Jessica L. Almonte

University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, New York, United States

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Publications (3)8.87 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Despite common findings suggesting that lack of negative life events should be optimal, recent work has revealed a curvilinear pattern, such that some cumulative lifetime adversity is instead associated with optimal well-being. This work, however, is limited in that responses to specific stressors as they occurred were not assessed, thereby precluding investigation of resilience. The current research addressed this critical gap by directly testing the relationship between adversity history and resilience to stressors. Specifically, we used a multimethod approach across two studies to assess responses to controlled laboratory stressors (respectively requiring passive endurance and active instrumental performance). Results revealed hypothesized U-shaped relationships: Relative to a history of either no adversity or nonextreme high adversity, a moderate number of adverse life events was associated with less negative responses to pain and more positive psychophysiological responses while taking a test. These results provide novel evidence in support of adversity-derived propensity for resilience that generalizes across stressors.
    Psychological Science 05/2013; 24(7). DOI:10.1177/0956797612469210 · 4.43 Impact Factor
  • Shannon P. Lupien · Mark D. Seery · Jessica L. Almonte
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research has implicated the role of easily activated self-doubt in unstable high self-esteem (HSE). The current study sought to further elucidate the eliciting conditions of such self-doubt by assessing cardiovascular responses that are sensitive to self-doubt. Participants heard that an upcoming test of reasoning ability could only identify either exceptionally high or especially low ability, and then completed either a difficult or easy version of the test while cardiovascular markers of challenge/threat were measured. As hypothesized, individuals with unstable HSE exhibited cardiovascular responses consistent with greater self-doubt (threat) than others, but only during a difficult test that was diagnostic of exceptionally high ability. This suggests that people with unstable HSE do not experience a high level of self-doubt whenever they are faced with a test of themselves, but instead only when there is a high risk of confirming a lack of exceptional ability. This has important implications for further understanding the nature and underlying mechanisms of unstable HSE.
    Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 05/2012; 48(3):762–765. DOI:10.1016/j.jesp.2012.01.009 · 2.22 Impact Factor
  • Shannon P. Lupien · Mark D. Seery · Jessica L. Almonte
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    ABSTRACT: Discrepant high self-esteem (i.e., high explicit and low implicit self-esteem) has been associated with a number of defensive behaviors. This study investigated the use of behavioral self-handicapping as a preemptive defensive strategy among those with discrepant high self-esteem. Participants were told that an upcoming test of an important ability was only diagnostic of either exceptionally high or very low skills (i.e., only success or failure was diagnostic of ability) and were given the opportunity to behaviorally self-handicap by selecting from a range of performance-detracting versus neutral music choices. Results showed that when success was diagnostic, participants with discrepant high self-esteem engaged in significantly greater behavioral self-handicapping than other participants. This suggests that (1) the defensiveness of those with discrepant high self-esteem extends to the use of preemptive strategies such as self-handicapping, and (2) this defensiveness is triggered when the situation provides a test of exceptionally high ability.
    Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 11/2010; 46(6-46):1105-1108. DOI:10.1016/j.jesp.2010.05.022 · 2.22 Impact Factor