Open Journal of Social Sciences
2013. Vol.1, No.6, 1-4
Published Online November 2013 in SciRes (http://www.scirp.org/journal/jss) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jss.2013.16001
Open Access 1
An Investigation of the Relationship between Resilience,
Mindfulness, and Academic Self-Efficacy
Michelle D. Keye, Aileen M. P idg eon
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bond Univertsity, Gold Coast, Australia
Received August 2013
Resilience, mindfulness, and academic self-efficacy are topics of interests to psychologists; however, little
is known about the relationships among the three. The primary purpose of this research was to explore the
role of mindfulness and academic self-efficacy in predicting resilience among university students. 141
participants (m = 39, f = 102) completed The Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory, The Beliefs in Educational
Success Test, and The Connor Davidson Resilience Scale. The results found that in the regression models,
mindfulness and academic self-efficacy were significant predictors of resilience. This finding suggests
that mindfulness and academic self-efficacy have a significant impact on resilience.
Keywords: Resilience; Mindfulness; Academic Self-Efficacy
The present study investigates the relationship between
mindfulness, academic self-efficacy, and resilience. Resilience
is referred to as the ability to “sustain psychological stability in
the face of stress” (Combes-Malcome, 2007: p. 20). Positive
outcomes associated with resilience are the alleviation of the
negative effects of stress, the promotion of adaptation, and the
development of effective coping skills to deal with change and
adversity (Ahern, Kiehl, Sole, & Byers, 2006; Richardson,
Neiger, Jensen, & Kumpfer, 1990). Resilience is an important
factor for preventing the development of psychopathology and
maintaining optimal functioning, physical health and psycho-
logical health despite stressful life circumstances (Ryff & Sing-
er, 2003). Many researchers believe that resilience can be
strengthened because it is not a “hard-wired” personality trait
possessed by only some individuals, and is the result of the
development of protective factors (Reivich & Shatte, 2002).
Therefore, strengthening the protective factors associated with
resilience will strengthen resilience.
Thompson, Arnkoff, and Glass (2011) have proposed that
mindfulness is associated with resilience, and Greason & Cash-
well (2009) research found evidence of an association between
mindfulness and self-efficacy. These findings suggest that
mindfulness and self-efficacy show potential to be protective
factors to strengthening resilience (Hamill, 2003). However, to
date there is little research supporting the predictive abilities of
mindfulness and self-efficacy on resilience. Therefore the aim
of the current study will be to investigate the relationship be-
tween mindfulness and self-efficacy and their potential contri-
bution to resilience.
In recent years, resilience has been recognized as a develop-
mental process, reflecting the capacity for positive adjustment
in difficult life circumstances as opposed to a trait (Lightsey,
2006). For the purpose of the present study, resilience will be
defined as the ability an individual has to recover from dis-
tressing and challenging life events with increased knowledge
to adaptively cope with similar adverse situations in the future.
This definition is based on Flach’s (1989) theory of resilience,
which states that resilience is made up of the psychological
strengths required to successfully navigate change. Flach’s
(1989) theory of resilience is based on the “Law of Disruption
and Re-integration”, which suggests that the act of “falling
apart”, or being distressed by change, is actually a necessary
part of learning to cope with stressful life events.
Flach describes disruption as the effect of life events, which
remove individuals from their own personal homeostasis. As
each person is unique, they also have unique levels of disrup-
tion that they can manage. Disruption is an unpleasant expe-
rience, even painful, and as such, Flach suggest that individuals
experiencing disruption are forced to look inward and adapt to
meet the new challenge. Flach’s theory postulates that tempo-
rary challenges are good opportunities to deal with old hurts,
discover new coping mechanisms, and generally re-organise
one’s perspective on life. This process is called re-integration
and involves re-forming ones view of the world and of oneself
(Flach, 1989). When disruption occurs, individuals try to re-
build their life, their homeostasis, by problem solving and
looking at the situation from a different perspective. Each indi-
vidual has a unique time-frame for the process of re-integration
which depends not only on the level of distress caused by the
life event, but by the capacity of that individual and the traits
they possess (Flach, 1989).
Over the last few decades, there has been research aiming to
discover what these character traits are and certain traits, in-
cluding self-efficacy, creative problem solving skills, personal
introspection, and the ability to engage with the present, have
consistently been shown to be associated with resilience
(Thompson, Arnkoff, & Glass, 2011; VanBreda, 2001). Re-
cently, research indicates that many of these traits associated
with resilience, a r e also associated with mindfulness (Van Breda,
2001) and self-efficacy (Lightsey, 2006).
