Date of Award

Fall 12-18-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (PhD)


Industrial/Organizational Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Lynette H. Bikos, Ph.D.

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Paul R. Yost, Ph.D.

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Audrey M. Kinase Kolb, Ph.D.


Psychological resilience, Prosocial action, Volunteer, COVID-19, Maskmaking


Building and maintaining psychological resilience is important because it mediates the impact of stress on life outcomes such as depression, life satisfaction, and well-being. The purpose of this dissertation was to assess the impact of prosocial action as a way to enhance resilience and reduce the impact of adversity. Using 12 waves of longitudinal data collected from 86 female volunteer maskmakers in the U.S. between April and July 2020, this study assessed the hypothesis that the prosocial action of maskmaking will moderate the impact of the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic such that at higher levels of maskmaking, the volunteer’s psychological resilience will be higher. The study clocked time using metric COVID-19 case rates in the participant’s local county. Psychological resilience was measured using the Brief Resilient Coping Scale (BRCS; Sinclair & Wallston, 2004). Over the course of the study, participants ages 20 to 77 (M = 50.33, SD = 14.58) contributed over 5,000 hours and made over 20,000 masks. Multilevel modeling with a compositional effects approach was used to assess the degree to which the data fit a set of theoretically driven models. The model containing a within-person interaction term was selected as the best fit. A simple slopes analysis was used to probe the interaction. Results indicated support for the hypothesis; however, at higher and lower levels of maskmaking, the moderation was dependent on the level of the metric COVID-19 case rate in the maskmaker’s county. Making masks at one’s average hours per week showed resilience remaining steady. Increasing the time engaged in maskmaking above one’s own weekly average hours predicted higher resilience at lower levels of adversity but not at higher levels of adversity. The results indicate that prosocial action can contribute to developing and maintaining psychological resilience. The results also suggest the importance of being self-aware and adjusting one’s own mix of prosocial action, self-care, and social support based on the magnitude of the adversity one is facing. Future research on the complex relationship between adversity and resilience practices could help to avoid potential pitfalls and achieve the greatest benefits of resilience practices.

Keywords: Psychological resilience, Prosocial action, Volunteer, COVID-19, Maskmaking