involves their gaining insight into the existential basis
of their emotional and behavioral problems. This can usually be facilitated by the
therapist through a combination of empathy for the client as a poignant expression
of human suffering, and strategic interpretations aimed at illuminating the faulty
decision-making process that has led to and perpetuates this suffering (Maddi
1996). Therapists can feel successful in this effort when clients recognize that their
lives and the meaning therein are of their own making and that the architect of the
good life is future-oriented decision making.
Having achieved insight, clients then need the courage to actually live a life of
their own making, and that involves turning ongoing stresses into growth advantages, rather than engaging in denial and avoidance. A basic way of facilitating
these insights and the decisions they lead to is HardiTraining (Khoshaba and
Maddi 2004). In this, HardyCoping helps engender the skills of problem-solving
that facilitate learning how to turn stressful circumstances from potential disasters into growth opportunities. Further, HardiTraining encourages social interaction patterns of giving and getting assistance and encouragement, rather than anger
and competition involved in blaming others. And, HardiTraining also facilitates
engaging in beneficial self-care, rather than risking everything just to distract oneself from stresses and emptiness. This counseling process also helps deepen the
Hardy Attitudes of commitment, control, and challenge that constitute the existential courage and motivation to do this hard work of finding fulfillment in a stressful
world. In this way, when counseling is over, the client will be able to go ahead on
his/her own, toward a better life, rather than sinking once again into denial and
avoidance of lifes ongoing stresses. These changes in coping, self-perception, and
social interaction patterns will not only diminish anxiety and depression/guilt, but
also orient the client toward self-renewal.
There are definite signs indicating when the counseling process is complete.
One sign is that, in the place of debilitating anxiety and depression, there is emotional and behavioral vitality instead. Another sign is the substitution of futureoriented for past-oriented decision making. The capstone is when clients assume
responsibility for their own lives, despite all the outside pressures that can easily be blamed for what happens to them. They also accept that they are ultimately

60

6 Applying Hardiness to Teaching and Counseling

alone in their subjectivity, despite wonderfully stimulating efforts at intimacy.


And, they face and accept that they will die, despite the heroism involved in creating meaning by choosing the future (Yalom 1980).

Case Examples from Hardiness Counseling


A number of us have been doing counseling from a hardiness standpoint, and there
are numerous examples of the changes it has facilitated in clients. In one case,
Mildred was recommended for counseling by her physician, when she had sunk
into vegetativeness. As she opened up in the early counseling sessions, it became
clear that she had spent her adult life conforming to others and social institutions, so that everything would be predictable and undisruptive. Now that she had
reached middle age, she felt that life has no meaning, and is just boring and stationery. She and her husband had divorced, as he could not stand her emptiness,
and she could not accept his wishes for a more provoking lifestyle. The divorce
agreement had provided her with some money, and she would just sit at home,
watching the TV programs, and reading the writings that were not disruptive or
unpredictable. She had very few emotions other than boredom, and did little in or
outside of her home that would lead to new experiences.
As she was drawn out in the early counseling sessions, Mildred admitted that
she had been overprotected by her parents, who felt that the best they could do for
her was to make her life stable and predictable. She never even went to college,
as that seemed too unpredictable. Also, she arranged to marry the first male she
encountered who seemed willing to protect her, as her parents had. But, as time
went on, Mildred began to paradoxically feel more and more empty, and that life
really had no meaning.
Through the counseling process that emphasized HardiTraining, she began to
realize that her life was of her own making, and that she could have made alternative decisions that would have prevented her sense of meaninglessness. The resulting steps involved actually trying to make such decisions in this later point in her
life. She began to read provocative books on existential meaning in our unpredictable lives. Instead of sitting at home, she joined groups aiming at helping underprivileged youngsters, and tried to learn from her experiences with these group
members and those they were trying to support. Whenever her experiences were
too much for her to handle, she sought the help of the counselor in putting them
into a broader prospective, and learning from them. Before long, she was even
looking for an intimate relationship with someone who could help her develop and
grow. She realized that her former conclusion that life is meaningless was simply
a way of trying to protect herself from anxiety, but that this approach had led to
the sense of meaninglessness. Now, she wanted to grow and develop, no matter
whether that led to anxious moments that just needed to be understood and tolerated until conclusions were reached. She wished that she had not wasted so many
of her years, but knew that she would not do that again.

Case Examples from Hardiness Counseling

61

In another counseling case, Henry showed clear signs of nihilism. He was full
of anger at what he regarded as continually competitive and vicious life circumstances. For example, he believed that all politicians are corrupt, and try to trick
voters into supporting them, even though there is no good reason to do so. He
also felt that even more ordinary people cannot be trusted, because its all about
them. This is true, he felt, even about ones own family members. All of life,
according to him, was about competition, and who wins by taking advantage of
others. Indeed, he had been trying his best to take advantage of the people around
him, in his family, and work environment, without being honest with them about
his intent. According to him, they were not being honest with him about theirs,
so why should he be honest with them? Finally, he felt so isolated and angry that
he thought he might try some counseling, though he admitted to not trusting that
either.
The counselor was so open to Henry that, before he realized it, he began to trust
the HardiTraining process. Although his nihilism kept getting in the way, through
his wondering whether he should be trusting counseling, some experiential
changes began to take place. In this process, he began to realize that in his youth,
he remembered experiencing failures and rejections that may well have been a
function of his poverty and recent-immigrant status. These rejections had led him
to try to conform, but even that did not stop the rejections, so his anger had begun
to make him distrust the whole system. As his efforts to use the HardiTraining
functions in his life expanded, he was able to reconsider whether he and all others
are just competing with each other for their own power. He found himself wondering if some people he knew who seemed open and cooperative were actually
that, rather than secretly competitive. He finally decided to interact with these
people by being supportive and appreciative of them, regardless of whether they
gained advantage over him. This approach on his part actually helped them open
up even more to him, and he began to form actual friendships, in which the interactions led to much more positive emotions than the previous anger. As time went
on, and these experiences accumulated, Henry began to give up his nihilism, and
take a much more positive approach to living. He realized that although some people are indeed secretly competitive, others are not. And, he began to see how he
could bring out the best in people by approaching interactions with them in a supportive, though not nave way. Soon, he actually had a circle of friends, and felt
much more open and constructive in his work. Although he would occasionally
get angry, his main emotions became positive, and his views were more open and
developmentally constructive.
And then there is Eric, who sought help when his adventurousness got out
of hand. His life had been a conformist ideal. In this regard, he had married a
woman who accepted him without question, and who herself led a totally predictable life. He had found a job that he could do without thinking, and paid him a
good salary. Everything else in his life had been routine. Before long, he began
wanting excitement and good-luck based surprises. He started gambling on slot
machines, and searching out one-time sexual relationships. He kept his excessive
spending and infidelity from his wife. And, when even these adventurous activities

