The study is a multi-centre collaborative work that forms part of a broader research project modelling psychological resilience, that is, what factors determine, are predictive of or contribute to an individual’s psychological resilience? The project aims to achieve a better understanding of the construct of psychological resilience, to develop and validate construct measures, to establish how resilience is related to other psychological constructs, to assess the impact of psychological resilience on functioning and to develop interventions to promote and build psychological resilience. Questions posed by the project include how to measure psychological resilience, can psychological resilience be developed in individuals and what are the effects of high/low psychological resilience on an individual’s health, wellbeing and performance.
This particular study addresses the final question contextualized in an educational context, measuring academic resilience (ARS-30) and wellbeing in a cross-sectional study of a sample of over 1000 students across three leading schools of pharmacy. Pharmacy education is a particularly competitive and demanding field, with research mainly focused on academic achievement with little attention to mental health and wellbeing.
Recent increases more generally in the number of undergraduate students disclosing mental health conditions and requesting university counselling services highlights the need to better prepare students for the challenges of university. Understanding the relationship between resilience, the capacity to bounce back from adversity, and wellbeing offers the potential for universities to develop preventative strategies emphasizing positive mental health and wellbeing.
Findings, accepted for presentation at the Pharmacy Education Conference 2020 and for publication in Pharmacy Education, revealed a significant association between academic resilience and wellbeing in pharmacy students. Critically, as academic resilience was also identified as a predictor for wellbeing, academic resilience varied by year of study, declining over the first three years of the MPharm programme. The association between academic resilience and student wellbeing suggests that interventions focusing on promoting resilience may lead to improved wellbeing. This may be particularly relevant for pharmacy schools in light of the reported decline in academic resilience across the duration of the MPharm programme. Current and planned work for the project in general includes a longitudinal study examining temporal aspects of academic resilience and exploring the relationship between emotion regulation and psychological resilience.
Team: Dr Sarah Willis, Dr Louise Hughes, Dr Catherine Langran