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Resilience and Positive Emotions: Examining the Role of Emotional Memories


  • Preparation of this article was facilitated by a grant from the Fond Québécois de la Recherche en Sciences Humaines (FQRSC) to the second author. The authors would like to thank Dr. Marc-André Bouchard and Dr. Annie Bernier for their comments on an early draft of this paper.

concerning this article should be addressed to Frederick L. Philippe, Department of Psychology, McGill University, 1205 Dr. Penfield Avenue, Montreal, QC, H3A 1B1, Canada. E-mail:


Abstract Resilience has been frequently associated with positive emotions, especially when experienced during taxing events. However, the psychological processes that might allow resilient individuals to self-generate those positive emotions have been mostly overlooked. In line with recent advances in memory research, we propose that emotional memories play an important role in the self-generation of positive emotions. The present research examined this hypothesis in two studies. Study 1 provided initial data on the validity and reliability of a measure of emotional memories networks (EMN) and showed that it had a predictive value for broad emotion regulation constructs and outcomes. In addition, Study 1 showed that positive EMN mediated the relationship between psychological resilience and the experience of positive emotions in a context of sadness, even after controlling for pre-experimental positive mood. Study 2 replicated results of Study 1 in a context of anxiety and after controlling for positive affectivity trait.