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6 Applying Hardiness to Teaching and Counseling

started becoming a bit predictable and worrisome, he found himself slipping into
excessive alcohol drinking.
As you can imagine, the conceptual background and specific exercises of
HardiTraining helped Eric reconsider the adventurousness, by opening himself
more to the ongoing activities of a fulfilling everyday life. He and his wife began
to do more things together. They worked on having intimate sexual activities in a
way they never had before. They also tried to engage their neighbors in more than a
superficial way, having dinners with them, and going to artistic, and governmental
activities together. He also took continuing educational courses, and tried to involve
himself more in having a leadership role at his job. As these existentially developmental activities increased, he became less interested in the adventurous patterns of
his past, and he felt a greater sense of meaning and fulfillment in his life.
In all three cases covered, the assistance and encouragement of the counselors
were very important in the recovery of their clients. But, the counseling process
was not just accepting everything the clients said. The counselors asked many
hardiness-related questions about present and past experiences which led the clients to deny and avoid stresses. And, as all this was clarified, the counseling
emphasized how life is by its nature stressful, and how hardiness provides the
courage to face this, and turn the stresses into growth opportunities. In this, the
specifics of HardiTraining were especially helpful for Mildred, Henry, and Eric.
Hardy Coping provided a basis for identifying the relevant stresses, putting them
into prospective, determining the actions that would turn the stresses to advantage, and then taking the actions. Hardy Social Support helped the clients identify conflicts with significant others, and helped them do what was necessary to
resolve the conflicts, rather than letting them fester and avoiding it all. And, Hardy
Self-Care was also useful in helping the clients recognize and accept the importance of remaining healthy throughout all the hard work of turning stresses into
growth advantages. Hardy Self-Care was particularly important for Eric, who was
beginning to slip into excessive alcohol use at the beginning of his counseling.
In this counseling process, the practice of the Hardy Strategies, which was supported by the counselors, gave the clients the feedback they needed to deepen their
Hardy Attitudes. This helped them get to the point where they no longer needed
counseling, as they had the courage needed to function effectively on their own.
Needless to say, there are many other case studies exemplifying how the hardiness
counseling approach helps people give up conformist attempts to deny and avoid
stresses, and instead, transform these stresses into a growth and fulfillment process.

References
Farran, C. J., Herth, K. A., & Popovich, J. M. (1995). Hope and hopelessness: Critical clinical
constructs. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Heidrich, S. M., & Ryff, C. D. (1993). The role of social comparison processes in the psychological adaptations of elderly adults. Journal of Gerontology, 48, 127136.

References

63

Khoshaba, D. M., & Maddi, S. R. (2004). HardiTraining: Managing stressful change (5th ed.).
Irvine: Hardiness Institute.
Maddi, S. R. (1967). The existential neurosis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 72, 311325.
Maddi, S. R. (1970). The search for meaning. In M. Page (Ed.), Nebraska symposium on motivation. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Maddi, S. R. (1996). Existential psychotherapy. In J. Garske, & S. Lynn (Eds.), Contemporary
Psychotherapy (2nd. Ed.). New York, NY: Merrill Publishers.
Maddi, S. R. (1998). Creating meaning through making decisions. In P. T. P. Wong & P. S. Fry
(Eds.), The human quest for meaning (pp. 326). Mahwah: Erlbaum.
Maddi, S.R. (2002). The story of hardiness: Twenty years of theorizing, research, and practice.
Consulting Psychology Journal, 54(3), 173185.
Maddi, S. R. (2004). Hardiness: An operationalization of existential courage. Journal of
Humanistic Psychology, 44, 279298.
Maddi, S. R. (2006). Hardiness: The courage to grow from stresses. Journal of Positive
Psychology, 1(3), 160168.
Maddi, S. R., Khoshaba, D. M., Jensen, K., Carter, E., Lu, J., & Harvey, R. H. (2002). Hardiness
training for high-risk undergraduates. NACADA Journal, 22, 4555.
Maddi, S.R., Harvey, R.H., Khoshaba, F.M., & Resurreccion, N. (2009). Hardiness training facilitates performance in college. Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 566577.
Yalom, I. D. (1980). Existential psychotherapy. New York: Basic Books.

Chapter 7

Hardiness as a Relationship
and Work Facilitator

AbstractEmphasized is the hardiness approach to turning stresses into growth


and development. It is important to recognize the inherently changing nature of
relationships and work situations, and to immerse yourself in this. This takes the
courage of hardy attitudes, and the hard work of hardy strategies. One must learn
through failures as well as successes. Significant relationships need to be deepened
in intimacy. Work needs to be fulfilled through what one continues to learn. In all
this, neither particular relationships nor work settings need to last forever.
Keywords Social relationships Work settings Ongoing stresses
Courage Hard work Learning through failures Learning through successes
The material covered thus far in this book emphasizes that life is a continually
changing, and therefore stressful phenomenon. Also covered is the emphasis on
Hardiness as a pattern of attitudes and strategies that helps you turn the stresses
from potential disasters into growth opportunities. This leads to a view of the most
fulfilling and meaningful life as a continual process of development through what
has been learned by attempting to turn stresses to your advantage. This chapter
elaborates on how this ongoing process facilitates your work and relationships.

 he Changing Nature of Relationships and Work


T
Situations
For all of us, life is a continually changing phenomenon. We are always dealing
with the requirements of personal development, and the imposition of megatrends
over which we have little control. When you interact with others, you and they will
be undergoing patterns of change that are either similar to or different from yours.
Further, when you interact with your work situation, it will also be undergoing
patterns of change that may be similar to or different from yours. After all, companies and work situations are always trying to respond to whatever advances will
facilitate the value of their products and their income.

S. R. Maddi, Hardiness, SpringerBriefs in Psychology,


DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-5222-1_7, The Author(s) 2013

65

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7 Hardiness as a Relationship and Work Facilitator

As indicated in previous chapters, these ongoing changes may well be anxiety


provoking for you, as they make life seem somewhat uncertain. If you lack the
courage provided by high personality hardiness, you may keep trying to protect
yourself from experiencing these changes in your interaction with others and your
work situation. Specifically, you will find people with whom to interact who are
similar to you in trying to deny and avoid changes. And, you will find a job that
requires only routine, repetitive actions from you. As time goes on, this emphasis on denial and avoidance may well lead to boredom and a sense of emptiness.
This is also painful, based on the need for information to process, which is a
requirement of our well-developed brains (Maddi 1967, 1970). So, even if you are
successful in avoiding ongoing anxiety due to the uncertainty of changing circumstances, you will fall into a sense that life has little or no meaning.
So, the best you can do is to immerse yourself in the changes inherent in interpersonal relationships and work situations. You will be looking for relationships with
others who are also immersed in ongoing developmental changes. So, these interactions will themselves involve change and complexity. And, you will look for jobs that
involve changing circumstances that require you to learn and grow also. To immerse
yourself in changes, you need the pattern of attitudes and skills of hardiness. Together,
the Hardy Attitudes of Commitment, Control, and Challenge help you to expect ongoing, stressful changes (as this is what life is all about), to want to stay involved with
others and situations, and to try to turn changes to advantage through what you learn
(Maddi 2002). These 3Cs constitute the existential courage and motivation to not only
approach changes, but also take the difficult actions that are involved in turning stressful circumstances to growth advantage. These Hardy Actions involve problem-solving
(rather than denial and avoidance) coping, socially-supportive (rather than avoidant) interactions with people and circumstances, and beneficial (rather than indulgent) self-care (Maddi 2002). Specifically, the hardy coping effort involves putting
the stresses in perspective, understanding them more deeply, and taking the actions
that can turn them to advantage. The hardy social support effort involves identifying
existing conflicts with significant others, openly communicating with and listening
to these others, and trying to replace the conflict with a mutual pattern of assistance
and encouragement in the process of growth and development. And, hardy self-care
involves instituting beneficial, rather than undermining patterns of relaxing, eating, drinking, and exercising in the process. This self-care will not only support your
ongoing health, but also moderate your bodys arousal level so that it is neither too
high nor too low to facilitate the hard work of hardy coping and social interactions.

 he Importance of Learning Through Failures


T
as Well as Successes
Needless to say, what is being proposed here is an active, changing, and growthoriented approach to day-by-day living. You will be looking for relationships and
work situations that are complex and changing, and trying to interact with, and
grow through them successfully. In all this, Hardy Attitudes will help you tolerate

