Self-focused and other-focused resiliency: Plausible mechanisms linking early family adversity to health problems in college women

Sulamunn R.M. Coleman, Matthew J. Zawadzki, Kristin E. Heron, Lenny R. Vartanian, Joshua M. Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study examined whether self-focused and other-focused resiliency help explain how early family adversity relates to perceived stress, subjective health, and health behaviors in college women. Participants: Female students (N = 795) participated between October 2009 and May 2010. Methods: Participants completed self-report measures of early family adversity, self-focused (self-esteem, personal growth initiative) and other-focused (perceived social support, gratitude) resiliency, stress, subjective health, and health behaviors. Results: Using structural equation modeling, self-focused resiliency associated with less stress, better subjective health, more sleep, less smoking, and less weekend alcohol consumption. Other-focused resiliency associated with more exercise, greater stress, and more weekend alcohol consumption. Early family adversity was indirectly related to all health outcomes, except smoking, via self-focused and other-focused resiliency. Conclusions: Self-focused and other-focused resiliency represent plausible mechanisms through which early family adversity relates to stress and health in college women. This highlights areas for future research in disease prevention and management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-95
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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