University of Cape Town, South Africa, Residence Life Division
Grit and Academic Performance in a South African Higher Education Residence Context
The study sought to explore the relationship between Grit and academic performance amongst university residence tutors and mentors. An undergraduate residence sample (N=326) participated. Through the use of the Short Grit Scale the study aimed to broadly investigate the relationship between levels of Grit, academic performance and residence and student demographics (e.g. size and gender of residence). In addition to a quantitative approach a qualitative approach was added. In the qualitative section, qualitative interviews were assessed to determine the residence perspectives of Grit within a Higher Education Residence setting. A main focus was upon the exploration of student perspectives on how a higher education residence system currently and may in future cultivate increased levels of Grit. The research contributes towards the literature on student success. It also widens the understanding of research on the role of Grit and Academic performance in an African university context. Finally, it provides new knowledge that can contribute towards a global and national understanding of a remaining prescient challenge of higher education throughput and retention issues.
Collins Badu Agyemang
University of Professional Studies, Accra, Ghana
The Light around our Emotional Suppressions and Woes: A Study of Some Ghanaian Media Practitioners
Not until this project was started, little did we know that “capture the moment” and “don’t be involved in the scene” as part of the job descriptions of media practitioners has dire psychosocial consequences. Western literature is replete with the calculable effects of emotional labour- suppressing or enhancing one’s emotions - on work-related outcomes of employees in the service industry. Emotional labour is intertwined with the work of media practitioners. This notwithstanding, psychological studies on emotional labour has been increasingly researched among other sectors in the service employment other than the media. Using qualitative approach, media practitioners from Ghana with varying experience in investigative journalism, broadcasting, news editing, content production, and reporting emotionally charged and somewhat sensitive stories were interviewed. The findings revealed evidence of the “voiceless” posture among media practitioners in dealing with their own organizations’ management and their poor psychological health condition as a result of emotional labour. Psychological capital, fulfilment and results-oriented happiness emerged as some positive strategies that keep media practitioners lightened and help them stay afloat to balance their emotional labour experiences in their quest to adequately give voice to the voiceless. The findings of this study add to emotional labour literature and situate the media industry as another setting worthy of consideration. Media practitioners continue to strive to shoulder their role amidst psychosocial and emotional challenges by principally focusing on the positive aspects of their work.
Collins Badu Agyemang
University of Professional Studies, Accra , Ghana
Positive Psychology Brewed in the African Proverbial Pots: The Reflections of Ghanaian Paremiologists
The ideals of Positive Psychology appears to be a new paradigm in contemporary psychological discourse with great future. From the centre stage of Africa however, no theoretical framework and research agenda exists, yet with steadily evolving interest. African Proverbs – usually perplexing and knotty statements which express profound truth - not only convey lessons of life and learning but tend to promote holistic wellbeing of individuals. Such proverbs when skilfully used and well applied, shape peoples’ thoughts and behavioural processes and build appreciation for healthy interpersonal, intrapersonal, and communal living. This paper analyses some African proverbs and data from two informants – elders and skilled native proverb users. Skilful use of proverbs tends to increase self-esteem, contentment, self-worth, resilience, sanguinity and hope, and a high sense of grit. The study underscores the relevance of internalised and socialised way of life of Africans through proverbial sayings and applications and its value in developing positive emotions, strengths, and virtues that solidify the life-base of individuals to keep thriving. The relevance of folk psychology in re-writing the pillars and walls of positive psychology cannot be underestimated and is thus accentuated.
Professor Angela Ofori-Atta2; Professor Dean Karlan3; Professor Elizabeth Bradley3
Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR), North-West University, South Africa1; University of Ghana2; Yale University3
Building Resilience and Productivity in Residents of Low-income Communities in Northern Ghana: A Cognitive-Behavioral Group Intervention
Introduction: People living in low-income communities may have higher frequencies of psychological distress and low productivity in the midst of life’s difficulties and uncertainties, yet they have fewer buffers to help them bounce back. Although resilience has been suggested as essential for individuals and communities to cope with perils, few practical interventions to build resilience have been tested in sub-Saharan Africa.
Aim: We sought to design and test the feasibility of a novel intervention aimed to teach participants to recognize their thought patterns, identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts, and self-regulate through acquisition of skills of goal setting, planning, time management, problem solving, assertiveness, self-esteem, and conflict resolution.
Method: Two poor communities, rural and urban, were randomly selected in the Northern Region of Ghana. 175 consenting participants were assigned to groups of 10 individuals, and taken through 2-hour sessions, once per week, for 12 weeks. The sessions were led by four trained facilitators with bachelor degrees in Psychology, under the supervision of a clinical psychologist. Data on cognitive abilities, psychosocial skills and other variables were collected pre- and post-intervention.
Results and Discussion: 162 out of 175 participants completed the 12-week intervention. The interest and intensity of engagement by participants showed itself in lively discussions. Before the end of the intervention, 36 participants had begun new ventures consistent with their stated goals at the start of the intervention. Although results are still being analyzed, we present our initial observations, which suggest that psychological interventions delivered by bachelor-degree facilitators can build resilience and promote well-being and productivity among people living in low-income communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
North-West University, South Africa
Exploring lived experiences of music listening among rugby players
This study is a hermeneutic-phenomenological investigation with the aim of understanding the meanings that the NWU-PUK Rugby Institute players attributed to their lived experience of listening to music before a game. In answering this central research question, two sub-questions were also explored to find out what the rugby players experienced while listening to music before a game and how they experienced listening to music in terms of the context, situation and conditions.
Ten NWU-PUK Rugby Institute players participated, eight of whom played in the same team, and two who played in different teams. Reflective essays were collected with follow-up semi-structured interviews with the chosen participants. Using ATLAS.ti 7, the data were analysed. Codes were conceptualised into categories and themes, links were made and patterns were identified.
The results revealed four broad themes: 1) Nothing can distract me; 2) Activate and deactivate; 3) Affect regulation and 4) Well-being. These themes formed the basis of what the participants experienced while listening to music, with all four themes resulting in preparation for a rugby game
Rhodes University, South Africa, Psychology Department
Healing the wounds of the past”: The role of Positive Psychology in the post-aparheid South African workplace
Positive psychology concerns itself with the question: what makes life worth living. Without a doubt, employment contributes significantly to the attainment of a positive life. The field has shown how positive emotions are linked to numerous benefits including improved health, well-being, longevity and greater quality of life. Researchers in Organisational Psychology have not fully appreciated these benefits, especially in South Africa, post-apartheid. This is a concern as literature on employee wellbeing in South Africa is rampant with widespread concerns of low levels of motivation, lack of racial integration and disregard for the social identities of the previously excluded groups; women, disabled and black people. All this impacts negatively on the wellbeing of the South African workforce. In South Africa, employee health and wellbeing is affected by the country’s socio-political and economic changes. In this paper, I will provide an empirical psychological analysis of the SA workplace and refer to the broader deeply traumatised society whose nature is mirrored by the workplace. I will explore both situational and dispositional factors to explain how organisational behaviour is underpinned by Positive Psychology principles, especially in the South African context. I will highlight the inefficiencies of the labour legislation that emphasise affirmative action and shun diversity management with recently reported practical examples as evidence. I will end off by evoking Moerdyk and Coldwell’s (1982) prophetic work that postulated the relevance of Person-Environment fit theory in contemporary South Africa. The paper will sensitize researchers in Industrial Psychology to prioritise Positive Psychology principles in the workplace.
