Term of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Klibert

Committee Member 1

Karen Naufel

Committee Member 2

Nicholas Holtzman


Resilience is characterized by the ability to bounce back from stress (Bonanno, 2004; Ong et al., 2006; Smith et al., 2008). Research suggests resilience is a personal resource that helps individuals effectively cope with stress and provides protection from negative outcomes (Loh, Schutte, & Thorsteinsson, 2013). Exposure to stress is a prerequisite to building resilience across many different contexts (Graber et al., 2015; Hennessey & Levine, 1979; Rutter, 2006). Interestingly, a high accumulation of stress detracts from an individual’s abilities to build resilience (Ong et al., 2006; Tuguade & Frederickson, 2007). However, it is unknown what types of interventions explicitly lead to increases in resilience, especially in the face of stress. Positive emotions are associated with resilience, however the mechanisms by which positive emotions boost resilience remain unclear (Folkman, 2008; Tuguade & Frederickson, 2007). One possibility is that savoring, an individual’s ability to generate, sustain, and extend positive emotions, may play an important role in building resilience, especially after experiencing a stressor (Bryant & Veroff, 2007). Thus, the current study’s primary purpose was to experimentally examine whether a savoring intervention could buffer the effects of stress on resilience. One hundred and eighteen undergraduate students participated in the study, and valid data were collected from 84 individuals. Participants were randomly assigned to an induction task (stress induction vs. neutral induction) and an intervention task (savoring vs. control). A 2 (induction task) x 2 (intervention task) x 2 (time) mixed ANOVA was used to analyze the data. Results revealed a non-significant main effect for induction task and intervention task on resilience scores. Results also highlighted a non-significant interaction effect for resilience scores. These findings are inconsistent with my hypotheses. Additionally, these results call into the question the efficacy of different positive psychological theories in buffering the effects of stress on resilience.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material