What predicts wellbeing amidst crisis? A study of promotive and protective psychological factors among Malaysians during the COVID-19 pandemic


  • Eugene Y. J. Tee
  • Raja I. A. b. Raja Reza Shah
  • Karuna S. Thomas
  • Evone Y. M. Phoo
  • Siew L. Ng




Resilience promotes psychological growth and buffers against the effects of negative events, but the factors that promote optimal wellbeing beyond resilience remain poorly understood. The current study addresses this gap through a positive psychology perspective by examining how (i) promotive factors – optimism and hope, and (ii) protective factors – nostalgia and spirituality promote wellbeing. We hypothesized that both factors will be positively related to wellbeing above and beyond that predicted by resilience. A representative sample of six hundred and twenty-six (n = 626; M age = 32.66, SD = 10.11, 43.45% female) Malaysians responded to an online survey at the end of the country’s second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (June-September 2020). We conducted a series of regression analyses, controlling for resilience, socio-economic status, age, and perceptions towards government crisis management efforts. Results indicate that optimism and hope positively predicted wellbeing above and beyond that predicted by resilience. Results also showed that the only significant protective factor contributing to wellbeing is spirituality. Nostalgia did not significantly predict wellbeing beyond resilience. The findings are of theoretical relevance for wellbeing and resilience research, and practically beneficial in informing mental health interventions.


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