Dr Elmari Deacon1,2; Prof. David Segal2
North-West University, South Africa1; Optentia Research Focus Area2
Meaning in life experienced by mothers of children living with well-controlled diabetes
Approximately 1 in 400 children live with type 1 diabetes worldwide and it increases annually at an alarming rate. Mothers of children living with this chronic condition not only face normal developmental challenges in raising their children, but also the added burden and stress related to an intensive diabetes management regimen. Thus, the aim of the study was to explore the motivating factors and drivers with regards to meaning-making in mothers that adopt and successfully implement the rigorous diabetes management behaviours required to achieve good glycaemic control in their children.
In this qualitative interpretivist study, nine mothers of children (aged 8-18 years), currently living with well-controlled diabetes, were purposively selected to participate in semi-structured interviews.
Using thematic content analysis, four themes relating to the motivating drivers emerged from the analysis:  creating a new normal;  empowering their child to manage their diabetes effectively;  positive relationships providing meaning and  meaning created by parental-specific diabetes management behaviours. These findings corroborate the meaning-making paradigm in positive psychology where motivating drivers are seen to be external, internal and ecological.
Understanding the successful strategies successful parents employ to manage variables influencing diabetes can further guide health professionals to help those living with diabetes to manage their diabetes well.
Emmerentia du Plessis1; Magdalena Petronella Koen1
North-West University, School of Nursing Science, INSINQ Research Focus Area1
Exploring resilience in nurses caring for older persons
Background: Adverse working conditions cause alarming shortages of nurses caring for older persons. Resilience might enable these nurses to survive and thrive. A paucity of research existed regarding the resilience of nurses caring for older persons.
Purpose: To explore and describe the strengths and coping abilities of nurses caring for older persons in order to formulate recommendations to strengthen their resilience.
Methodology: The research design was explorative, descriptive, qualitative. An all-inclusive sample of nurses caring for older persons in an urban setting in the North West Province, South Africa provided demographic information and wrote narratives during phase one (n=43) and participated in four focus group interviews during phase two (n=17). Recommendations were formulated in phase three. Data were analysed using content analysis and further organised using the model of Carr “Bringing strengths to bear on opportunities and challenges”.
Findings: Nurses caring for older persons experience adverse working conditions and they need resilience to keep a balance, handle the physical and emotional demands of the work, work ethics, staff shortages and the dependency of the older persons. They used personal, professional, contextual and spiritual strengths to handle adverse working conditions.
Conclusion: By using personal, professional, contextual and spiritual strengths nurses could enhance these strengths and possibly their resilience. Their strengths were used as basis to formulate recommendations to strengthen resilience in nurses caring for older persons.
Implications: By strengthening the resilience of nurses caring for older persons, they might be empowered to survive and thrive while caring for older persons.
Vicki Koen2; Elma. H. Ryke3
Private Practice1; North West University, Mafikeng Campus2, Potchefstroom Campus3
Strategies for work-family balance in a South African context
Finding and maintaining work-family balance has become an increasingly difficult challenge for South African families due to various factors, including economic, political, social, and cultural changes that can impact negatively on family well-being. While pathways and strategies for work-family balance have been identified in other contexts, there is little available research on the topic in a South African context. Considering the knowledge that South African social workers have in this regard as a result of their training, qualifications and role in the South African context, South African social workers were selected as participants. The aim of this study was therefore to explore and describe, from the perspective of a group of South African social workers, strategies for work-family balance that can potentially contribute to family well-being in a South African context. A qualitative, narrative inquiry research design was implemented. Thirteen female social workers between the ages of 23 and 46 who work in different social work contexts across South Africa were recruited by means of purposive and snowball/network sampling. Data were collected by means of written narratives and analysed with the use of thematic analysis. The findings describe strategies that social workers regard as effective to introduce to work-family balance that can potentially contribute to family well-being, including: Setting clear boundaries, open communication in work and family domains, strengthening personal and professional support systems, planning, time management and prioritising, self-care, reasonable work environment and continuous personal and family assessment. While the findings share similarities with work-family balance strategies identified in other contexts, this study’s significance lies in the fact that it identifies strategies specifically for the South African context and that it does so from the perspective of South African social workers.
Lynette van der Merwe1
University of the Free State, South Africa1
Preclinical medical students' perceptions of resilience
Burnout is common among medical students and has a negative impact on their academic performance, well-being, and the quality of care they provide for their patients. In addition, medical students’ well-being seems to decrease as they progress with their studies. Resilience may serve as a buffer against stress, and enable these students to better meet the demands associated with medical studies. The aim of this paper is to explore preclinical medical students’ perceptions of the factors that play a role in their resilience. The participant group consisted of 273 preclinical medical students (response rate = 84%). They completed an open-ended question explaining their stated level of resilience as part of a larger survey. The data was analysed by means of thematic analysis. The findings indicate that for students who consider themselves resilient, factors such as intrinsic motivation, and family support contribute to their resilience. The most common theme was the importance of coping skills for developing resilience. For students who consider themselves not resilient, factors such as an inability to cope and self-doubt hampered their resilience. The most common theme in this group was that their pre-existing mental health challenges seem to hamper resilience. These findings can guide medical schools towards early intervention: both to develop student’s resilience, and offer support to at-risk students. By providing students with resilience enhancing resources, medical schools may improve student’s academic performance, as well as the quality of patient care provided by future healthcare professionals.
North-West University, South Africa
School of Psychosocial Health, NWU
“Lagom” and adaptive self-regulation: a critical analysis
Lagom is derived from the Swedish proverb “lagomärbäst", literally meaning "the right amount is best". It is associated with concepts and virtues like appropriateness, prudence, and balance. Although lagom together with concepts like passelig (Norwegian) and hygge (Danish) is perceived to reflect a Scandinavian philosophy or mindset, similar concepts are also found in Russia, Greece, Albania and Turkey. Lagom specifically seems to have an increasing influence in the Swedish art, design and food industry. IKEA, the large Swedish design group, for example, endorses the Live LAGOM project, which uses the philosophy of lagom to reduce waste, to save energy and water and to promote a healthy lifestyle. This paper critically analyzeslagom from a positive psychology perspective, more specifically by drawing parallels between lagom and the science of adaptive self-regulation, and by hypothetically transposing the concept to an African wellbeing template.
Annelize Bonthuys1 , Anneke Stols3
Private Practice, Pretoria1; North-West University, School of Psychosocial Health2; Department of Research Support3
Prospective conceptual model of Tomatis® method effects on students’ self-regulation
The Tomatis® method is a sound stimulation approach that enhances active and attentive listening skills. This study aimed to develop a preliminary conceptual model that explains the perceived effect of the Tomatis® method on university students’ self-regulation for study course learning. Seven beginning graduate students (6 female; 3 black, 4 white) with a large South African university completed a Tomatis® method programme student learning support intervention. The students participated in an IQA-based focus group discussion and brief survey on their Tomatis® method programme student learning support experiences. Thematic analysis identified five themes that define Tomatis® method programme self-regulation effects on students: i) being self-aware and enhanced environmental sensitivity; ii) improved study concentration per time frame; iii) perspective taking, willingness, and ability to listen to others’ opinions; iv) self-reflection or enhanced inward learning experience; and v) boldness, creativity and open-mindedness. Findings support a conceptual working model of the Tomatis® method for the promotion of learner self-regulation and behavioural change in a university setting.