The Importance of Learning Through Failures as Well as Successes

67

the anxiety or uncertainty, and the Hardy Actions will help you interact intensely
enough to learn and grow through that process. In all this, you will avoid the boredom and emptiness of just being conventional, and gain in fulfillment through your
life pattern.
However provocative and exciting such a life will be, that does not mean that
you will always be successful in what you try. Even though you are learning all
the while, this complex process of interacting with ongoing changes, and changing
in the process, may sometimes lead to failures, rather than successes. For example,
you may be dating someone you seem really interested in, but he/she seems less
ready for sexual involvement than are you. Or, the other person you are dating
wants more of your time than you can manage, with your extensive social network
and job activities. Or, you and the other person you are dating have been trying
hard to get closer and closer, but somehow that does not seem to happen, and you
finally make the difficult, mutual decision to stop seeing each other. As to social
interaction with family members, you and a sibling may have contentious disagreements. You may try to resolve this by interpreting how the other one started
each problem. But, all this does is make the relationship more contentious.
As to work, you may have been involving yourself diligently and with passion
for a long time, but are shocked when your fellow worker gets the promotion that
you wanted. Or, your company is changing and growing so rapidly that you get
transferred to its office in another city, even though you were happy with your life
where you were living. Or, if the company changes enough, it may let you go,
eventhough you were thinking you wanted to be part of it forever.
Needless to say, what is a failure for one person may not be for another.
Nonetheless, even if we are living fully, with high hardiness, there will be failures
from time to time. They are, after all, an essential characteristic of a changing life.
But, if you are hardy, you will be able to learn from the failures, as well as the successes. You will be able to think systematically about what led to the failure, and
determine what you may be able to do to reverse it, or stop that kind of thing from
happening in the future. If you are hardy, this will not be denial and avoidance, so
much as learning and growing in wisdom. As to the examples mentioned above, you
may learn more about who to date, and how to involve yourself and the other, and
the importance of being patient. With regard to the contentious relationship with a
family member, you may well learn not to confront the other so much, and just try
to be understanding and supportive instead. And, regarding the company you were
working in, you may well learn that you just cannot control everything in such a
complex environment, and must just accept some things that happen, even if you
did not expect them. In all this, you will be learning that life is a complex phenomenon, but you must nonetheless continue to stay involved, and do the best you can.

Deepening Significant Relationships into Intimacy


Let us think more about relationships with significant others, from a hardiness perspective. Just because hardiness helps you to tolerate the uncertainty of stressful
changes that does not mean that you want to develop a pattern of going from one

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7 Hardiness as a Relationship and Work Facilitator

interactive relationship to another. After all, the superficiality of relationships that


are switched all the time will likely lead you to feeling empty and bored, which is
the end result of your efforts to deny and avoid uncertainty by not getting involved.
Instead, the hardy person is more likely to try to deepen each relationship as
much as possible, as this is more likely to lead to an emerging sense of meaning
and fulfillment. This is especially true when the relationship is with a significant
other, such as a family member, or someone with whom you have fallen in love.
Often times, when people who are low in hardiness get married, they go from trying to develop the relationship to assuming that it is there, no matter what. Now
they feel that they can relax. Then, as time goes on, there is less and less provocative, developmental interaction between the spouses than there was before the
marriage. And, before they know it, they are bored with the marriage, and begin
seeking excitement elsewhere. This is an especially problematic situation in our
society, with its growing divorce rate, which is now more than 50%. In contrast,
when the people who get married are high in hardiness, they will continue to interact with each other in provocative, developmental ways, making continual efforts
to grow in intimacy, and learn from that process. If anything, they will get closer,
and more interested in each other, as time goes on. By their interactions, they will
continue to grow individually, and in their intimacy together.

Engaging in Fulfilling Work by Learning all the Time


The work situation is a similar circumstance. Many people look for work that will
give them a sufficient income without being stressful. They want to know exactly
what they need to do, and to have as little change as possible in the work process.
Needless to say, these people are probably low in hardiness. If they are successful
in having chosen work that is minimally provocative, they will become less interested in it as time goes on. Even if they continue to get the salary they anticipated,
they will grow in boredom and emptiness.
In contrast, people high in hardiness will try to select jobs that provoke them
to continue to grow and develop. Their work will be hard, and force them to keep
learning new skills and expectations. And, in this process, they will get more
deeply involved in their work and the company that employs them. In this process,
they will be more likely to get promotions, as they are not only continuing to grow
individually, but also to help the company grow and develop in its industry.

 either Relationships Nor Work Settings Need Last


N
Forever
Understandably, the higher your hardiness, the more likely you will be to have relationships with significant others and work situations that will continue to deepen,
increase in meaningfulness, and provoke you to grow in wisdom and capability.

Neither Relationships Nor Work Settings Need Last Forever

69

This does not mean, however, that relationships and work settings need to last
forever. As to relationships, they sometimes end despite efforts to have them last
and increase in intimacy. Also, deaths and sicknesses occur. Sometimes, work settings end despite efforts to maintain and deepen them. After all, it is the boss who
makes judgments as to the employees, regardless of how much the latter may try
to contribute. And, companies can also be ended, through economic downturns,
bankruptcies, and the like. Once again, the higher your hardiness, the better able
you will be to accept the ending of relationships or work settings, if that happens.
After all, an important component of hardiness is the recognition and acceptance
of the limited life of relationships and work settings, no matter how good the experience of them has been.

References
Maddi, S. R. (1967). The existential neurosis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 72, 311325.
Maddi, S. R. (1970). The search for meaning. In M. Page (Ed.), Nebraska symposium on motivation. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.
Maddi, S. R. (2002). The story of hardiness: Twenty years of theorizing, research, and practice.
Consulting Psychology Journal, 54, 173185.

Chapter 8

How Hardiness Facilitates Functioning


in Military and Safety Roles

AbstractThis chapter concerns how military and safety work roles impose
especially stressful circumstances on personnel. These stresses include threats to
life, violence requirements, and excessive separation from family life. In these
stressful circumstances, hardiness attitudes and strategies have an especially
important role in maintaining effective and fulfilling living. Specifically, hardiness
helps in finding and fulfilling a bigger picture of life. Also considered is terrorism,
which is a new and especially undermining set of stresses that need to be put in
perspective and learned from.
Keywords Military personnel Firefighters Police Life-threatening
stresses Violence requirements Family separation Terrorism Hardiness
attitudes Hardiness strategies Hardiness assessment Hardiness training
Let us now consider how soldiers, policemen, and firefighters have to function
in their difficult roles. Needless to say, these roles often involve personnel in not
just ordinary stressfulness, but actual life-threatening circumstances. These lifethreatening circumstances certainly require that the personnel be adept at tolerating and adapting to stresses, without letting them undermine performance. It
is certainly unusual for ones work to involve the possibility of dying, and killing others. So, it is especially important to consider how to facilitate military and
safety personnel in dealing with these extraordinary stresses.
Indeed, the training of military and safety personnel emphasizes how to deal
with these potentially deadly stresses. I have observed some of this at the training
campus of Long Beach, CA Fire Academy. The trainers start fires in the intended
buildings on campus, and it is the role of the firefighter cadets to put these fires
out. I have observed some cadets in these tasks to start screaming, drop their
hoses, and run out of the buildings. Further, I am familiar with the training of
cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY. In addition to the usual
stresses of the academic courses, the cadets are immersed in (1) sleep deprivation,
(2) strenuous field exercises involving fighting, continual military, and physical
fitness training, (3) formal sports, (4) living to a high standard of character and
behavior (the honor code), (5) limited opportunities to go off post and visit home,

S. R. Maddi, Hardiness, SpringerBriefs in Psychology,


DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-5222-1_8, The Author(s) 2013

