Adversity in life is necessary to build resilience and adaptation, so says a recent study published in the October issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  According to the study, people that experienced some adverse events reported better mental health and well-being than those exposed to high levels of adversity or no adversity at all.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo looked at 2,398 people who took part in a national survey each year from 2001 to 2004, and found that people with a history of some lifetime adversity appeared to weather recent adverse events better than other people.

“Our findings revealed that a history of some lifetime adversity–relative to both no adversity or high adversity–predicted lower global distress, lower functional impairment, lower [post-traumatic stress] symptoms and higher life satisfaction,” said study author Mark Seery, an assistant professor of psychology at the university.

The study looked at “major lifetime adversity,” but the authors note that even relatively mundane challenges may increase overall resilience.

Well no surprises here, as I know how important challenges are to our physical, mental and spiritual growth.  Sure we can call it resilience, although I’d just call it evolution.  Avoiding or resisting challenges and having others provide constant protective support does not allow for maximal growth.  Neither does an overload of stress for that matter, so these results would be expected.  I’m just pleased to see that they’ve now put a study to what appears to me a experiential-truth.

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