Stressors are experienced by everyone, but the current psychological literature identifies resilience at the trait level, which negates the possibility that everyone can engage in resilient responses to adversity. The Challenge Model of resilience describes a more dynamic portrayal of resilience that suggests resilience resources are developed through gaining a sense of mastery over failure experiences. In the current study, preschool-aged children were recruited to investigate resilience from a developmental perspective. The children were evaluated in terms of both their aspiration and performance on two trials of a block-building task and one trial of a beanbag throwing task. After the first trial of the block-building task, participants were given feedback that reflected either a pessimistic or optimistic explanatory style. While the aspiration scores were not clearly related to the feedback condition groups, there was a significant interaction between the performance scores and the feedback condition groups. Despite the advantage of participants in the pessimistic explanatory style condition initially having overall higher trait resilience scores, participants in the optimistic explanatory style condition experienced greater improvements in performance scores. These findings provide evidence for the incompleteness of the trait model of resilience and generate support for the dynamic Challenge Model of resilience, while simultaneously identifying cognitive attributions as being a highly influential mechanisms in the process of resilience.


Thompson, Claudia




Cognitive Psychology | Developmental Psychology | Experimental Analysis of Behavior


resilience, developmental psychology, feedback, cognitive attributions, explanatory styles, positive psychology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Anjela J. Galimberti