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8 How Hardiness Facilitates Functioning in Military and Safety Roles

(6) being constantly evaluated in all this, (7) familiarizing themselves with former
cadets who have been killed or seriously wounded in action, (8) preparing themselves to lead soldiers in life-threatening situations shortly following graduation,
and (9) leading and developing less senior cadets. Needless to say, the training of
police officers is also intentionally stressful, as they need to confront the possibility of dying, having others around them die, and actually killing criminals.
But, in order to fully understand the stressfulness of military and safety roles,
it is also important to consider the pressures on the personnel when the lifethreatening circumstances are not being experienced. In particular, personnel in
these work roles have to spend lots of time together, while little or no substantial
stresses are taking place. Firefighters, police, and soldiers are often just waiting for
the occurrence of the stresses with which they need to deal. Relevant was a conversation I had with a couple of police officers in Chicago, when they drove me
around with them to see what their work was like. Nothing much happened, and
they said to me that although 10% of their work time involved the possibility of
getting killed, the other 90% could be really boring.
Indeed, most of the time of firefighters and police officers is spent living with
each other, while waiting for some possibly life-threatening stress involving
fires or criminal actions that may or may not occur. The life of soldiers is similar, unless they are continually on the battlefield. Although this ongoing battlefield
experience happens sometimes, it is not particularly typical. That military and
safety personnel spend so much time together also detaches them from their families. So, the time spent together, waiting for life-threatening stresses, and being
detached from their families, can well be a source of stresses involving emptiness,
loneliness, and detachment. When these stresses are added to those of possible
death and killing, the life of military and safety personnel emerges as particularly
complex and difficult.

The Special Importance of Hardiness


It is not enough, in military and safety work, to be merely oriented toward killing
or saving others. Since most of ones time in such work is spent living with fellow
employees in not only ordinary, but even boring circumstances, one must be good
at figuring out how to do this well in order to be successful at your job. And, your
success will also need to involve how to remain supportive and involved with your
family members, even though you often do not get to spend much time with them.
Even with regard to the part of your work that involves fighting with enemies,
and saving those you are protecting, your job is much more complex than just
being aggressive. If you are a soldier or a police officer, and just emphasize the
aggressiveness, you may well end up killing people unnecessarily. These days, we
keep hearing about how in North African countries, peaceful protesters are being
killed, rather than just kept in order, so that their views can be heard and debated.
Similarly, from time to time in this country, we hear claims that the police are

The Special Importance of Hardiness

73

killing people excessively, rather than just arresting them, even if this is difficult.
In these examples, it is not enough to be told that those killed deserved it because
of their behavior. And, while firefighters do not actively kill others, they may
respond to fires in an insensitive, unthinking manner that may put themselves, and
their colleagues in danger unnecessarily.
The complexity and subtlety of military and safety roles needs to be recognized
clearly, and learned from, if the personnel involved are to be at their best. Hardy
Attitudes will help soldiers, police, and firefighters stay involved when stresses
mount (Commitment), keep trying to influence outcomes (Control), and try to
learn from the complexities and changes so as to perform even better (Challenge).
And, the Hardy Attitudes will also provide the motivation to do the hard work
involved in Hardy (problem-solving) Coping with stressful circumstances, Hardy
(socially-supportive) Interactions with significant others, and Hardy (beneficial)
Self-Care under pressure.
The higher their Hardiness, the more will the military and safety personnel be
able to see the bigger picture, and function at that level. The bigger picture has to
do with their jobs including the protection of others in the relatively infrequent
times requiring that, but also using the larger components of down time to develop
themselves and their relationships with fellow employees, and finding ways to
remain close to family members with whom they cannot spend as much time as
would make that easier.
Especially important in effectively protecting the others the military and safety
personnel represent, will be Hardy (problem-solving) Coping. In this, the soldiers,
police, and firefighters will be not just reacting automatically, but also reflecting on the situations, and figuring out the best way to proceed in the overall goal
of dealing with dangers in order to best protect those who are employing them.
I do not mean in this that the military and safety personnel should fail to follow
the orders of their superiors. Rather, it is important for the superiors to figure out
what is really going on, and what is the best thing to do. Then, the superiors need
to explain this to their subordinates. In this interactive process, the subordinates,
who have also observed what is going on, should be able to raise questions and
make additional suggestions, as this ongoing process is the most likely to lead to
the most-effective strategies to follow. It is not enough for superiors to just keep
imposing old plans on their subordinates, without thinking them through with
regard to what is now going on. Nor is it enough for subordinates to just follow the
orders, without discussing their relevance to whatever now seems to be going on.
There needs to be an ongoing dialogue, so that the team can function best in what
it does. In this process, supervisors will be bringing the best out of their subordinates, and the subordinates will be more fully committed to their supervisors.
Important for soldiers, police, and firefighters in the attempt to make something
meaningful out of the relatively large amount of empty time they spend at work
when not dealing with dangers, will be not only Hardy (problem-solving) Coping,
but Hardy (socially-supportive) Interactions, and Hardy (beneficial) Self-Care as
well. The down time needs to be seen as a bigger picture, namely, an opportunity
to grow and develop, increase closeness with fellow workers, and overcome the

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8 How Hardiness Facilitates Functioning in Military and Safety Roles

separation from family members. Personal growth and development may include
such activities as taking on-line continuing education courses, through having
ones laptop in the facility where you and the others spend down time. You can
also spend some time reading and reflecting upon books, articles, and newspapers
that keep you using your mind and learning what is happening in the world, and
how that involves you.
This ongoing developmental process emphasizes Hardy Coping, and can also
lead you to involve your fellow workers in what you are learning, and what they
too may be learning. In addition, you may well be able to use this interaction process to deepen your relationship with them. You and they may have meaningful
dialogues, and further express your and their beliefs, concerns, and hopes as growing individuals. Also, you may well be able to include your family members in this
ongoing developmental dialogue, through conversations not only in person (when
that is possible), but by telephone and the internet (when you are not together). In
this process, family members and you will feel closer, even when you literally cannot see or touch each other. All of this emphasizes Hardy Social Support.
It is also important that this growth process involve Hardy (beneficial) SelfCare. After all, if you are just sitting there (rather than growing and developing),
during the extensive down time, you will become more and more bored. This boredom, coupled with the thoughts in your mind that the dangerous part of your work
may happen when you least expect it, will increase your desire for self-indulgence.
For what seems like the fun of it, you may indulge in excessive eating of sweet
and fatty foods, and intake of alcohol and/or drugs. You may also slip into excessive spending and gambling, either on your own or with your fellow workers, not
only directly, but also through the internet and/or mail. But, through Hardiness,
you will be much more likely to engage in beneficial self-care, if you are also
functioning in ways that increase your growth and development, and your closeness with fellow workers. Instead of denying and avoiding the stressful and boring
nature of your work, you will be using Hardiness to reach fulfillment and meaningfulness, as you grow and develop.

