Stress-Related Growth and Thriving Through Coping: The Roles of Personality and Cognitive Processes


  • Crystal L. Park

    Corresponding author
    1. Miami University
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      CRYSTAL PARK is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Her research focuses on various aspects of stress, coping, and adaptation, especially on how people's beliefs, goals, and values affect their ways of perceiving and dealing with stressful events. She has published articles on the roles of religious beliefs and religious coping in response to stressful life events, the phenomenon of stress-related growth, and people's attempts to find meaning in or create meaning out of negative life events and circumstances.

Department of Psychology, Miami University, 136 Benton Hall, Oxford, OH 45056; e-mail:


This article describes the theoretical perspectives and the empirical research relating personal dispositions, resources, appraisals, and coping processes to stress-related growth and thriving within a transactional stress and coping framework. Following a description of this framework, the personal characteristics relevant to thriving and growth are reviewed. It is noted that personal characteristics may exert effects directly on positive outcomes such as thriving and growth, and that the effects of these personal characteristics may also be mediated by various appraisal and coping processes. Theoretical and empirical work on appraisal and coping processes as predictors of growth and thriving are then reviewed. Work on comprehensive models of stress-related growth and thriving that include personal resources and coping processes is discussed; such models consider appraisal and coping processes as potential mechanisms through which personal characteristics may operate indirectly to affect stress-related growth and thriving. Finally, some implications of these relationships for individuals and for communities are suggested.