M. D. KEYE, A. M. PIDGEON
Although Buddhist philosophy states that cultivating mind-
fulness is important to enhance well-being (Baer, 2003), mind-
fulness is a relatively new construct in the field of psychology
(Brown, Marquis, & Guiffrida, 2013; Catalino & Fredrickson,
2011). Mindfulness is a skill, which enhances adaptive coping
to stressful events by the self-regulation of attention towards
the immediate experience, and an open and accepting orienta-
tion towards one’s experience of the present (Bishop et al.,
2004). Thoughts and emotions that enter an individual’s aware-
ness are observed, and not expanded on or evaluated, with at-
tention being redirected towards the breath in the present mo-
ment (Chiesa & Malinowski, 2011).
A theory of mindfulness proposed by Bishop et al. (2004)
postulates that mindfulness operates by individuals learning to
abandon their efforts to forcibly control their negative thoughts
and to instead acknowledge that the thoughts and emotions are
present. The skill of mindfulness raises awareness to the tran-
sient nature of these negative thoughts, emotions, and body sen-
sations, which leads to more flexible and objective responses
rather than reactions (Keng, Smoski, & Robins, 2011). This is
contrasted with habitual judgments and interpretations of sti-
muli that enter awareness, which trigger strong emotions and
reactions, and subsequently contribute to poor mental health
Resilience and Mindfulness
A review of the literature revealed an association between
mindfulness and resilience. Lightsey (2006) postulates that
resilience can be taught through psychological interventions,
and Van Breda (2001) postulates that mindfulness-based train-
ing may be an efficacious intervention for increasing resilience.
A study by Jha, Stanley, Kiyonaga, Wong, and Gelfand (2010)
supported the notion of a relationship between mindfulness and
resilience. The Jha et al. (2010) study showed that Mindful-
ness-Based Fitness Training (MMFT) shows potential as an
effective method of increasing the resilience and psychological
well being of soldiers whose deployment and occupation in-
creases the risk of psychological trauma. Further support for an
association between resilience and mindfulness was found by
Chavers (2013) research, which found a significant correlation
between mindfulness and resilience, with mindfulness being a
significant predictor of resilience.
Academi c Self-Efficacy
Self-efficacy has been found to be associated with increased
resilience (Chemers, Hu, & Garcia, 2000; Pajares, 1996). Self-
efficacy is the interpretation individuals give to their own per-
formance and achievement (Hudson, 2007). This interpretation
is formed by existing self-beliefs and has been found to directly
affect an individual’s motivation to succeed in future situations
(Pajares, 1996). A plethora of research has shown that academic
self-efficacy has a positive relationship with university grades
(Hudson, 2007) and persistence to succeed in future tasks
(Bouffard-Bouchard, Parent, & Larivee, 1991).
Resilience and Academic Self-Efficacy
A number of theories postulate an association between aca-
demic self-efficacy and resilience. For example, Lightsey’s
(2006) theory, which proposes that individual’s self-efficacy is
central to their level of resilience. This theory has been sup-
ported empirically, by a study conducted by Speight (2009)
who found a positive relationship between self-efficacy and re-
silience in high school students. Although several studies have
shown a relationship between resilience and self-efficacy, few
have examined the relationship between academic self-efficacy
and resilience. Therefore, the present study will further our
understanding of this relationship by exploring the predictive
ability of academic self-efficacy on resilience.
The Current Study
The aim of the current study is to investigate protective fac-
tors of resilience by examining the predictive abilities of mind-
fulness and academic self-efficacy on resilience.
Therefore, it is hypothesized that:
H1: There will be a significant positive correlation between
the predictor variables for the regression model, with mindful-
ness and academic self-efficacy showing significant correla-
tions with each other.
H2: Mindfulness and academic self-efficacy will be signifi-
cant predictors of resilience with higher levels of mindfulness
and academic self-efficacy predicting higher levels of resi-
Participants were 39 male and 102 female university students
(N = 141). Inclusion criteria for this study required participants
to be aged 18 years or above.
The Freiburg Mindful ness Inve ntory (F MI) (Walach et al.,
2006) is a 14-item scale measuring an individual’s experience
of mindfulness. A total mindfulness score is given by summing
participants’ scores across all items, with greater scores indi-
cating greater levels of mindfulness.
The Beliefs in Educational Success Test (BEST). The
BEST (Majer, 2006), is a 10 -item scale measuring an individu-
al’s belief in their ability to succeed academically. Values in-
crease in increments of 10 with higher scores indicating greater
academic self-efficacy; possible total scores for the BEST range
from 100 - 1000.
The Connor Davidson-Resilience Scale (CD-RISC). The
CD-RISC (Connor & Davidson, 2003) is a 25-item scale whic h
rates how individuals have felt over the last month and their
stress coping ability. A total score is given by summing an in-
dividual’s response across all items with higher scores indicat-
ing higher levels of resilience.
Participants’ total scores for mindfulness, academic self-ef-
ficacy, and resilience were calculated by summing each item
within each scale. Mean and standard deviations for each varia-
ble can be seen in Table 1.