Relevant Hardiness Research


In previous chapters, the research results concerning the relationship between
Hardy Attitudes and Hardy Skills has been covered (cf. Maddi 2002). These
results show a consistent positive correlation between the total Hardy Attitudes
score and scores on Hardy Coping, Hardy Social Support, and Hardy Self-Care.
The samples involved include college students and working adults. Among working adults, some of the samples involved firefighters and soldiers. The available
research also shows a positive relationship between Hardiness and various measures of effective performance, such as creativity, grade-point-average, basketball
performance, retention in school, and positive job evaluations (cf. Maddi 2002).
Also, hardiness is negatively related to stress-related health difficulties, such as

Relevant Hardiness Research

75

anxiety, depression, anger, tension, lack of energy, and digestive and sleep problems (Maddi 1999; Maddi et al. 2006). Of particular relevance to this chapter are
some of these studies that were done on firefighters and soldiers.
In one study (Maddi et al. 2007), Hardiness was measured in a sample of firefighters, and compared to their ongoing improvement notification points (INP).
The higher the firefighters INP, the poorer is his/her performance. As expected,
this study showed a negative relationship between INP and Hardy Attitudes, Hardy
Coping, and Hardy Social Support, showing the value of these expressions of
Hardiness in extremely stressful occupations. This pattern of results also appeared
in a sample of firefighter cadets, who were tested for Hardiness scores just before
their stressful four-and-a-half-month training program began. Their Hardiness
scores were compared to their INP scores at the end of training. As expected,
Hardiness and signs of inadequate performance tended to be negatively correlated.
There are also several studies showing similar results among samples of soldiers. For example, Hardy Attitudes measured in soldiers who were about to
undergo peace-keeping or combat missions abroad (Bartone 1999) showed that the
lower the Hardy Attitudes were, the greater was the likelihood that life-threatening experiences, and the culture-shock of engagement abroad, would lead to such
psychological breakdowns as depression disorders or post-traumatic stress disorders. Bartone et al. (1989) also studied a sample of military personnel whose task
was to help the family members of soldiers who had been killed in battle overseas.
Hardiness helped these military personnel to perform their difficult supportive task
effectively, and avoid being psychologically undermined in the process.
There are also studies of the role of Hardiness in military personnel going
through the stressful training that prepares them for their difficult work. Westman
(1990) worked with a sample of Israeli soldiers who were selected to go through
officer training school. Hardiness levels were measured before the participants entered the training, and compared to their observations and performance
throughout the training. The higher the Hardiness levels, the greater was the tendency to perceive the training as stressful, but to graduate successfully nonetheless. Needless to say, officer training school is intended to be stressful, in order
to teach participants how to cope. If your ability to see a stressful circumstance
clearly is poor, because you are trying to deny and avoid, how can you cope with
it effectively enough to find a solution? Also with the Israeli military, Florian et
al. (1995) found that Hardiness positively predicts mental health at the end of a
4-month combat training program. Using path analysis, they found that mediating factors included Hardy Coping and Hardy Social Support, as interaction strategies. Further, Bartone and Snook (1999) did a study of cadets at the U.S. Military
Academy (West Point). They found that the best predictor of transformational
leadership behavior was Hardy Attitudes, measured early in the training process.
Transformational leadership involves bringing the best out of your subordinates,
rather than just ordering them around.
These studies highlight the importance of Hardiness, as the existential courage and motivation to do the hard work of turning stressful circumstances from
potential disasters into growth opportunities. A recent study by Maddi et al. (2011)

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8 How Hardiness Facilitates Functioning in Military and Safety Roles

supports this conclusion. This research also studied cadets at the U.S. Military
Academy (West Point). They were measured for Hardy Attitudes in the summer
immediately prior to beginning their training program. This training program is
understandably stressful, taking into account the various hard things that officers in the U.S. Army must do in trying times. Specifically, the training program
involves not only heavy and challenging academic course loads, but also continual
military and physical fitness training; formal sports; living up to a high standard of
character and behavior (the Honor Code); having less than 5h of sleep per night;
having limited opportunities to go off post and visit home; being constantly evaluated as to academic, military, and physical fitness performance; knowing former
cadets who have been killed or seriously wounded in action; knowing they must
prepare themselves to lead soldiers in life-threatening situations shortly after graduation; and leading and developing less senior cadets. By systematically exposing
cadets to progressively more stressful and challenging training it is hoped that they
will learn to use their cognitive, emotional, and physiological responses to advantage in stressful circumstances and hence perform more effectively when faced
with real threats.
This study tested the expectation that the courage of cadets would help them
transform these extensive stressful training circumstances to advantage, as shown
by the effectiveness of their performance (Maddi et al. 2011). The overall performance measure available at the end of the first year of training was the Cadet
Performance Score (CPS), which is the cumulative weighted average of performance scores in physical fitness, academic, and military courses. The physical
fitness, academic, and military scores showed statistically significant correlations
with the total CPS score of 0.569, 0.936, and 0.809, respectively.
Two measures of courage were included as independent variables in this
study. The cadets took these tests in the summer preceding their entrance into
the training program. One measure was Grit, which is a 17 item questionnaire involving an unswerving, sustained pursuit of a given interest or goal
(Duckworth and Quinn 2009). The items are answered on a 5-point Likert scale
from one (Not like me at all) to five (Very much like me). The emphasis of this
measure is on a long-term perseverance despite setbacks and distractions. Items
cover the two highly empirically-related factors of Consistency of Interests, and
Perseverance of Effort, which has led to the total Grit score to be utilized as an
index of courage. Examples of test items are I aim to be the best in the world
at what I do, I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge, I
am ambitious, and I finish whatever I begin. This scale has shown adequate
reliability and validity across a variety of achievement realms requiring sustained and focused application of capability over time. In our study, the internal
consistency reliability of the total Grit score for the sample of cadets was 0.77
(p=0.01).
The other indicator of courage included in this study was Hardiness, as
measured by the Personal Views Survey, III-R (PVS III-R). This 18 item questionnaire (Maddi et al. 2006) includes six items for each of the three empiricallyrelated Cs of Commitment, Control, and Challenge. Specifically, these three

Relevant Hardiness Research

77

empirically-related factors of Hardiness are: Commitmentactive engagement


or involvement in activities of life (vs. alienation), Controlbelief that you can
influence events of your experience (vs. powerlessness), and Challengeperception of stresses and changes as natural opportunities for development (vs. threat).
All of the PVS III-R items are answered on a 4-point Likert scale of 0 (Not at
all true) to three (Completely true). Examples of items are: for CommitmentI
often wake up eager to take up life wherever it left off (positive indicator), and
Its hard to imagine anyone getting excited about working (negative indicator);
for ControlWhen I make plans, Im certain I can make them work (positive indicator), and Most of what happens in life is just meant to be; and for
ChallengeChanges in routine provoke me to learn (positive indicator), and I
am not equipped to handle the unexpected problems of life (negative indicator).
In this study, the internal consistency reliability estimate for total Hardiness was
0.713.
A third independent variable also included in this study was the whole candidate score (WCS). This is a weighted composite of high school indictors of
academic performance (Grade-Point-Average, high school rank, and Scholastic
Aptitude Test scores), leadership potential (extracurricular activities including being school officers, scouting, and faculty appraisals), and physical fitness
(assessment on standardized physical exercises). This WCS is used in conjunction with other information in the decision as to whether or not to admit an
applicant to the US Military Academy. WCS has been shown in previous studies to the primary predictor for West Point cadet academic, military, and physical
performance.
In analyzing the results of this study, binary logistical regression analyses were
relied upon to determine the effectiveness of WCS, Grit, and Hardiness on subsequent performance. Whatever intercorrelations there were among these three variables were controlled for in this type of regression analysis. Clearly, WCS was the
major predictor of performance, as measured by the CPS at the end of the first
academic year. This is not surprising, as performance is the best predictor of performance, especially when high school performance is the major basis for admitting applicants to the U.S. Military Academy. But, Hardiness made an additional,
statistically-significant contribution to the prediction of CPS. In contrast, Grit had
no role in predicting CPS.
This pattern of results is consistent with the emphasis we have been putting on the importance of Hardiness in the performance of military personnel.
After all, Hardiness is existential courage, which involves recognizing and
accepting that life is by its nature stressful, and seeing the ongoing changes as
an opportunity to learn and grow in wisdom and effectiveness. In contrast, Grit
emphasizes insisting on goals you already have, and not changing despite the
changing world. Although this may be regarded as a kind of courage, it is not
existential enough to facilitate growing and developing in a manner that leads
toward more and more effective performance. Rather, it is the existential courage of Hardiness that leads to resilience and effectiveness in complex, changing
environments.