Sunelle Basson2 , Wilma Breytenbach3
Clinical Psychologist, Tambo Memorial Hospital, Boksburg1; School of Psychosocial Health, NWU2; Statistical Consultation Services, NWU3
The relationship between mindfulness and emotional regulation in emerging adulthood
This study investigated the relationship between mindfulness and emotional regulation among emerging adults. An availability sample of 214 (135 female and 79 male) emerging adult South African students completed the Five Facets of Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) and the Difficulties with Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS). Correlational and regression analyses revealed that, irrespective of gender, four facets of mindfulness, namely aware and non-judge (practically significant), and describe and non-react (with medium effects) are inversely associated with difficulties with emotional regulation (DERS Total score). In addition, describe is inversely (practically significant) associated with difficulties in obtaining emotional clarity while non-judge is inversely (practically significant) associated with difficulties in acceptance of emotional responses. Three mindfulness facets (i.e. aware, non-judge, and non-react) contribute independently to difficulties in emotional regulation. In general, the findings contribute to an enriched understanding of the mechanisms through which mindfulness may foster adaptive emotional regulation.
North-West University, South Africa
The effect of using a Lego teaching aid on the hopefulness and self-efficacy of teachers
Teaching is an emotional occupation with teachers using their emotions most of the time. Schools in South Africa’s poor communities deal with many difficulties and uncertainties that accompany poverty leaving teachers without hope at times and influencing their ability to promote positive change. The aim of this research was to study the effects of introducing positive classroom interventions, in this case the Lego Six Bricks teaching aid, on the hopefulness and self-efficacy of teachers.
Teachers’ hope and sense of self-efficacy with regard to the teaching context were explored by means of both quantitative and qualitative methods, before and again four weeks after training in and application of the Lego Six Bricks teaching aid in their classrooms.
Participants’ answered qualitative questions in writing, exploring their hope and sense of self-efficacy and the State Hope Scale (SHS) and the Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale (TSES) were used as quantitative measuring instruments.
The main finding was that, although there were statistically no significant differences in the levels of teachers’ hope and self-efficacy measured before and after the intervention, qualitatively, the influence of teaching circumstances on the one hand and positive emotions and mind frames in these teachers on the other hand, indicated that the Six Bricks educational intervention had an indirect positive effect on the hope and sense of self-efficacy of the participating teachers.
Bouwer Jonker1; M Brouwers, Marissa De Klerk1
North-West University, South Africa1
Exploring job demands and job resources of hearing-impaired employees in South Africa
Orientation: South Africa’s affirmative action necessitates development of functional insight about its hearing-impaired employees.
Research purpose: Exploring job demands and job resources of hearing-impaired employees in South Africa.
Motivation for the study: Job demands and job resources explain dynamics behind employee wellbeing and performance.
Research design, approach and method: Qualitative research, phenomenological approach and social constructivist paradigm. Purposive sampling-, quota sampling- and snowball sampling methods were utilised. Data was gathered from pre-lingually deafened (n= 8), post-lingually deafened (n= 4) and hard-of-hearing (n= 2) employees in South Africa via deaf-friendly semi-structured questionnaires. Data was analysed via inductive qualitative content analysis.
Main findings: An abundance of job demands and job resources themes and sub-themes emerged from the data. “Job demands” themes concern communication barriers, task-related matters, lack of cooperation, inconsideration, bounded rationality, unpleasant emotion at workplace and time-related matters. “Job resources: learning” themes concern learning from subordinates, learning from work associates, sources that promote potential output efficiency and the personal resources theme of realisation. “Job resources: motivation” themes concern constructive social affiliation, learning, constructively influencing, responsibility and challenges as well as the personal resources themes of attitude and personal growth. “Job resources: task completion” themes regard communication adequacy, orientation, assistance, time and the personal resources theme of personal development initiative.
Conclusion: Insight about job demands and job resources of hearing-impaired employees in South Africa was obtained.
Practical implications: Improved understanding could allow refinement of employers’ disability affairs.
Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
Research as Hope-Intervention: Mobilising Hope in a South African Higher Education Context
Hope as a psychological construct of well-being is seen as a goal- and future-oriented process, and it is believed that education and hope are ‘inextricably tied’. We speak of schools as ‘beacons of hope’, teaching as a ‘hope-giving profession’, and education as ‘hope for the future’. In fact, the mission of the Faculty of Education at Nelson Mandela University is to cultivate effective and compassionate teachers who are critical thinkers and ‘agents of hope’. I wondered how hope might enable student agency towards social cohesion in higher education context?
It is written that hope is contagious; once ignited it gains momentum and is self-sustaining. My research project sought to stimulate dialogue and critical thinking with 2nd year education students about what hope and hopeful schools mean to them as future teachers. The aim of this critical transformative study was to explore how the research process itself, engaging the students through multiple participatory visual methods (collages, drawings, mmogo-method, photovoice) on the topic of hope, might mobilise a ‘practice of hope’, thus encouraging student-led hope initiatives in the Faculty and beyond. The key findings of this on-going study so far show that bringing hope explicitly into the research dialogue mobilised agency towards social cohesion. The group of seven students formed the Hopeful Vision Gang and a initiated a Hope Wall activity to inspire fellow students and staff before exams. This study shows that threading hope with participatory dialogic engagement has positive transformative value, and thus has implications for the possibilities of student-led agency through ‘research as hope-intervention’.
John Bosco Chukwuorji1
Chuka Mike Ifeagwazi1; John E. Eze1
Univesrsity of Nigeria, Nsukka1
Mediating Roles of Deliberate and Intrusive Rumination in Relationships of Event Centrality and Posttraumatic Growth
Event centrality and rumination have been associated with posttraumatic growth (PTG) in existing psychotraumatology literature, but mediating mechanisms have been scantly considered. This study investigated whether the associations of event centrality with the established five dimensons of PTG (greater ppreciation of life, greater sense of personal strenght, improved relationship with others, recognition of new possibilities, and spiritual growth) were mediated by deliberate and intrusive rumination. Tiv language versions of the Centrality of Events Scale, Rumination Scale, and Posttraumatic Growth Inventory were completed by 859 internally displaced persons in Markurdi, Benue state, Northcentral Nigeria. Hayes' regression-based PROCESS module was used in analysing the data. Bonferroni corrected results showed that centrality of the trauma memory and intrusive rumination were positively associated with all PTG dimensions. Except for appreciation of life, deliberate rumination was positively linked to other PTG dimensions. It was further shown that deliberate rumination served as a pathway through which higher event centrality was linked to the PTG dimensions, except for appreciation of life. The mediator role of intrusive rumination was demonstrated for all PTG dimension. It was also found that intrusive rumination could result in deliberate rumination, thereby leading to higher PTG. Findings support existing literature indicating that events that have formed a central component of one's identity, a turning point in the life story, and a reference for everyday inferences are more likely to be the focus of one's thoughts which may accelerate the process of benefit finding, adaptation, and growth from trauma
Anta Marx1; Ingrid L. Potgieter2
University of South Africa; Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology1; Department of Human Resource Management2
A framework and measure for assessing positive coping behaviour in the South African work context
Introduction: Measuring individuals’ positive coping strengths in a valid and reliable manner has become an important endeavour for scholars and practitioners as studies have shown important links between positive coping constructs and positive work and organisational outcomes such as work engagement, job satisfaction, productivity, wellbeing, and low turnover intention. A holistic integrative framework and measure relevant to the South African work context is lacking. The paper presents a multidimensional framework and cost-effective measure of higher-order positive coping behaviours including cognition (inventive problem-solving), positive emotion (happy, engaging affect), intrinsic motivation (intentional self-efficacious goal-directed behaviour), and positive social behaviour (influential strengths such as extroversion and social support) that help indivduals deal with stressors in the work-life context.
