The critical importance of psychological flexibility and how it predicts mental health outcomes and resilience | The Oxford Review

The critical importance of psychological flexibility and how it predicts mental health outcomes and resilience

Research Briefing

Keywords: Psychological inflexibility, Psychological flexibility, cognitive flexibility, cognitive inflexibility, coaching

Psychological flexibility refers to a number of things, such as how an individual:

1. Adapts and adjusts to changing circumstances and demands.

2. Reconfigures, shifts and refocuses their mental resources.

3. Is able to change perspective and view things from different view points.

4. Balances and negotiates competing and conflicting needs, wants, desires and demands.

Importantly, previous studies have found that psychological flexibility is a non- permanent psychological state that can be fostered and developed over time. It has also been strongly linked to resilience and emotional stability. A 2015 study found that psychological flexibility is the single largest factor which insulates or ‘inoculates’ armed services personnel who have engaged in combat from stress, depression and the risk of suicide. Psychological flexibility was found to prevent emotional distress following combat exposure.

This briefing is based on two new studies that have just been published about how psychological flexibility predicts mental health outcomes, responses to stress and affect resilience.

This research briefing is of immense use to anyone interested in resilience, employee mental health and psychological flexibility.

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Disclaimer: This is a research review, expert interpretation and briefing. As such it contains other studies, expert comment and practitioner advice. It is not a copy of the original study – which is referenced. The original study should be consulted and referenced in all cases. This research briefing is for informational and educational purposes only. We do not accept any liability for the use to which this review and briefing is put or for it or the research accuracy, reliability or validity. This briefing as an original work in its own right and is copyright © Oxford Review Enterprises Ltd 2016-2019. Any use made of this briefing is entirely at your own risk.