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8 How Hardiness Facilitates Functioning in Military and Safety Roles

 ow Military and Safety Personnel Need to Function


H
in Times of Terrorism
As if the work and family lives of military and safety personnel were not complex and stressful enough, we are now in a time of terrorism. The days when wars
were fought exclusively on battlefields are over. These days, there is an increase in
secretive acts of aggression, such as fires, explosions, and contaminations, perpetrated against ordinary citizens, involving unexpected attacks on buildings, shopping malls, church ceremonies, offices, roadsides, and the like. These attacks are
often carried out by enemies who appear to be ordinary people, so that no one
will know what they are about. In all this, it becomes almost impossible to know
clearly who is winning, and who is losing.
This emphasis on terrorism is changing dramatically what not only military
personnel, but also firefighters and police need to do to maintain peace, protect
their allies, and defeat the enemies. This is all the more reason for Hardiness as
an important personal characteristic that will enhance the performance of the people we all depend on to keep the peace and defeat the enemy. What is needed, as
an addition to traditional skills and knowledge, is the existential courage to learn
from unexpectedly disastrous situations, so as to anticipate and avoid such disasters in the future, and become sensitive to those who are bringing them about.

References
Bartone, P. T. (1999). Hardiness protects against war-related stress in army reserve forces.
Consulting Psychology Journal, 51, 7282.
Bartone, P. T., & Snook, S. A. (1999). Cognitive and personality factors predict leader development in U.S. Army cadets. Paper presented at 35th International Applied Military Psychology
Symposium, May, Florence, Italy.
Bartone, P. T., Ursano, R. J, Wright, K. M., & Ingraham, L. H. (1989). the impact of a military
air disaster on the health of assistance workers: A prospective study. Journal of Nervous and
Mental Disease, 177, 317328.
Florian, V., Milkulincer, M., & Taubman, O. (1995). Does hardiness contribute to mental health
during a stressful real life situation? The roles of appraisal and coping. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 68, 687695.
Maddi, S. R. (1999). The personality construct of hardiness, I: Effect on experiencing, coping,
and strain. Consulting Psychology Journal, 51, 8394.
Maddi, S. R. (2002). The story of hardiness: Twenty years of theorizing, research, and practice.
Consulting Psychology Journal, 54, 173185.
Maddi, S. R., Harvey, R. H., Khoshaba, D. M., Lu, J. H., Persico, M., & Brow, M. (2006). The
personality construct of hardiness, III: Relationships with repression, innovativeness, authoritarianism, and performance. Journal of Personality, 74, 575598.
Maddi, S. R., Harvey, R. H., Resurreccion, R., Giatras, C. D., & Raganold, S. (2007). Hardiness
as a performance enhancer in firefighters. International Journal of Fire Service Leadership
and Management, 1(2), 39.
Maddi, S. R., Matthews, M. D., Kelly, D. R.,, Villarreal, B., & White, M. (2011). The role of
hardiness and grit in predicting performance and retention in USMA cadets. Military
Psychology, submitted.
Westman, M. (1990). The relationship between stress and performance: The moderating effect of
hardiness. Human Performance, 3, 141155.

Chapter 9

The Importance of Hardy Organizations

AbstractThis chapter emphasizes hardiness at the organizational level. This is


especially important in our changing times, in which it has become more difficult
for organizations to turn adversity into opportunity, fulfill obligations to customers, and keep the best personnel. Discussed is how organizations need hardiness in
their culture, climate, structure, and personnel. The advantage of this is that hardy
organizations will not become complacent and bureaucratic, as will organizations
low in hardiness. Also discussed is how organizations can assess and develop their
hardiness.
Keywords Hardy organizations Megatrends of change Organizational
culture Climate Structure And personnel Cooperation
Credibility Creativity Bureaucracy Assessing organizational
hardiness Improving organizational hardiness

Up to this point, the emphasis has been on the importance of Hardiness at the individual level. But, organizations also need to be Hardy, if they are to survive and
thrive in ongoing stressful circumstances. After all, organizations have goals that
need to be met if they are to be successful, by competing effectively with other
organizations, turning potential adversity into growth opportunities, fulfilling their
obligations to customers, and keeping their best personnel on board.
Added to these ongoing, developmental stresses that organizations undergo are
other megatrends that will add further complications. Indeed, the waning years
of the twentieth century, and the beginning of the twenty first century have been
characterized by some severe megatrends. Examples are (1) our breathtakingly
fast transition from an industrial, through a service, to an information society,
(2) the collapse of the Soviet Union and its influence on the US defense industry,
(3) the worldwide globalization, redistribution of wealth, and increased competition with the US, (4) the insistent trend toward civil rights and equality of opportunity for US minorities, (5) the growth of terroristic attacks on the US and their
influence on the US defense industry, (6) the effects of global warming on pressures to improve clean energy use, and (7) the dramatic, continuing economic
downturn and its ongoing effects on organizations and personnel.

S. R. Maddi, Hardiness, SpringerBriefs in Psychology,


DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-5222-1_9, The Author(s) 2013

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9 The Importance of Hardy Organizations

 ow Organizations Thrive in Turbulent Times Through


H
Hardiness
The trickle-down effect of these megatrends has dramatically effected organizations and the people who work in them. As companies downsize, merge, redirect
their goals, go bankrupt, or otherwise reorganize, they get continually redefined.
Organizations cannot rest on their laurels, needing instead to anticipate rapidly changing markers in order to stay a step ahead of the competition, and continue to function
well. Organization members are called upon to work harder and continue to develop
new skills, as rapidly advancing technologies are fueled by competition. In addition to
increasing job stress, the megatrends are also fueling an increase in the social, familial, and economic stresses felt by people, as they work harder to make ends meet.
For many people, the workplace is becoming a hostile environment, in which
they do not feel valued, protected, or even recognized. This combination of the
organizations disregard for employees, and their resulting disloyalty, is fueling
a general increase in stress leaves, and lawsuits concerning workmans compensation, discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination. What is needed
to counteract this unfortunate trend is the development of the work place as a
healthy learning environment, in which employees feel respected, understood, and
facilitated, and therefore respond with maximum effort, loyalty, and enthusiasm,
regardless of how long they work at that organization.
The bottom line is that organizations and the people who comprise them must
accept and anticipate the rising tide of stressful changes that is taking place, and
discover how to turn them to advantage with vigor and enthusiasm, rather than
be debilitated, outmaneuvered, or left behind. Certainly, Hardi Individuals will be
good at this. But, in short, there is also a need for Hardi Organizations.

 ulture, Climate, Structure, and Personnel of Hardy


C
Organizations
Hardi Organizations have a characteristic culture, climate, structure, and workforce (Maddi et al. 1999). The culture of an organization is formed from its values.
The values of a Hardi Organization are isomorphic with the attitudes of individual
Hardiness. Specifically, the Hardy Attitudes of commitment, control, and challenge at the individual level correspond to the Hardy Values of cooperation, credibility, and creativity at the organizational level. When individuals with a strong
sense of commitment interact together, that effort goes in the direction of valuing
cooperation, as that which expresses their group involvement. If the individuals
are also control oriented, as a group they value being credible, as that signifies
taking responsibility for their actions. And, if the individuals are also challenge
oriented, as a group they value creativity, as an expression of the search for innovative problem solutions to stressful changes affecting them all.

