Conservation of Resources (COR) theory predicts that resource loss is the principal ingredient in the stress process. Resource gain, in turn, is depicted as of increasing importance in the context of loss. Because resources are also used to prevent resource loss, at each stage of the stress process people are increasingly vulnerable to negative stress sequelae, that if ongoing result in rapid and impactful loss spirals. COR theory is seen as an alternative to appraisal‐based stress theories because it relies more centrally on the objective and culturally construed nature of the environment in determining the stress process, rather than the individual’s personal construel. COR theory has been successfully employed in predicting a range of stress outcomes in organisational settings, health contexts, following traumatic stress, and in the face of everyday stressors. Recent advances in understanding the biological, cognitive, and social bases of stress responding are seen as consistent with the original formulation of COR theory, but call for envisioning of COR theory and the stress process within a more collectivist backdrop than was first posited. The role of both resource losses and gains in predicting positive stress outcomes is also considered. Finally, the limitations and applications of COR theory are discussed.
Applied Psychology – Wiley
Published: Jul 1, 2001
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