Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

William Buhrow, PsyD

Second Advisor

Amber Nelson, PsyD

Third Advisor

Kameron Dill, PsyD


Resilience research has evolved from interest in understanding why some people thrive despite early adversities (Davino, 2013) to explain people’s adaptability when faced with challenge or adversity (Karaırmak & Figley, 2017). It has three components: adaptability, ability to succeed despite poor expectations, and persistent engagement instead of avoidance (Werner-Wilson et al., 2000), and is impacted by the severity of adversity, trait characteristics, and environmental characteristics (Chung, 2008). Resilience is a predictor of psychological well-being (Miranda & Cruz, 2022), is negatively correlated with loneliness (Tan et al., 2021), and while resilience is a protective factor against anxiety and depression (Cusack et al., 2022), it is not well understood in relation to severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI). This study explores the relationships among resilience, loneliness, and well-being, in the context of individuals with SPMI. We hypothesize that there is a significant difference in resilience between SPMI and non-SPMI groups, that resilience will positively correlate with well-being and negatively correlate with loneliness for those with SPMI, and that loneliness and well-being will predict resilience for those with SPMI. The present study used data from the National College Health Assessment survey and included roughly 196,000 participants. Analysis demonstrated a difference in resilience among individuals with SPMI and those without, with the SPMI sample having lower levels of resilience than the non-SPMI sample. However, differences in resilience between the groups disappeared once distress, loneliness, and well-being were accounted for. Thus, it appears that it’s not the presence of SPMI that makes a difference in resilience so much as other factors that are commonly associated with SPMI.

Included in

Psychology Commons