People who are resilient work smarter, and can negotiate the inevitable changes that are the one certainty of life.  People who know what teamwork really means can turn good teams into great ones.

The Challenge of Change is measurable and results focused.   Amongst Resources you will find Case Studies, Latest Research Findings, and other downloads, all useful to share with colleagues or attach to proposals.


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  • "...our workforce is better prepared for and able to cope with change."
    Christine Sewell  
  • "We've found the Challenge of Change empowers people to adapt positively to change..."
    Kerry Cornelious  
  • "It's the only training course in the area of stress management I would recommend."
    Rochelle Spillane  
  • "...some staff have referred to it as 'life changing'..."
    Karen Mather  
  • "I've had excellent feedback from participants, with some colleagues saying it's one of the best courses they've ever attended."
    Michelle Shield  
  • "...the course dispelled many myths about stress, backed up with simple coping mechanisms..."
    Blair Stevenson  
  • "...really beneficial - particularly relevant in the challenging retail environment where the only real constant is change..."
    Richard Binns  
  • Research News & Developments November 2013: The SPORE Study

    Jo Clarke is one of our training associates based in the UK.  Jo is also on the faculty of the Psychology Department at the University of York, and she was the Lead Researcher in a recent study of the factors that contributed to resilience amongst prison service probation staff: the Sustaining Probation Officer Resilience in Europe (SPORE – Clarke, 2013). 

    SPORE was a substantial cross-European investigation of a total of 547 probation staff from Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria and the Netherlands, and included a wide range of potential factors which were thought to be significant in determining resilience (the measure that was used appears in brackets): physical work environment (Physical Work Environment Satisfaction Questionnaire, PWESQ; Carlopio, 1996),  co-worker cohesion (from the Work Environment Scale, WES,; Moos, 1994), conscientiousness (from the NEO-PI-R Big 5 scale; Costa & McCrae), interpersonal trust (Interpersonal Worker Trust Scale, IWTS; Cook & Wall, 1980), supervisor support (from the Federal Bureau of Prisons index, 1995), and psychological empowerment (Psychological Empowerment Inventory, PEI; Spreitzer, 1995). 

    Research versions of scales from which some components of the Challenge of Change Resilience Profile were derived were also included, as well as the index of organisational climate developed as part of the Challenge of Change Dream Team training programme.  The three scales were detached coping (from the Coping Styles Questionnaire, CSQ; Roger, Jarvis & Najarian, 1993), rumination (from the Inhibition-Rumination Scale, I-RS; Roger, Guarino de Scremin, Borril & Forbes, 2011), and organisational climate (The Climate Survey, C-SURV; Roger, 2010). 

    Outcomes were measured mainly by indices of adaptive capacity and job satisfaction, and: overall adaptive capacity was predicted by detached coping, and job satisfaction by the climate survey, in all four countries included in the study.   Adaptive capacity was also predicted by physical work environment in three of the countries (not including Bulgaria) and job satisfaction was predicted by detached coping in three countries (again excluding Bulgaria).  A summary of the findings by country are shown in the tables below.  The results for job satisfaction and adaptational capacity are shown separately, and the tables include the overall effect as well as the effects for each country:

                                                   Bulgaria        Estonia          Latvia          Netherlands          Overall

    Job Satisfaction                                                                            

    Organisational climate

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    Detached coping

    X

    X

    X

    X

    Physical work environment

    X

    X

    X

    X

    Conscientiousness

    X

    X

    X

    X

    Adaptational Capacity                                                                 

    Detached coping

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    Organisational climate

    X

    X

    Physical work environment

    Conscientiousness

    X

    X

    From the perspective of the measures that form part of the Challenge of Change training system – Detached Coping and Organisational Climate – the findings were very much as one might have hoped, with personal adaptational skills predicted primarily by Detached Coping and job satisfaction predicted mainly by Organisational Climate.  The results echo those obtained in the four case studies summarised on the website, and provide a further clear and strong endorsement of the Challenge of Change suite of measures in a comprehensive and carefully controlled study of resilience across different European countries.

    Avoidance Coping Research Update

    The Challenge of Change Profile that participants complete prior to taking part in the Resilience training programme comprises eight different scales, one of which is avoidance coping.  Avoidance is a well-know term, but surprisingly little was known about how it actually works: for example, does it always involve negative emotion, or can it just be distraction?  There was clearly more to be discovered about it, and before leaving the UK for New Zealand a project had been initiated at the University of York to investigate these issues.  The research had hardly begun before it was interrupted by the move, but fortunately a prospective PhD student in New Zealand, Lehan Stemmet, was interested in pursuing the work.

