Psychobiological Resilience: A Longitudinal Qualitative Exploratory Approach
Objective: To introduce researchers to a new qualitative method for longitudinally exploring the links between biological resilience and psychological resilience among adults having been confronted with the risk of death.
Methods: Biological resilience was assessed in three participants who were respectively resilient, non-resilient, and recovered, within two months following a traumatic event involving the risk of death, and then again after 10 months, 17 months, and 24 months. Various markers of diurnal cortisol, including CAR (cortisol awakening response), area under the curve (AUC), diurnal slope, peak, etc., were taken into account. Psychological resilience was approached via the absence of psychopathological symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and/or depression, measured at the same times using the Damiani-Fradin Traumaq Scale, the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Questionnaire, and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDIII). We hypothesized that psychological resilience is determined by the quality of the imaginary space and the mentalization process measured on the Rorschach test.
Results: For the resilient and recovered subjects, psychological resilience preceded biological resilience, whereas for the nonresilient subject, the time curves of the biological and psychological markers were altered from the beginning and remained so.
Conclusion: The present study underlines the interest to study simultaneously biological and psychological parameters in view of accounting for interrelations between neurobiological resilience and psychological resilience. Further researches, involving this innovative approach, are suggested.