Hardiness As A Concept

The concept of hardiness was identified by a twelve-year study at the Illinois Bell Telephone Company (IBTC) from 1975 to 1987, which was a time of severe corporate disruption and the deregulation of the communications industry (Maddi, 2007; Maddi & Kobasa, 1984). The investigation followed managers and executives who remained with IBTC as well as those who were laid off. Two-thirds of this group was stricken with an increase in violence, absenteeism, divorce, suicide, heart attacks, and other mental and physical health problems, while the other one-third thrived and survived without an increase of these issues. An analysis of the data determined that the differentiating factor between these groups was an attitude characterized by hardiness (Kobasa, 1979; Maddi, 2007; Maddi & Kobasa, 1984).

This hardy attitude was comprised of three perceptual dimensions: commitment, control, and challenge. The resilient individuals remained committed to their circumstances, desired to be involved in the current situation, and found meaning. They believed they had personal control of the outcome in obstacles and shunned passivity and powerlessness. In addition, they perceived change, whether positive or negative, as challenging and as an opportunity to acquire wisdom and growth. The study also found that having hardy attitudes led to hardy coping, hardy health practices, and hardy social support networks. Those with resilient attitudes faced problems and turned po-

tential disasters into opportunities, had positive interactions with significant others comprised of mutual assistance and encouragement, and prioritized physically healthy activities such as exercising, dieting, relaxation, and following their doctor's recommendations (Maddi, 2002, 2007; Maddi & Kobasa, 1984).

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