In this research we investigate the psychological determinants of resilience. Specifically, we observe whether the adaptation process to negative life events is different across the distribution of personality traits (the so-called big five) and of different life attitudes (such as locus of control and risk aversion). We take into consideration two different areas of shocking events: the job market one (through general unemployment and dismissal) and the familiar one (through divorce and widowhood).
Using longitudinal data, we both observe whether specific traits reduce the immediate drop in life satisfaction due to the negative event, and whether they make the recovery over time faster. Also, under the hypothesis that resilience is built through the combination of different characteristics (usually called 'protective factors'), we aggregate various personality traits and life attitudes on the base of the most used resilience scales in the psychological literature. Taking advantage of the information present in the SOEP, we built different scales of resilience and we test their capacity of reducing the effect of negative events.
These first provisional results show that personality traits can be determinants in both attenuating the immediate effect of negative events and in accelerating the recovery to the previous level of life satisfaction.