The acceptance of complexity: effects on psychological well-being and resilience Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 22, 2019
  • Miceli, Paul M.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Struggling with complexity in the world can lead to depressed affect, rumination, and multiple other negative psychological and physical health outcomes. This dissertation explores the other side of coping with complexity using a new construct termed the acceptance of complexity (AoC), which is defined as the willingness to experience complex situations without judgment or avoidance. It is hypothesized that AoC affects positive aspects of psychological well-being and resilience. The ultimate goal of this new program of research is to develop an intervention that increases AoC, and to demonstrate that this increase leads to better psychological well-being and resilience. Two studies focused on the beginning stages of this ultimate goal. Study 1 developed a 10 item scale measuring individual differences in AoC, and the scale was partially validated in Studies 1 and 2. AoC was conceptually and empirically distinct from similar constructs (e.g., Intolerance of Uncertainty, Psychological Acceptance, Need for Closure), and it was correlated with multiple aspects of positive psychological well-being and resilience (e.g., higher satisfaction with life and dispositional resilience; lower depression and anxiety symptoms). Study 2 attempted to manipulate AoC and tested the effects of the manipulation on state-level resilience. The manipulation failed to show significant differences between experimental groups. Methodological limitations that may have affected the test of the manipulation are discussed. Study 2 also identified ambiguity tolerance, which is conceptually similar to AoC, as an important variable related to state-level resilience and other psychological well-being variables (e.g., ego-resiliency and positive emotionality), suggesting that future research in this area should also consider this construct in addition to AoC. This research began to illuminate the relationship between AoC and psychological well-being and resilience. With this foundation, future research can begin to develop short- or long-term interventions meant to increase AoC.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • ... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Psychology.
  • Green, Melanie C.
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This work has no parents.