Table 2 shows the correlations between the predictor and
criterion variables. It can be seen that there is a significant cor-
relation between mindfulness and academic sel f-efficacy, r = . 43,
M. D. KEYE, A. M. PIDGEON
Number of participants, mean scores, and stan dard deviations f or mi n d-
fulness, academic self-efficacy, and resilience.
N M SD
Mindfulness 141 37.55 6.55
Academic Self-efficacy 1 41 775.25 130.94
Resilien ce 1 41 90.72 12.59
Note: N = Number of Participa nts, M = Mean Score, SD = Standard D eviation.
Pearson correlation coefficients for predictor and criterion variables.
Resilien ce .67*
Academic Self-efficacy .43* .65*
Note: *Correlation is significant at p < .000.
p < .000, supporting hypothesis one.
A hierarchical regression was conducted to evaluate the pre-
dictive ability of mindfulness and academic self-efficacy on the
criterion variable of resilience. Both mindfulness and academic
self-efficacy were found to be significant predictors of resi-
lience, F(1, 139) = 110.39, p < .000, and F(2, 138) = 104.44, p
< .000 respectively, supporting hypothesis two.
When used as predictors in the regression model, both
mindfulness (model 1) and academic self-efficacy (model 2)
were found to have large correlations with the criterion variable
as can be seen by the R values in Table 3. Furthermore, Table
3 shows the adjusted R² values, which were all found to be
moderately sized a nd significant. Mindfulness accounted for 44%
of the total outcome variance, and academic self-efficacy ac-
counted for 16% of the total outcome variance of the resi-
lience model. Model 2 shows that combined, mindfulness and
academic self-efficacy accounted for 60% of the total variance
in the resilience model.
Table 4 shows the standardized coefficients (β) for the re-
gression model. Of the predictor variables in the regression
model, both mindfulness and academic self-efficacy were found
to be significant predictors; however, mindfulness was found to
be the variable contributing most highly to the regression model
The purpose of the current study was to investigate the rela-
tionships between resilience, mindfulness, and academic self-
efficacy. Adequate correlations were found between the pair of
predictor variables, supporting hypothesis one. The second hy-
pothesis, which predicted that mindfulness and academic self-
efficacy would predict resilience, was supported as the results
found that both mindfulness and academic self-efficacy were
significant predictors of resilience. The regression model
showed that mindfulness and academic self-efficacy combined
accounted for a large amount of the total variance in the resi-
lience model. These results support Flach’s (1989) theory of
resilience that suggests mindfulness and academic self-efficacy
to be part of the repertoire of psychological strengths, which
allow individuals to successfully navigate change. In the case of
self-efficacy, the results from the current study supports
Lightsey’s (2006) theory, which proposes that an individual’s
The regression models for the predictor variables (mindfulness and
academic self-efficacy) and the criterion of resilience.
R Adjusted R2 R2 Change df1 df2
Model 1a .67* .44 .44 1 139
Model 2b .78* .60 .16 1 138
Note: aPredictors: (constant), total mindfulness; bPredictors: (cons tant ), total
mindfulness, total academic self-efficacy; *Significant at p < .000.
coefficients for regressio n models showing size of sign ificant predictor
variables (mindfulness and academic self-efficacy).
B SE β 95% CI for B
Constant 42.73 4.64 [33.56, 51.90]
Mindfulness 1.28 .12 .67* [1.04, 1.52]
Constant 23.5 4.71 [14.21, 32.81]
Mindfulness .91 .15 .47* [.69, 1.14]
A. Self-efficacy .04 .01 .44* [.03, .05]
Note: A. Self-efficacy = Academic Self-efficacy; CI = Confidence Interval; *p
self-efficacy is central to their level of resilience.
A number of limitations must be considered when examining
these results. Firstly, while the findings of the present study are
theoretically grounded, the variables were not manipulated in
an experimental design. As such, the researchers acknowledge
that there may be other variables, which are operating within
the relationships found, that may be having a great influence on
the results. Furthermore, as the majority of participants in the
sample were female university students, there is a limited abili-
ty to generalize the results. It is recommended that future re-
search use a more diverse sample of university students.
The current findings have implications for future research as
they expand upon current knowledge of the protective factors
that strengthen resilience. For example, if mindfulness and
academic self-efficacy predict resilience in students, then de-
veloping interventions that target increasing students’ mindful-
ness and academic self-efficacy may be beneficial in streng-
thening resilience. As there is growing research showing the
importance of resilience in positive mental health (Lightsey,
2006; Richardson, Neiger, Jensen, & Kumpfer, 1990), potential
new interventions for strengthening resilience may be benefi-
cial for mental health professionals.
In conclusion, the present study provides an investigation of
the relationship between resilience, mindfulness, and academic
self-efficacy. Given the finding that mindfulness and academic
self-efficacy are significant predictors of resilience it is recom-
mended that future studies use experimental methods to repli-
cate these findings in order to gain a more comprehensive un-
derstanding of these relationships and their applications to the
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