    Lehan proved to be the ideal candidate.  He was not only capable of working independently but had also qualified originally in biochemistry and molecular biology, which offered the opportunity to extend the earlier cardiovascular and immune function work that had been done with the rumination scale.  The PhD project eventually took a slightly different turn, and in addition to the effects of avoidance on cardiovascular function, the project included studies on avoidance and self-harm and a cross-cultural study of the avoidance scale that Lehan developed.  Lehan's PhD has now successfully been completed, and we're fortunate to have him continuing his link with the training programme as a Research Associate in the Work Skills Centre.

    The implication of his research for the training was whether existing avoidance coping scale we have in the Profile does actually assess coping in a valid and reliable way.  Lehan's project set out initially to establish the structure of avoidance coping, using appropriate psychometric techniques, and he used a scenario technique we pioneered at York to generate an initial item pool.  This was then subjected to both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, and the result was an unambiguous three-factor structure: general avoidance, emotional avoidance and conflict avoidance.

    The scales proved to be reliable, and in collaboration with members of Derek's research network in Spain the structure was confirmed by further factor analyses using Spanish samples.  Some interesting differences between the scales emerged from further experiments: while both general avoidance and conflict avoidance were found to play a significant role in depression, anxiety, stress and the physical symptoms of distress, emotional avoidance did not do so.  An analysis of the role of avoidance coping in deliberate self-harm was also conducted, in collaboration with members of the research network in the UK.   Other measures from the Challenge of Change research programme were included, and although rumination and detached coping proved to be the strongest predictors of self-harm status, there was a clear overall trend for self-harmers to score higher on avoidance coping compared with those who did not self-harm.  A subsequent laboratory study involving a mild laboratory stressor indicated that individuals who scored high on avoidance coping also showed greater cardiovascular reactivity compared to low avoiders.

    The research programme that began in 1980 at the University of York was aimed at identifying the behaviour that made people more or less resilient, and that culminated in the eight scales that comprise the CoC Profile.  As the research has progressed, both at York and at the University of Canterbury, the scales have sometimes needed to be modified in the light of the findings.   By including the avoidance scale from the CoC Profile in his project, Lehan was able to show that these items were distributed mainly in the general avoidance scale that he extracted, and in addition to making a significant contribution to our understanding of the multidimensional structure of avoidance, his research has confirmed that the measure in the Profile provides an adequate general measure of avoidance coping.

    Research News & Developments June 2012

    During Derek's visit to Palma as part of his visiting professorship, Derek will be updating his Spanish colleagues on the avoidance research and the recent Challenge of Change case studies. Under the direction of Professor Gloria de la Banda, researchers at Palma have collaborated on the validation of a Spanish version of the scale, and a joint paper has been accepted for the International Stress and Anxiety Research Society (STAR) conference in Spain in July this year.

    Derek will also be visiting Professor Jo Borrill at the University of Westminster in London, who is actively collaborating in the validation of the new avoidance scale. A journal paper describing the scale, which includes the Palma and Westminster collaborators as co-authors, is currently under review.

    Research News & Developments Sept 2011

    Revised ECQ scale published in Current Psychology

    "The Rumination and Emotional Inhibition scales that form part of the Challenge of Change Profile were derived from larger research scales that were first published in 1987 as the Emotion Control Questionnaire (ECQ).  The ECQ comprised two other scales that form part of the extraversion constellation, and subsequent research using the ECQ focused on Rumination and Emotional Inhibition.  Using physiological measures like cardiovascular recovery, cortisol secretion and immune function led to the definition of stress as ruminating about emotional upset, which forms the basis for the Challenge of Change Resilience training: resilient people don't get stressed, and to avoid stress requires learning how to avoid rumination.  The research programme then focused on a further expansion of the Rumination and Emotional Inhibition scales.  The Challenge of Change Profile was revised to reflect these additions, and the expanded version of the research scale, entitled the Inhibition-Rumination Scale (I-RS) has recently been published (Roger, D., Guarino de Scremin, L., Borrill, J. & Forbes, A. (2011)  Rumination, inhibition and stress: The construction of a new scale for assessing emotional style.  Current Psychology 30(3), 234-244)."

    Research News & Developments June 2011

    Exploratory factor analysis
    The preliminary form of the avoidance scale, based on items culled from an extensive scenario study, have now been subjected to exploratory factor analysis.  The scree plot suggested two or three factors.  An unrotated unifactor solution included around 60% of the items, indicating that the item-pool does indeed have structure, and running orthogonal rotations showed that three factors offered the best solution.  The first comprised a broad-based general avoidance factor, which had been expected following the unrotated solution, while the second and third factors comprised items assessing emotional avoidance and interpersonal avoidance.