Research design, approach, and method: A cross-sectional survey design was utilised to collect primary data from a sample of N = 525 male and female employees from white and black ethnicity origin in the services industry. The participants’ self-evaluations of their positive coping behaviour were measured by means of the positive coping behavioural inventory (PCBI) developed by one of the presenters. Confirmatory factor analysis was performed to examine the construct validity of the PCBI. The convergent validity and internal consistency reliability of the PCBI as a measure of three higher-order dimensions of positive coping behaviour (inventive, engaging and intentional coping behaviours) were demonstrated in this study.
Practical/managerial implications: Researchers may confidently use the three-factor solution of the positive coping behavioural inventory to measure employees’ self-evaluations of their capacity to demonstrate positive coping behaviour in the workplace. The measure can be applied in wellness and stress counselling interventions. The paper will present a practical example of the use of the PCBI in the counselling context.
Contribution/value-add: This study contributed to the emerging body of knowledge on the assessment of positive psychology constructs that contribute to employees’ wellbeing and flourishing in the South African workplace.
Lusilda Schutte1; Marié P Wissing1
Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR), North-West University, South Africa1
Re-evaluating the factor structure of the Basic Psychological Needs Scale: Application of standard and bifactor ESEM
The Basic Psychological Needs Scale (BPNS), with subscales Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness, is a measure of basic psychological need satisfaction. To date the BPNS has shown less than adequate psychometric properties in several validation studies. This study aimed to further explore the factorial validity of the English (BPNS_E, n=322), Afrikaans (BPNS_A, n=478), and Setswana (BPNS_S, n=256) versions of the 21-item BPNS in three South African student groups. Confirmatory factory analysis (CFA), bifactor CFA, exploratory structural equation modelling (ESEM) and bifactor ESEM were applied to the data. Although the bifactor ESEM model outperformed the other models, model fit was inadequate for the BPNS_E and the BPNS_S, and close to adequate for the BPNS_A. After removal of items that were problematic based on high modification indices for the respective samples, reduced bifactor ESEM models displayed superior fit. This fit was good for the BPNS_A, but it was still not optimal for the BPNS_E or the BPNS_S. Reliabilities of the resulting factors and measurement invariance across the three samples were explored. The results suggested that the scale and theory may have been more appropriate for the Afrikaans sample than the English and Setswana samples in this study. Possible reasons will be contemplated. The findings furthermore suggested that items operationalising basic psychological needs are influenced by both overall satisfaction of basic psychological needs and by the satisfaction of the specific need that is targeted by the item. In addition, items seem to cross-load on non-target factors due to the interrelatedness of basic psychological needs.
Department of Music, University of Pretoria, South Africa
A life-long engagement in music: teach to flourish as musician
Research approach: This research supported a qualitative research design from an interpretative theoretical paradigm. Through this “think piece”, I advocated a specific concern in a thoughtful way that is tied to personal opinion and background research material. The extended literature review provided context and a foundation on which current issues to prepare music students to flourish in their lives and future workplaces were discussed.
Focus and outcome of the research: 21st-century skills for living and lifelong learning recommended by researchers, business leaders and education specialists were discussed. The discourse also focused on learning outcomes such as information and communication technology literacy, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, self-direction and global citizenship. The research explored the role music plays in the understanding of life as a means to experience wellbeing through flow and mindfulness. Meaningfulness that intensifies social wellbeing and connects one to a culture were also reviewed as well as spiritual experiences through music in teaching and learning to embody a subjective understanding of a purposeful life.
The outcome of this ongoing research project was to recommend a framework for music educators to structure music programmes that deliver students who centre their thinking on an essential understanding of flourishing in life. South African creative arts communities need well-rounded global artistic citizens that are supportive, unselfish and sensitive. Future musicians and music educators should get involved in creating and sharing music to transform their personal lives as well as contributing towards making a difference to life-long engagement through music in South African communities’ wellbeing.
Prof Tharina Guse1
University of Johannesburg, South Africa1
Parenting Style as a predictor of Self-compassion among a group of adolescents
Introduction: Self-compassion is a healthy way of relating to oneself when considering personal failures, inadequacies or difficult life events. Many positive outcomes have been related to self-compassion yet little is known what contributes to individual differences in self-compassion. It has been suggested that self-compassion most likely originates from early relationships with primary caregivers. Therefore the parent-child relationship is important in understanding the development of self-compassion. Parent-child relationships are typically characterised by a particular style employed by the parent. Four parenting styles have been identified combining two dimensions; namely, parental responsiveness and parental demandingness. The four parenting styles are consequently, authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and uninvolved.
The broad aim of this study was to examine the relationship between parenting style and self-compassion among a group of adolescents and to determine whether parenting style could predict self-compassion.
Method: Grade 8 and 9 learners (n = 188) completed the Self-Compassion scale (Neff, 2003) and the Parenting Style Inventory II (Darling &Toyokawa, 1997). Data analysis included descriptive statistics, correlational analysis and standard multiple regression analysis.
Results: 11.5% of the variance in self-compassion experienced by adolescents could be explained by gender of the respondent and responsiveness of the mother and father respectively. However the strongest predictor of self-compassion was the fathers’ responsiveness.
Conclusion: It appears evident that responsive parenting, characterised by sensitivity, warmth, acceptance and nurturance is related to the ability to develop self-compassion in adolescence. Specifically, the father makes a unique contribution to the development of self-compassion during adolescence.
Prof Esmé van Rensburg1; Deborah Jonker1,2; Bea Mulder1
North-West University, South Africa; Optentia1
Can adolescents living with well-controlled diabetes experience psychological well-being?
Living with diabetes is challenging, even more so during adolescence. Numerous studies emphasize the psychological difficulties adolescents experience as a result of having to manage diabetes. This presentation aims to use the model of psychological well-being, conceptualised by Keys, to discuss the possibility that adolescents living with well-controlled diabetes could also experience aspects of psychological well-being.
In this qualitative study nine adolescents, all living with well-controlled type 1 diabetes were purposively selected to participate in semi-structured interviews. Possible participants were screened using set criteria. Data generated were transcribed and analysed thematically by a coder and co-coder.
