The Role of Personal Adaptive Capacity in Women Navigating Disruption in Their Life Spaces

Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Audrey Rabas, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Deborah Johnson-Blake, D.M.

Third Advisor

Greg Aldred, Ed.D.


Adaptive capacity (AC) is needed to successfully contend with and overcome the risk factors associated with disruption and uncertainty that characterize continuous change and challenge. AC is a latent construct that is activated in response to crisis or opportunity. AC reduces vulnerability and enables a successful response to disruption and complexity by supplying its holder with the capacity to adjust to change, manage risks, take advantage of opportunities, devise effective strategies, and adopt novel solutions. AC in individuals is directly related to the quality of and satisfaction with life spaces, to professional resilience, and to endurance in challenging contextual environmental circumstances. Personal adaptive capacity (PAC) describes AC at the individual level. This study used a quantitative correlational design to investigate two dimensions of PAC in women. A two-way ANOVA was conducted to determine which factor level combinations of the dimensions of PAC produced the highest scores in perceived resilience. The results of the study showed a strong main effect of pragmatic prospection on perceived resilience F (1, 94) = 67.23, p < .001, partial n2 = .417, at an alpha of .05. A Pearson’s product-moment correlation was run to determine whether any correlation existed between variables. The results of the study showed statistically significant, strong positive correlation between pragmatic prospection and perceived resilience, r (96) = .834, p < .001, with pragmatic prospection explaining 70% of the variability in perceived resilience. Further work is needed to investigate PAC in other populations, with other research designs, or with other instruments.

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