The goal of this web site is to make it easy for researchers worldwide and other interested groups to obtain information about psychological hardiness and the Dispositional Resilience Scale, a tool I developed to measure the key psychological qualities summarized as “hardiness.”

My research on hardiness began in 1981 as a graduate student at the University of Chicago, where I looked at stress and health in Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) city bus drivers for my dissertation research. At Chicago I was part of a research group led by Dr. Salvatore Maddi and Dr. Suzanne (Ouellette) Kobasa. My dissertation research identified the major sources of job-related stress for bus drivers, and found that job stress was related to a range of health problems for bus drivers. But as hypothesized, drivers who were high in the personality characteristics Kobasa described as “hardiness” – commitment, control and challenge – appeared resistant to the ill-effects of stress.

As part of my dissertation research, I also sought to create a better instrument for measuring hardiness, one that was shorter and more reliable and valid than earlier hardiness measures developed for use with executives. These earlier measures had a number of problems, including long and unwieldy items to measure control. Scales also lacked reliability, with many items not correlating well with the scales they were intended to measure. Another shortcoming of these early hardiness scales was that all of the items were negatively worded, leaving the entire measure more vulnerable to contamination by neuroticism. The 50-item scale I developed for my dissertation reseach worked very well with bus drivers, but it still had some shortcomings. In post-doctoral work at Chicago I further developed this into the 45-item “Dispositional Resilience Scale” (DRS), which was better balanced for positive and negative items, and for capturing the three main facets of hardiness – commitment, control and challenge, with 15 items for each facet.

Since then, I’ve conducted numerous studies on stress, health, and performance in various groups, always seeking to clarify individual differences in response patterns, and in particular to understand healthy, resilient responding to stress. I’ve also continued to improve the instrument for measuring the hardy-resilient style. This is important, since the accuracy of research findings in studies like this hinges on having reliable and valid instruments to measure the variables of interest.

The latest and best version of the DRS is the DRS-15 (v3.2), designed to be brief, reliable, and valid across multiple groups and cultures.  In addition to total hardiness, this 15-item scale yields scores on the three hardiness facets of commitment, control and challenge.