Memorable Messages as Anticipatory Resilience: Examining Associations Among Memorable Messages, Communication Resilience Processes, and Mental Health

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Memorable messages oftentimes are associated with hope, can foster anticipatory resilience prior to the experience of disruptive events, and can buffer the negative impact of adverse experiences on mental health. However, associations among memorable messages, engagement in resilience processes, and mental health have not been examined. Drawing from the communication theory of resilience (CTR), analyses of data from 262 Chinese adults suggested that memorable messages provided a sense of agency and pathways – two interrelated but distinct components of dispositional hope – and functioned as a form of anticipatory resilience that was positively associated with outcomes of coping with disruptive life events including mental health, posttraumatic growth, and meaning in life. These associations were mediated by the extent to which individuals engaged in change- and continuity-related resilience processes as outlined in CTR. Findings offer theoretical implications for memorable message and resilience research as well as practical implications for communicative strategies that can cultivate anticipatory resilience, promote positive adaptation, learning, and reflection, and mitigate the negative effects that disruptive events can have on mental health.

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Health Communication, in press