Affirmed personal values reported the least stress

Abstract: Stress is implicated in the development and progression of a broad array of mental and physical health disorders. Theory and research on the self suggests that self-affirming activities may buffer these adverse effects. This study experimentally investigated whether affirmations of persona l values attenuate physiological and psychological stress responses. Eighty- five participants completed either a value affirmation task or a control task prior to participating in a laboratory stress challenge.

Participants who affirmed their values had significantly lower cortisol responses to stress, compared to control participants. Dispositional self-resources (e.g., trait self-esteem and optimism) moderated the relationship between value affirmation and psychological stress responses, such that high self- resource participants who had affirmed personal values reported the least stress. These findings suggest that reflecting on personal values can keep neuroendocrine and psychological responses to stress at low levels. Implications for research on the self, stress processes, and health and for interventions are discussed.

PDF: “Affirmation of Personal Values Buffers Neuroendocrine and Psychological Stress Responses”

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