Expanding the reflexive space: resilient young adults, institutional cultures, and cognitive schemas
Manglos-Weber, Nicolette D.
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Citation (published version)Nicolette D Manglos-Weber, J. Avelis. 2019. "Expanding the Reflexive Space: Resilient Young Adults, Institutional Cultures, and Cognitive Schemas." Sociological Forum, https://doi.org/10.1111/socf.12519
For many U.S. young adults, being resilient to stressful events hinges on making meaning of such events and thereby minimizing their negative emotional impact. Yet why are some better able to do this than others? In this study, which uses an innovative outlier sampling strategy and linked survey and interview data, we argue that one important factor is connection to institutional cultures associated with higher education, religion/spirituality, and the military. Such cultures provide material for the development of cognitive schemas that can be adopted and applied to their stressful experiences, which include narratives of social progress, divine providence, and self‐discipline. Using a metaphor adapted from the pragmatist philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce, we argue the resulting schemas have the effect of “expanding the space” of reflexive thought, providing new cognitive material for interpreting stress and supporting resilience. Finally, we argue this framing improves in several ways on the concept of meaning making often used in stress process research.