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C. Just How Hardy Are You?

Narrator: This is Science Today. How do you hold up in times of crisis or stress? Do you dig in and get through, thriving on the challenge? Or do you fall apart? Many people consider how you react to be a moment of truth in which your inherent nature comes to surface. But Dr. Salvatore Maddi, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, says that's not so. Maddi, who calls these skills hardiness, trains people to learn these skills.

Maddi: We think of it as a combination of attitudes and skills that help you cope with stressful circumstances, whether the stresses are big or small. The attitudes are what we came to call the three C's - commitment, control and challenge.

Narrator: Then there's the coping and social support skills, such as putting stressful situations into perspective and learning to resolve conflicts with others.

Maddi: The research has also concerned itself with evaluating the effects of our hardy training and it shows that the hardy training really works in the sense that it increases hardiness, but in addition, it improves performance, conduct, morale and health.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.