Themes that relates to the model of psychological well-being was identified: Participants had to not only accept their fate of living with diabetes, but also had to accept that living with diabetes made them different from their peers. Environmental mastery could be identified in initial difficulty with diabetes management that subsided over time with participants reporting that living with diabetes became a way of life. Participants further viewed diabetes as a manageable condition which required them to act independently and with self-discipline. Participants also experiences positive relationships with the medical team, family and friends that supported then in adjusting and adhering to diabetes management behaviours.
In contradiction to the experience of psychological well-being, most adolescents reported predominant negative emotional experiences regarding living with diabetes.
These findings should inform health care practitioners to also focus on the psychological well-being of adolescents living with diabetes and develop age appropriate interventions to further enhance their psychological well-being.
North-West University, South Africa, Department of Music, MASARA
Exploring the lived piano-playing experiences of older adults
This paper presents an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) of the lived piano-playing experiences of five older adults who have been playing the piano since childhood. Through my own teaching experiences I came to realise – and the scholarly literature confirms this – that piano playing is an important expression and reflection of a person’s true feelings in dealing with the real-life situation of age-related physical, cognitive, social and emotional concerns.
Therefore, the purpose of this interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) is to understand how five older adults make sense of their lived piano-playing experiences. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were used to gain insight into the essence of their musical life worlds. Following the six-step IPA iterative and inductive data-analysis process, each participant’s emergent themes were interpreted separately. A cross-case analysis between cases revealed six superordinate themes: (i) memories; (ii) coping with suffering; (iii) determination; (iv) interaction; (v) wellbeing; and (vi) purpose.
New knowledge that has emerged from this research is an IPA and literature-based PERMAC wellbeing theory for older adults who play the piano. Coping with suffering becomes vitally important for older adults to flourish, in addition to positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment. The PERMAC theory of wellbeing for older adults is an extension of Seligman’s PERMA in positive psychology.
This study revealed that piano playing contributes to mental, physical, spiritual and personal wellbeing for older adults. Piano playing becomes a vital part of everyday living and living purposefully through piano playing affords personal flourishing into old age.
Dr Vicki Koen1
North-West University, South Africa1
South African female prisoners' experiences of the Sycamore Tree project with strength-based activities
The Sycamore Tree Project (STP) was originally developed by Prison Fellowship to assist prisoners to take responsibility for their crimes and to understand the meaning of constructs such as forgiveness, confession and repentance. For the purpose of this research, the STP was adapted to include strength-based activities. The aim of this study was therefore to explore and describe South African female prisoners’ experiences of the STP with strength-based activities. An explorative and descriptive qualitative research design was applied. The participants were sampled through the use of a voluntary, purposive sampling technique and included 19 (n = 19) female offenders between 20 and 65 years of age. Data were collected through written narratives and the world café method and thematically analysed. The results identify two main themes from the narratives (experiences of the STP as a whole and experiences of the strength-based activities) and four main themes from the world café (experiences of STP with strength-based activities, new discoveries as a result of participation in the STP with strength-based activities, experiences of strength-based activities and recommendations regarding the STP with strength-based activities).
Keywords: female prisoners, positive psychology, Prison Fellowship, strength-based activities, Sycamore Tree Project (STP)
University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Positive Psychology Interventions in an African context: A scope of the landscape and future directions
Positive psychology interventions (PPI’s) are intentional activities aimed at increasing positive cognitions, behaviours and emotions. Research on the effect of PPI’s has burgeoned internationally, and a sizable number of studies have been implemented in South Africa. Since context may play a role in the implementation of interventions, there is a need to review the nature and outcomes of PPI’s in the African context, in order to provide suggestions for future practice and research.
This study aimed to review existing research on PPI’s implemented in Africa. In particular, the aim was to review a) types of PPI’s implemented b) populations in which PPI’s were implemented and c) outcomes of implementing PPI’s.
A systematic literature review was implemented. Relevant studies were identified via Science Direct, Medline, Scopus, Google Scholar, SAePublications, PsycArticles, PsycNET, EbscoHost, Springerlink, and JSTOR databases.
The results indicated that the majority of PPI’s included gratitude activities and consisted of a combination of several activities. While some studies have focused on community samples, including adolescents, many have focused on university students. Specifically, there was a lack of research on PPI’s implemented among older adults. Findings on the outcomes of PPI’s were mixed and hampered by methodological limitations. Measures used to assess the outcomes of PPI’s should be chosen carefully. There also still is a gap in knowledge in the effect of specific PPI’s in the African context, such as kindness interventions and loving-kindness meditation. Suggestions for implementing PPI’s in the African context will be provided.
The Pennsylvania State University (Brandywine)1
Black Youth Empowerment: The Role of Identity Style and Positive Psychology in Relationships with Adults
Guided by the identity styles framework (Berzonsky, 2003) and Positive Psychology Theory (Seligman, 2014), we examined how individual differences in empowerment among a sample of Black first generation college students are explained by the influence of a very important non-parental adult (VIP) in high school. Qualitatively, we explored perceptions of VIPs in order to identify which relationships were most important to participants, as well as the key characteristics of these relationships. Quantitatively, multiple regression models were tested to investigate whether the association between the perceived quality of the mentor relationship and empowerment depends on the level of ego identity and/or socioceconomic status (SES). Quantitatively, empowerment demonstrated a medium-sized association with the perceived quality of the mentor relationship. Identity style moderated the link between perceptions of VIPs and empowerment such that Black young adults with high ego identity demonstrated the highest levels of empowerment. The relationship between the perceived quality of the mentor relationship was also moderated by SES. Qualitatively, teachers and coaches were the most frequently identified VIPs. With few (notable) exceptions, the processes that low SES participants valued in their relationships were comparable with proceses high SES participants valued. Overall, participants described VIP relationships as those that were consistent with the principles of positive psychology, namely helping them identify and nurture their strengths. Contributing to a growing body of work extending positive psychology research into a mentoring context, findings suggest that individual differences in empowerment may derive in part from differences in relationships with VIPS.
North-West University, South Africa1; Optentia Research Focus Area2; Lixil3
Perceived customer value, organisational support and flourishing at work
Ways to promote flourishing at work has become a topic of interest to both academics and practitioners, as it is abundantly clear that employees who do their best at work offer an important source of competitive advantage.
More research is needed to develop a better understanding of the factors that may promote flourishing at work. Gaining insight into the antecedents of flourishing can promote talent optimisation and can have significant implications for effective organisational performance and profitability.
This study investigates the effects of perceived customer value and organisational support on the flourishing of sales professionals in a South African manufacturing organisation.
A cross-sectional survey design was used. It drew a convenience sample of 152 sales employees of South Africa’s largest water technology company in the sanitary- and brassware sector.
Participants completed a biographical questionnaire as well as a Perceived Value Indicator Scale, the Survey of Perceived Organizational Support and the Flourishing-at-Work Scale.
Perceived customer value predicted employee flourishing, both directly and indirectly, via perceived organisational support.
Organisations should create a customer-centric organisational culture that focuses on customer value. Systems and processes should be in place to ensure that customer feedback is channelled to the sales personnel in supportive and meaningful ways.
This study contributes to the literature by analysing how organisational customer centricity has an impact on flourishing of individuals at work, particularly in the sales profession.