    Validation studies
    Lehan Stemmett
    is now assembling an independent sample of data for a confirmatory factor analysis, and this sample will also provide data for determining the reliability of the scale.  The validation studies which will follow will include the translation and back-translation of the scale into Spanish and a replication of the factor analyses on Spanish samples, which is being coordinated by Professor Gloria Garcia de la Banda at the University of Palma.  A second study, in collaboration with Professor Jo Borrill at the University of Westminster, will investigate the role of avoidance in predicting self-harming attempts, while a third study will extend to avoidance the cortisol work Derek conducted on his emotion control scales.  A final study will be aimed at exploring the role of avoidance in regulating social behaviour. 

    To read about the history of the research, please click here.

    Research News & Developments March 2011

    There are currently several strands of research to extend the programme: 

    New two-factor scale developed
    (i) A new scale has been developed from the original ECQ, focusing on just the two key dimensions of Rumination and Emotional Inhibition.  The process included an extended scenario study as well as the incorporation of social support models, and the new two-factor scale is entitled the Inhibition-Rumination Scale (I-RS).  The scale has been validated in a number of ways, including data from self-harming behaviour derived from collaboration with Dr. Jo Borrill at the University of Westminster, London (Borrill, Flynn, Fox, Roger, 2009).  A paper reporting the findings for the new I-RS will shortly be submitted for publication.

    Call for data contributors
    (ii) Prior to leaving the University of York and moving to New Zealand we began a project to revisit the coping process, and in particular the role of avoidance.  This work has now been picked up by a new PhD student, Lehan Stemmet, whose work I'm supervising at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.  Lehan's background in biochemistry makes him an ideal candidate to explore the role of the new scales using physiological indices.  The project is well under way, and a provisional item-list arrived at using scenarios will be factor analysed as soon as there is a sufficiently large sample to do so.  Enquiries from any readers who would like to contribute data from large samples would be welcome!

    Detached coping
    (iii) The coping research at York led to the development of a four-factor Coping Styles Questionnaire (CSQ - Roger, Jarvis & Najarian, 1993), which included a new Detached coping dimension in addition to the conventional rational, emotional and avoidant ones.  Detached coping has proved to be a powerful predictor of resilient behaviour, and subsequent work has suggested a 3-factor structure in which the detached and emotional components are merged into a single dimension.  Validation studies have been conducted for the new scale, and a paper is in preparation.

    Research project into management and leadership effectiveness
    (iv) Work using the Challenge of Change Profile suggests that having particular combinations of scores would impact significantly on management and leadership effectiveness.  A research project to explore these issues is currently in progress.  

    To read about the history of the research, please click here.

    Research News & Developments October 2010

    Validation to extend through 2011 - with UK and Spanish research teams 

    An investigation into the underlying structure of avoidance was launched this year. The research is the theme of a PhD thesis by Lehan Stemmet, who Derek is supervising at the University of Canterbury. The research is now well under way, and a provisional scale is anticipated early in the new year. Validation of the initial scale will extend through 2011, and will include international collaboration with research teams in the UK and Spain. Derek has been invited to the University of Palma in Spain as Visiting Professor during 2011, and will spend three weeks at the University there in March/April next year.

    Planned research for two CoC Profile dimensions

    Another study currently in the planning stages is aimed at providing further confirmation for the importance of two dimensions derived from the Challenge of Change Profile. The first, 'detached compassion', amalgamates the Detached Coping and Sensitivity scales into a measure of sensitivity to others' emotional feelings but without becoming identified or involved in them. The second is the Profile index of Toxic Achieving, in which the simple motive to achieve is distorted by the addition of time pressure, thinking that the means justifies the ends, and anger when people fail to deliver. The first dimension characterises effective managers, and while the second will produce results, it does so at the cost of resentment and high staff turnover. The planned research will test directly the relationship between these dimensions and manager evaluations based on 360-feedback.

    Inhibition-Rumination Scale (I-RS)

    The original research on the Emotion Control Questionnaire in the 1980s has been refined to provide a new questionnaire focussing on just two of the emotional style dimensions: rumination and emotional inhibition. The validation of the new scale, entitled the Inhibition-Rumination Scale (I-RS), is reported in a paper currently under review for publication.

    Revision of Coping Styles Questionnaire

    Another paper currently in preparation is a revision of the Coping Styles Questionnaire. The original scale comprised 4 dimensions, but subsequent statistical analyses showed that two of them could be merged into what became the Detached Coping scale that forms part of the Challenge of Change Profile. Additional validation studies have provided further evidence for the scale, and the paper will report on this new evidence.

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