Friends – Good Things to Have

May 22, 2021

We know that social support is a massive component of our Resilience Shield. But did you know friends are likely to move the needle more than family or loved ones?

Friends are good things to have for a whole range of reasons, but you can now add resilience building to that list.  As part of our ongoing research project with the University of Western Australia, we’ve been stress-testing our Resilience Shield model – primarily to see whether it works (it was developed by infantrymen after all….) and secondly to see how the layers of the Shield contributed to overall resilience.  Dr Lies Notebaert has recently concluded analysis on the initial tranche of over 1600 survey results and we are pleased to say that the Resilience Shield model is scientifically sound!  We’re also pleased to say that Lies’s analysis has turned up some interesting results related to the Social Layer of your Shield.

First up, the Social Layer highlights an interesting difference between the concepts of resilience and vulnerability (which is defined in our survey as feelings of alienation, rigidity and powerlessness).  We had assumed that resilience and vulnerability worked as opposites – if you increased resilience, you decreased vulnerability and vice versa. What Lies found out was that they actually act partially independently of one another – and that the Social Layer is likely to be most powerful in reducing your vulnerability.  For all you stats gurus out there, this is indicated by the relationship between the Social Layer (the ‘Scl’ circle in the diagram below) and Dispositional Vulnerability (‘DsV’).  The standardised coefficient of 0.59 on this path gives an R-squared value of 0.346, which means that 34.6% of the variance in Dispositional Vulnerability is explained by the Social Layer.  In other words, stronger Social Layer = less vulnerability! Further, it seems that it is your friends, more than your family or significant other, that is moving the needle in this regard, explaining over 60% of the variance in the Social Layer within our sample.


The bottom line is that our friends are important for our Resilience Shield and that making time for them – and being present when we’re with them – can pay dividends for our overall wellbeing.

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