WorkWell Research Unit for Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University School of Business and Governance, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Job characteristics, job satisfaction and work engagement of employees in a municipality and provincial department in South Africa
Researchers have argued that when organisations make favourable strategies and rules for the employees about pay scales, work environment, staff input and policy development, this will lead to employee engagement, satisfaction and loyalty within the organisation. This means that employee’s perceptions about the features of their job are important for employee attitudes and the bottom-line of organisations, including municipalities. Lack of service delivery by municipalities has led to an increase in violent protestations in South Africa. The quality of service delivery by public institutions could be the result of negative employee attitudes. Therefore, this investigation could shed light on the role of job characteristics on employee well-being to identify areas for intervention. Using a cross-sectional design and two convenience samples (Municipality: N=178 and Provincial State Department: N=169), this contribution considers the relationship between and the role of job characteristics in job satisfaction and work engagement in a municipality and provincial state department in South Africa. Findings indicate that job characteristics (organisational support, advancement, relationship with co-workers, contact, workload and insecurity) were significantly related to one another on the one hand and with job satisfaction and work engagement on the other hand. Regression analysis also seems to suggest that some of the job characteristics were significant predictors of intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction, vigour and dedication. Recommendations are provided for managers in the public sector where the study was conducted as well as for future research.
North-West University, South Africa, Faculty of Health Sciences1; Optentia Research Programme2; University of Pretoria, South Africa3
Promoting resilience among Sesotho-speaking adolescent girls: Lessons for South African teachers
Teachers are a crucial part of young people’s social ecologies. Considering that black South African adolescent girls remain the most marginalised group in South Africa, the purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study has been to explore if and how teachers champion resilience among black adolescent girls living in rural contexts of structural adversity. Using Draw-and-Talk and Draw-and-Write methods, 28 Sesotho-speaking adolescent girls from the Free State Province of South Africa generated a total of 68 drawings. The drawings were analysed using inductive content analysis. The findings include teachers actively listen and provide guidance; teachers motivate girls towards positive futures; and teachers initiate teacher-girl partnerships. These findings prompt three strategies to support teachers’ championship of resilience, namely pre-empt support; advocate for a changed education landscape; and communicate constructive messages.
Ansie Elizabeth Kitching
North- West University South Africa
The promotion of holistic wellbeing in South African schools: Proposing a way forward
The presentation will deliberate the way forward, regarding the promotion of wellbeing in South African schools by drawing on the outcomes of research conducted in six schools in the Western Cape. The rationale for the research was to develop a pro-active process approach to the promotion of wellbeing in South African schools. An integration of the principles of community psychology and positive psychology, combined with a complexity theory perspective informed the study. A participatory action learning action research methodology was applied to develop an integrated, multi-level process to facilitate the promotion of holistic wellbeing in these schools. Informal wellbeing support teams, which included teachers, learners and parents were established in the schools. Data collection involved the team members as co-researchers, over a period of two years, in a three hour start-up workshop, two hour action learning set meetings, a mid-term celebration, a World Café event and a final celebration. The results indicate that the development of an integrated, multi-level process foregrounded the value of promoting holistic wellbeing, which led to a mind shift towards a solution-focussed approach. This enhanced the co-construction of a more human space and encouraged the development of an intentional strategy to facilitate the promotion of wellbeing understood as an ongoing, complex, interactive process. The integrated, multi-level process evidently enhanced a more pro-active approach to the promotion of wellbeing in these schools and should therefore be considered as a possible pathway to challenging the current reactive approach to the promotion of school wellbeing in South Africa.
Lusilda Schutte1; Marié Wissing1
Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR), North-West University, South Africa1
Further validation of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule: A bifactor exploratory structural equation modelling approach
The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS, Watson, Clark, &Tellegen, 1988) measures positive and negative affect. The scale comprises of two subscales, postulated to be independent, each consisting of 10 items to measure positive affect and negative affect, respectively. The original scale and many variations thereof have been validated and used in various contexts and languages. However, to our knowledge, the scale has not yet been validated in the South African context. This study explored the factor structure of the original PANAS among a multicultural South African adult sample (N = 815) who completed the questionnaire in English. Standard confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), bifactor CFA, exploratory structural equation modelling (ESEM) and bifactor ESEM were applied to the data. Based on previous literature, models that distinguish between more than two specific factors were also fitted. Modification indices were used to guide further specifications. In general, bifactor ESEM models showed superior fit. The findings imply that affect is influenced by both an overall affect factor, as well as specific factors distinguishing between positive and negative affect. In addition, the results showed that within the constructs of positive and negative affect, respectively, finer distinctions can be made representing clusters of positive and negative emotions.
Annemarie Scholtz1 ;Tertia Oosthuizen1
North-West University, South Africa1
Exploring adult horse ridersâ€™ perceptions of their communication with horses and how it translates to their communication with family
The aim of this study was to explore and describe adult horse riders’ perceptions regarding their communication with horses and how it translates to their communication with family. A qualitative explorative, descriptive research design was implemented. The sample group, which was sampled through either a purposive or snowball sampling technique, included six female participants between the ages of 19 and 53 and three male participants between the ages of 20 and 53. Data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews and analysed with the use of thematic analysis. The results identify three main themes, including communication with horses, communication with family members and benefits of interaction and communication with horses. The findings reveal similarities between the communication that takes place between the participants and horses, and between the participants and their family members. These similarities make it possible for the communication in one context (with horses) to be translated to the other context (with family members), and the findings suggest that such a translation is possible and is supported by the systems theory. Apart from the seemingly positive influence that interaction and communication with horses can have on communication with family members, through the development of an increased awareness and sensitivity regarding body language and what horse riders communicate non-verbally, other benefits are also identified by the participants. These include the relief of stress and nervousness, increased awareness of personal boundaries, development of positive traits such as determination, patience and calmness, an enhanced bond with family members through time spent with horses, and relief of family conflict through time spent with horses.
WorkWell Research Unit, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University,South Africa
Passionate motorcyclists: Happiness on full throttle
The South African motorcycle market has been showing a slow growth since the economic downturn in South Africa. Brands such as BMW, Harley Davidson, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki are the most popular brands purchased by motorcycle consumers. Consumer well-being can be conceptualised as a meta-level marketing concept, linking consumer satisfaction with a specific brand or goods purchased, which could influence motorcycle owners’ happiness positively or negatively. The main purpose of this research wants to achieve is the development of a consumer well-being framework for the motorcycle industry in South Africa, guided by happiness as an end result. The bottom-up-spillover theory of subjective well-being was used in guiding this research and the empirical interpretation thereof by means of a structural equation model. The research design for this study was quantitative. The study population included motorcycle owners (N=387) who have attended the Harley Davidson Toy Run in providing toys to underprivileged children in their communities. The measuring battery consisted of five sections. Constructs were rated on four- and five-point, labelled Likert scales, which are shortened versions of some longer scales used by international social scientists. All confirmed factors achieved acceptable reliabilities ≥0.70 and attained overall parsimonious goodness fit results. Linear relationships had been found between personal characteristics, overall happiness feelings, consumer well-being, discreet emotions, personal well-being, leisure life domain and happiness positive and negative affect. Good model overall fit had been achieved. Marketing managers and dealers in the motorcycle industry should adopt a philosophy in developing marketing strategies, with a focus on consumer happiness that should capitalise on consumers’ well-being through the entire consumer/product lifecycle and, by doing so, will reap the benefits of loyalty and brand attachment of these distinct groups of consumers.
