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Publication Date



UM campus only

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Matthias Siemer - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

David Loewenstein - Committee Chair

Third Committee Member

Sheri Johnson - Committee Member


Resilience implies the ability to quickly recover from a negative life event and adapt to changing situations. The goal of the current study was to explore the mechanisms underlying resilience, including the roles of cognitive emotion regulation (reappraisal) and cognitive flexibility. Although all aforementioned mechanisms were investigated, there was a particular focus on the relationship between resilience and "affective flexibility," a term used to describe cognitive flexibility in processing affective stimuli. In the current study, participants completed several self-report personality and behavioral scales, including measures of trait-resilience and cognitive reappraisal, a cognitive flexibility task, a working memory task and two novel affective flexibility tasks. Results showed that one of the two affective flexibility tasks was a valid measure of the affective flexibility construct; affective flexibility significantly predicted level of resilience above and beyond cognitive flexibility and working memory. Cognitive flexibility was also a unique predictor of resilience when controlling for affective flexibility and working memory. Cognitive reappraisal was positively correlated with resilience but it did not appear to mediate the relationship between affective flexibility and resilience. This study was the first to demonstrate that resilience is related to specific cognitive abilities rather than general executive functioning. It is also the first to introduce and operationalize the construct of affective flexibility and show that it is a distinct process from cognitive flexibility. Research limitations and future directions are discussed.


Emotion Regulation; Executive Functions