Culture, Climate, Structure, and Personnel of Hardy Organizations

81

Together, these three Cs forming the values of a Hardi Organization extend to


its target environment, mission statement, and work force. As to the target environment, Hardi Organizations assume that it is the nature of physical and social
conditions to change continuously, and that addressing this represents worthwhile evolutionary progress. As to a mission statement, Hardi Organizations see
that their way of excelling is based on anticipating the direction of relevant environmental and social changes, and turning them to advantage by helping to bring
the change about, and improving overall living in that process. As to the workforce, Hardi Organizations recognize it as the major asset in achieving the changeoriented mission, and believe in both facilitating and rewarding employees for
their behaviors that help fulfill this mission.
Consistent with the values of the Hardi Organization, its climate will involve
walking the talk in a manner that forms a healthy learning environment, in
which employees are expected to work together for the common good in turning
ongoing changes into growth opportunities. Characteristically, employees will be
valued for energetically committing to working with changes (rather than distancing from them), struggling for control over these changes (rather than sinking into
powerlessness), and regarding their ensuing experiences as a developmental challenge (rather than a threat to stability). The emphasis of organization members will
be on perspective and understanding, and using what is learned thereby to take
decisive actions (rather than denying, catastrophizing, or avoiding problems). In
interacting with each other, Hardi Organization members will both want for themselves and the others assistance and encouragement (rather than overprotection
or competition), thereby functioning as a team rather than merely self-interested
individuals. When a Hardi Organization member exhibits the various behaviors
mentioned here, the others will applaud that and use it as a model for their own
advancement.
The structure of a Hardi Organization will facilitate the values, mission, and
climate already identified. In most instances, a matrix management approach will
be taken, in which teams devoted to change-oriented projects will have a significant decision-making role. Although each team will, of course, have a leader, strategic decisions will tend to be reached through mutual discussion influenced by
the relevant expertise of team members. Once reached, these decisions will be
reviewed by an executive committee concerned with financial, legal, and social
implications of the decision, but thoroughly committed to the HardiOrganizations
values and mission statement. The results of these reviews will be shared with the
relevant teams, and may be appealed for further review. This structure is very different from the more traditional, pyramidal model, in which there are many levels
of leadership, which encourages bureaucracy.
As to the makeup of personnel, the Hardi Organization will be comprised of
an increasingly high proportion of Hardi Individuals. This is insured because the
usual functions of hiring and firing, promotions, gainsharing, member benefits,
and job training will reflect the ongoing culture, climate, and structure of the
HardiOrganization. Despite the continually changing work environment, Hardi
Individuals will not wish to leave employment at the Hardi Organizations that

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9 The Importance of Hardy Organizations

understand and value them. But, if they are forced to leave by company reorganizations, these Hardi Individuals will not go away mad, and will continue their proactive, innovative ways in other jobs. Indeed, they will be regarded as a valuable
commodity by other Hardi Organizations.

What are the Advantages of Hardi Organizations?


Especially these days, the distinct advantage of Hardi Organizations is that, in
tumultuously changing times, they will be especially effective in getting to the head
of the pack and staying there. In other words, they will not only become, but also
remain, the leaders. As to becoming leaders, Hardi Organizations will be sensitive
to the present and future needs of their existing and potential clients, astute in evaluating the ways in which rival organizations are trying to meet these client needs,
and both flexible and incisive in utilizing these data in formulating and refining
their own strategies on an ongoing basis. When these Hardi Organizations become
leaders, they will remain in that role because their success will not lull them into
complacency. Their belief in the inevitability of change and its value, expressed in
every part of their culture, climate, structure, and personnel, will keep them anticipating the future and developing the products and services to turn it to advantage.
In short, Hardi Organizations will defy the accepted belief that is the nature
of even the most successful organizations to go through an early period of rapid
growth, which then tapers off, and may even be followed by a decline. This tapering off of growth often coincides with a replacement of early entrepreneurial
spirit by increasing bureaucratization, as the organization shifts from its vigorous,
lean youth into a stable, comfortable maturity. In contrast, the maturity of Hardi
Organizations continues the entrepreneurial vigor and excitement of their youth.
This continued vigor stems from the important fact that Hardi Organizations are
not solely motivated by financial security. Although not indifferent to financial
issues, they are especially energized and excited by the conviction that continually
participating in ongoing change is of potential environmental and social value. This
stance is not dulled by becoming a leader and being financially successful, as Hardi
Organizations view change as continual and needing to be continually addressed.
Clear examples of Hardi Organizations are Apple and Microsoft, both of which
were founded on a sense of the future as primarily about information, communication, and virtual reality. Their young, entrepreneurial founders were out of the
loop, uninvolved with the political and financial pillars of the country, and more
influenced by the pursuit of ideas and effectiveness than standard products and
profits. Structurally, these companies evolved a matrix management pattern, and
the prevailing climate emphasized imaginativeness, initiative, and risk-taking
for individuals, and assistance and encouragement among teams. Many of the
employees appear to have the attitudes and skills comprising hardiness. They have
been a major success story of recent times, having proactively tutored a generation of folks on the power of computers and cyberspace. Having handily overcome

What are the Advantages of Hardi Organizations?

83

the prevailing giant IBM, which was too much of a traditional bureaucracy to be
flexible and proactive, Microsoft and Apple have risen to the top of the heap sufficiently to bring concerns that they may be monopolies. That concern notwithstanding, these two companies are moving on with ideas and initiatives quite
beyond the desktop, such as the auto PC, which combines a CD player, radio, and
computer. Beyond this, the companies have ideas about how to use computer and
information technology to improve and integrate the internet, televisions, cellphones, pads, toasters, poker machines, airport web terminals, and even washing
machines. These companies are a long way from merely determining what people
know they want, and passively selling that to them. Rather, the companies are educating us all as to how computer and information technology can transform our
lives. With this hardy approach, the money has just rolled in.

 hat are the Disadvantages of Organizations


W
that are not Hardy?
It is nonhardy organizations that tend to emphasize the values, mission statements,
structure, climate, and personnel that have been common in less turbulent times.
In that past, successful organizations became authoritarian in values, bureaucratic
in climate, hierarchical in structure, and unconcerned with the hardiness of their
employees. In easier times, when the US was overwhelmingly better off and more
powerful than other countries, and there were no dramatic technological advances
and economic volatility, these nonhardy organizations could manage to become
large, stable, and complacent. They were lulled by financial success into a belief
that their supremacy would never end, that their current products and services
were the best to be found, and that their decision makers were infallible. It is precisely these kinds of organizations that prompted the theorizing about a growth
cycle, of rapid early development followed by an inevitable tapering off and eventual decline, as being natural and inevitable. But, it is not natural and inevitable
just because it happened frequently. Indeed, as the megatrends of change mentioned before mounted in recent years, into a rising tide of environmental and
social change that has been called chaos (Peters 1988),9 many of our sprawling, complacent organizations suffered even more severely than would have been
expected by prevailing conceptualizations.
Let me be more specific about the characteristics of nonhardy organizations.
Such organizations are bureaucratic, authoritarian, and into maintaining stability. In everyday activities, they expect subordinates to do no more than follow the
orders of their supervisors, and do not encourage everyone to consider and reconsider what is going on, instead wanting them to just keep doing what they have
been ordered to do. The structure of such non-hardy organizations is hierarchical
(shaped like a pyramid), with many levels of authority transcending to a powerful,
authoritarian CEO. And, at the level of personnel, there is no emphasis, whatsoever, on hardy attitudes and skills in employees, and applicants being considered.