North-West University, South Africa
Understanding the complexities of women in leadership within the South African Indian community: A proposed conceptual Framework
157 years ago marks the arrival of the first indentured Indians to South Africa. Much has been reported on what happened to the men of this era and the hardships that they endured to obtain and maintain leadership positions. To date little has been reported about Indian women who despite cultural norms and beliefs originated in India, managed to obtain, maintain and flourish in leadership positions in South Africa. As such, emerging research questions are: What are the challenges these women face in leadership positions? What are the traditions and beliefs that are either empowering or disempowering them? What are the pathways to flourishing of so many Indian women in leadership positions in South Africa?
A conceptual framework is needed for research to direct a better understanding of this phenomenon and also to contribute towards the global knowledge base. Drawing on a literature review, the researcher proposes a conceptual framework consisting of three uncharted key theories that are interconnected. These will be defined contextually and the interconnectedness will be explained. These key theories are (1) leadership, (2) cultural beliefs and (3) pathways to flourishing. The major contribution of this framework is to provide a significant way forward for exploring and understanding empowerment of Indian women in South Africa and unlocking the challenges whilst still respecting of beliefs, traditions and culture.
Freda van der Walt1
Central University of Technology, Free State1
The relationship between cultural intelligence and thriving at work: preliminary empirical results
Due to globalisation and dissolving exclusiveness, cultural intelligence (CQ) is gaining increased interest in business and academic spheres. CQ is of particular importance to a country such as South Africa, which is regarded as one of the most diverse societies in the world. However, due to the country’s political history, the multicultural nature of this country has only been embraced and fostered since 1994. The general absence of exposure to various cultures prior to 1994, has contributed to the paucity of CQ in society and workplaces. This absence of CQ may be regarded as an organisational weakness which negatively influences the retention of diverse employees and consequently organisational competitiveness. Furthermore, because of the complexities involved within such diverse organisational contexts, it is possible that employees’ thriving at work could easily suffer because of their inability to function effectively. On the contrary, CQ individuals that are respectful and supportive of different individuals and their cultures, will most probably experience higher levels of thriving at work. This is mainly because CQ allow individuals to interact effectively with others from a variety of cultures. Against this background, the purpose of this presentation is to present the conceptual framework of the study and the initial reliability and construct validity results of the instruments used to measure CQ and thriving at work.
A cross sectional study was conducted, and the primary data were collected with a structured questionnaire. Various ethical considerations were considered such as confidentiality, anonymity and informed consent. The data was collected by means of a survey and the pilot study included 39 individuals from the target population who does not form part of the final sample. The population of this study is the economic active population of a town situated in the Free State province. The results showed that the Cronbach Alpha coefficients of the dimensions of the constructs measured varied from 0.794 to 0.939. These results demonstrate that all the scales may be regarded as reliable. Various forms of validity were also considered such as face and content validity. Furthermore, the corrected item-total correlation values of each item of the scale also provide indications of the convergent validity of each scale.
M.P Wissing1; Lusilda Schutte1; Angelina Wilson- Fadiji2
North-West University, South Africa1; HSRC Cape Town2
Important Goals: Context matters
Relatively little information is available on goals and other facets associated with eudaimonic well-being across various contexts. Existing research has mostly been done from a quantitative perspective. This study aimed to explore with a bottom-up qualitative approach what the most important goals and reasons thereof are for people from two diverse contexts. Adults were selected from a mainly English speaking (n=939) and mainly Setswana speaking group (n=925) in a South African province. Groups differed in several socio-demographic and contextual variables. In the first instance participants responded to semi-structured questions in writing whereas in the second group trained fieldworkers collected data in semi-structured interviews in the mother tongue of participants. Participants were asked to mention their three most important goals, and then for each of these goals, why it is important. Responses were captured, translated into English where necessary, and as preliminary analyses visually depicted with WordlItOut to show similarities and differences in patterns of important goals and the motivations thereof as voiced by lay people. For purposes of this presentation, the visual depictions (word clouds) will be presented and compared across contexts. Striking differences emerged between the different groups. Possible explanations include rural versus urban factors, socio-demographic, socio-economic and cultural contextual facets. More conceptual and empirical research is needed to highlight the contextual, and in particular the cultural grounding, of facets associated with goals and well-being in the rich African diversities neglected in main stream positive psychology until now.
Rhodes University, South Africa1
Absent father and psychological well-being of children: A Positive Psychology view into fatherhood in South Africa
This paper reports on the psychological implications in children who are raised without their fathers present in their lives. Literature suggests that the problem of absent fathers affects the psychological well-being of children, as they grow older. Literature tends to approach the concept of a father from the psychoanalytical viewpoint: that of a biological father. This approach turns to only confine the meaning of the concept to a westernised-urban worldview of a family and in the process consciously or unconsciously exclude the African ways of understanding the father, which are not only limited to the biological aspects. The paper will review the literature on absent fathers and employ Black Social Organisation theory and Structural Functionalism to argue the African ways of understanding the father which are not only limited to the biological aspect. This view is underpinned by the Positive Psychology worldview that suggests that all family members have the necessary resources and strengths that must be identified and encouraged (Levy and Orlans, 2014). The paper will expose the limitations of the Psychoanalytic view in the Southern African context and advocate for broader re-conceptualisation of the notion of absent father and highlight the need to broaden the research to understand the nuanced role of other male members of the family for a worthy psychological living life of a child.
KEYWORDS Father, absent father, psychological implications,
Nursing students’ conceptions of the meaning of work: a qualitative exploration
The meaning that people attach to work plays a significant role in the quality of their lives. International research has indicated that nurses may regard their work as meaningful and even as a calling. However, few studies have explored the qualitative conceptions that South African nursing students attach to their work during service learning.
This paper reports on a qualitative study conducted at a South African university of technology that investigated the meaning that nursing students attach to work in the form of service learning. A phenomenological approach was adopted to conduct the study. Data were collected from a sample of nursing students (N = 18, female = 15, age range = 18-25) using in-depth interviews and narrative sketches. Research ethics clearance was obtained from the university of technology where the study was conducted.
From the phenomenological analysis, four prominent themes emerged, namely: not a job but a calling, a hero’s journey, meaningful work as a coping strategy, and career development. This paper provides administrators, academe, and others with a greater understanding of nursing students’ conceptions of the meaning of work. The findings suggest that not only do participants view their work as meaningful, but that meaningful work offers direct and indirect benefits. The need for further research, with a specific emphasis on applied student development and support, is highlighted.
Enhancing the first-year experience: a case for strengths mentoring
Positive psychology has gained popularity within the higher education context. However, more South African research is needed that examines the application of positive psychology in assisting students to navigate the stressful first-year experience. One promising positive psychology intervention is referred to as Strengths Mentoring.
Strengths Mentoring refers to a student development intervention where persons are assisted in identifying their signature strengths and encouraged to apply these strengths in the academic context and beyond. Through the identification and application of strengths, persons could potentially enhance flourishing behaviour, thus enriching aspects such as satisfaction with life, well-being, hope and meaning.