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9 The Importance of Hardy Organizations

Such nonhardy organizations may function reasonably well in stable times. As


long as they have been lucky enough to come up with several patterns of functioning that have been somewhat successful, these patterns become all that the company does. But, in changing times, this insistence on doing the same thing over
and over, will undermine the organizations success. So, in our dramatically turbulent times, such companies need to change in the direction of becoming more
hardy, in order to emphasize learning from stressful changes, and using them to
advantage in developing new approaches. How can this be done?

 an Hardi Organizations Be Built Simply Through


C
a Greening Effect?
If virtually everyone in an organization were hardy, it would be difficult for
that organization to be anything but hardy too. But, our research indicates that
only about one-third of working adults are reasonably hardy. So, it is very
unlikely, indeed accidental, for an organization not concerned about the importance of hardiness to become hardy just through the choices of employees that
it makes. And, even if the organization were lucky enough to unintentionally
gain a majority of hardy employees over time, the decision-makers in that
company would maintain the non-hardy commitments to stability and orderliness that had controlled their decision making all along. This means that the
proactive and questioning stance, interest in change, and even attempt to help
others that characterizes the hardy members of an organization may make them
seem like upstarts or rabble rousers. Hence, the greening effect is highly
unlikely to turn a company into a hardy version of itself. A more comprehensive approach must be taken to improve the functioning of companies in our
turbulent times.

 ssessing and Developing the Hardiness


A
of Organizations
There needs to be an accepted plan carried out in order to increase the hardiness
of an organization, as needed changes in this direction will not very likely happen by chance. One aspect of this plan will utilize the procedures for assessing
and training the hardiness of individuals that have already been discussed in earlier chapters. The hardiness of employees can be assessed by having them go to
our website (www.HardinessInstitute.com), and follow the instructions for taking
the 65 item Hardi Survey III-R. The comprehensive report of the results can be
obtained by following the instructions for this. Actually, if it appears better for
the report to go to a supervisor or human resources person, this can be arranged

Assessing and Developing the Hardiness of Organizations

85

through the Hardiness Institute. It would appear best for employees at all levels
of authority in the organization to be assessed for their hardiness. Needless to say,
this would include decision makers along with the others.
Among other results, the report will show whether the test-takers hardiness is
at, above, or below the average based on the Hardiness Institutes data base. When
a test-takers hardiness is below, or even only at the average, this indicates the
value of having that person go through Hardi Training. This course, which can be
done at the persons own pace, involves deepening hardy (problem solving) coping, hardy (socially supportive) interactions, and hardy (beneficial) self-care, all
in the process of also deepening the hardy attitudes of commitment, control, and
challenge. As indicated earlier, our Hardi Training has been shown to increase hardiness in both working adults and college students (Maddi et al. 1998, 2009).
The procedure outlined above can be done without the aid of hardiness experts
as consultants. But, further consulting help may be quite useful for an organization
attempting to change toward the hardiness ideal. Indeed, we have a well-developed Hardy organization assessment and consulting procedure. In this procedure,
strategic interviews, added to representatively administered Hardy Workplace and
Hardy Survey questionnaires, and refined by strategic, on-site observations of the
ongoing activities, are used to evaluate existing levels of organizational hardiness
in the organization. A report based on the results of this comprehensive assessment
procedure then becomes the basis for formulating a plan to modify the companys
culture, climate, structure, and personnel as needed, through a combined procedure of instituting changes and retraining those effected by them.
This plan builds on existing resources of hardiness within the company, and
every effort is made through workshops, executive coaching procedures, and other
communication means to consolidate support of decision makers for the proposed
changes. As the changes take place, individual employees are assessed for and
trained in hardiness, so that the work force will more fully embrace the ongoing
organizational changes. For an organization to truly grow in hardiness, the comprehensiveness of the approach outlined here is crucial. However daunting the
complexity of this approach may seem, we feel that it is more than offset by its
importance for organizational success. Indeed, we see what we are doing as our
contribution to the overall effort to meet the tumultuously changing twenty first
century more than half-way.

References
Maddi, S. R. (1998). Creating meaning through making decisions. In P. T. P. Wong & P.S. Fry
(Eds.), The human quest for meaning. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, pp. 326.
Maddi, S. R., Harvey, R. H., Khoshaba, Fazel, M., & Resurreccion, N. (2009). Hardiness training
facilitates performance in college. Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 566577.
Maddi, S. R., Khoshaba, D. M., & Pammenter, A. (1999). The hardy organization: Success by
turning change to advantage. Consulting Psychology Journal, 51, 117124.
Peters, T. (1988). Thriving on chaos. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Chapter 10

The Psychology of Possibility

Abstract In our time of turbulent change, we need to emphasize the psychology


of possibility, rather than complacent security. We need to welcome change as an
opportunity to grow and develop.
Keywords Turbulent change Possibility Complacency Growth
Development
We live in a time of major, continuous, and dramatic change, which emphasizes
the importance of the psychology of possibility. Perhaps more than ever before,
we need to accept and welcome social, familial, institutional, organizational, and
environmental changes, and meet them head on as developmental possibilities for
us, rather than pretend that they do not, or need not exist. This psychology of possibility will certainly be aided by individuals who are strong in the pattern of attitudes and skills called hardiness, and organizations which have the values, climate,
structure, and personnel consistent with hardiness.
What is important in these turbulent times is to learn from the ongoing changes,
and use what is learned to organize them, and turn them into an ongoing direction that seems likely to improve things. And, if this ongoing direction also needs
to be changed, as other developments emerge, that too is engaged in and valued.
In this, individuals, organizations, and societies will be flexible, proactive, resilient, and learning all the time, seeing this process as what makes life fulfilling.
Although they will all be changing, this will not be seen as disruptive or threatening, and undermining competition will be transcended by the recognition that all
are working toward enhancing the possibilities of living. This positive involvement
in growing through change is the cornerstone of hardiness. Specifically, with hardiness, there will be a strong commitment to evolving goals of growth, and the
involvement in the ongoing efforts to reach them. There will also be a confident
sense of the control necessary to reach these goals in a way that will be advantageous. With this courage and motivation, individuals and organizations will
engage in the hard work of turning changes from potential disasters into growth
opportunities. In this process, individuals and organizations will keep learning
from their successes and failures alike, leading to a continual updating of priorities

S. R. Maddi, Hardiness, SpringerBriefs in Psychology,


DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-5222-1_10, The Author(s) 2013

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10 The Psychology of Possibility

and goals, and the strategies for reaching them. The work involved in all this
growth process will feel fulfilling, rather than draining, with this sense of fulfillment being based less on security than on accomplishment.
Without hardiness at the individual and organizational levels, the ongoing
changes in our world will be seen as threats to our security, rather than opportunities to grow and develop. People and organizations low in hardiness emphasize the
importance of remaining the same, relying on what they already know as the truth,
and thereby seeing changes as dangerous threats to stability. In all this, individuals
and organizations will hope for a predictable, successful routine, as the best that
life can give. The boredom resulting from success in this approach will be considered just what life is all about. And, failures resulting from not keeping up growth
and development will be seen as just another sign of how unfortunately difficult it
is to avoid stressful changes. This certainly is not the psychology of possibility.
Clearly, our rapidly increasing rate of changes effecting individuals and societies will be better met through sufficient hardiness to turn the changes from potential disasters into growth opportunities. This underscores the importance of our
research-validated assessment and training procedures for hardiness at the individual and organizational levels. These procedures can be used by individuals,
for their own benefit. They can also be used by parents to learn how to help their
youngsters develop hardiness. Also, hardiness assessment and training is available in consulting and counseling work with both individuals and organizations.
Especially important organizations are schools, businesses, churches, and military,
firefighter, police, and political units.