This paper reports a mixed methods case study that investigated the efficacy of a Strengths Mentoring programme presented to a sample of 39 first-year university students (Mean age = 19.13, SD = 1.34, female = 59%). Following ethics approval, quantitative data were collected in a pre- and post-intervention manner using the Hope Scale, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-being, Satisfaction with Life Scale, Subjective Happiness Scale, and Strengths Use and Deficit Improvement Questionnaire. Qualitative data were collected using reflective diaries, narrative sketches and individual semi-structured interviews (n = 7). Statistically and practically significant changes emerged when comparing the quantitative data. Three qualitative themes were interpreted from the data, namely broadened horizons, a stronger me, and cross-curricular life skills. Collectively, the data integration suggested that the intervention had a positive impact on participants’ sense of well-being and contributed towards enhancing the first-year experience.
Health Professional Council South Africa (HPCSA)
Enhancement of learner’s educational, psycho-social and emotional well-being in informal settlement school from well-being perspective
The study aimed to unveil the challenges experienced by learners with regards to educational, psycho-social and emotional well-being in informal settlement schools using action research approach. In order to achieve that, the researcher applied action research as a useful method for implementing change through its spiral of plan, action, observation and reflection. Action research in this study was located within the non-positivist paradigm of reflective rationality. This study was underpinned by the theoretical framework coined by Bronfenbrenner’s model. A qualitative research inquiry was used. The sample comprised 120 learners from an informal settlement school in Gauteng Province. Data collection was conducted through individual interviews, narrative stories and group discussions Data were analysed qualitatively. Measures to ensure ethical research included consent from the Department of Education, parents/guardians and assent from learners. Action research was a collaborative and empowering approach between the researcher and the participants and it is essential for lifelong learning for learners.
Stellenbosch University, South Africa1
Exploring the Subjective Well-being of Young Adult Peer Educators in a Resource-Constrained Context
Peer educators, particularly those in developing countries, are the primary resource used to deliver health promotion messages in many resource-constrained communities. Working mostly within contexts of overwhelming social challenges which ostensibly would place a strain on their mental health, peer educators are used extensively as behaviour change agents in the battle against HIV/AIDS. Although extensive studies report the relative efficacy of peer education programmes, there is little evidence of the peer educators’ “voice” or indication of the benefit of peer education work for the peer educators themselves.
This qualitative study examined the subjective well-being of peer educators at a higher education institution, TSiBA Education, within a positive psychology frame through the lens of Self Determination Theory. Satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness were explored in participant narratives, and a symbiotic relationship between relatedness and competence was discerned. Additional broad concepts of wellness emerged in the study, including evidence of flourishing and psycho-social benefits accruing from volunteering. Specifically findings recorded significant improvements in familial relationships, meaningful awareness and understanding of the needs of others, self-initiated learning skills and a confidence and increased self-esteem through gaining competence. All of these in turn addressed subjective well-being and led to an improvement in the psycho social functioning of the peer educators and an awakening of critical consciousness in these young students.
Human Sciences Research Council
Making a case for strengths-based workplace wellness promotion initiatives in the South African context: A concept paper
The importance of employee wellness for organisational success and profitability has led to an increase in workplace wellness initiatives globally. Conventional workplace wellness initiatives such as health management and screening, fitness programmes, counselling, and stress management, mainly applied within the South African context, can be criticised for focussing on preventing or fixing the negative rather than building and nurturing psychological strengths to enhance flourishing at work. Positive psychology workplace interventions approach employee wellness from a strength-based perspective. Scientific evidence supports that yoga can promote a range of psychological strengths associated with increased mental and physical well-being among various groups in a variety of settings. However, there is lack of adequate evidence in the South African context on the utility of yoga programmes targeting employee wellness from a holistic strengths-based perspective. This concept paper offers a review of local workplace wellness literature of the past 20 years to highlight the need for strengths-based approaches to promote employee wellness holistically. The review demonstrated that South African organisations do not seem to be invested enough in the welfare, health, and wellness of their employees despite the growing burden of stress, poor mental and physical health, and other stress related health issues among the workforce. There is also a paucity of local literature on workplace wellness initiatives. This reveals a need for evidence-based positive psychology approaches to promote employee wellness in the local context. A workplace yoga intervention is proposed as a viable, low-cost, strength-based approach to promote holistic employee wellness within South Africa.
Charles Magoba Muwonge1
Joseph Ssenyonga1, 2; Diana Kwarikunda1
Mbarara University of Science and Technology1, Uganda
University of Konstanz2, Germany
Development and Validation of the Academic Hope Scale in the Ugandan Context: A Pilot Study
High hope has been associated with increased persistence, high academic achievement, and positive achievement emotions in school settings (Pekrun, 2000). In the present study, we examined the construct validity of a new scale – the Academic Hope Scale (AHS), which could be used to assess academic hope among university students in Uganda. Using a sample of 500 teacher-trainees, in the first stage, we explored the factorial structure of the AHS using an exploratory factor analysis. Results indicated that the 2-factor model solution was more acceptable. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA; N = 581) showed that the 2-factor model solution fitted much better than the single-factor or higher-order factor solutions. Additionally, these two factors had acceptable reliabilities. Multi-group CFA’s using female (N = 113) and male (N = 463) teacher-trainees indicated weak, strong, and strict measurement invariance’s. These preliminary results indicate that the AHS can be reliably used in hope assessments irrespective of the students’ sex, hence, this provides for better prospects of using the AHS in counseling university students in Uganda. Nevertheless, more studies should be conducted to examine the convergent and discrimination validities of the AHS.
University of Pretoria
Exploring supervisors’ perspectives on clinical supervision practices that enhance trainee counsellors’ wellness during internship: A case of Uganda
Clinical supervision is the signature pedagogy in the training of professional counsellors adopted to hone the trainee counsellors’ motivation, commitment and to mitigate the effects of work related stress and burnout during internship. In this case, clinical supervision is a crucible in which the trainee counsellors’ strengths and personal resources beyond previous functioning are enhanced. To achieve the aforementioned goal, for example, supervisors adopt personal support strategies to strengthen the supervisees’ resilience a practice that is aligned to positive psychology in regard to recognising and enhancing the trainee counsellors’ personal strengths. Thus, this interpretive case study explored the clinical supervision practices supervisors adopt to enhance trainee counsellors’ wellness to ensure that trainee counsellors to effectively take care of themselves and their clients at the respective counselling internship sites. The trainee counsellors who participated in this study were all doing internship at HIV community clinics. During clinical supervision sessions supervisors identify trainees whose resilience and need to be enhanced or those who may need their self-care practices intensified in view of improved wellness and optimal professional functioning. The participants in this study were purposively selected. Ethical considerations such as obtaining permission from the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) was obtained. In addition, I obtained informed consent from the participants before conducting individual interviews. Data were collected using semi-structured individual interviews which were conducted at the end of the counselling internship in August 2016. Findings indicated that the clinical supervision practices directed at supervisee wellness are useful in enhancing trainee counsellors’ resilience and optimal functioning but still require improvement. Recommendations include training interventions for supervisors grounded in the supervision wellness model. Suggestions for further study include exploring the self-care practices trainee counsellors adopt to mitigate compassion fatigue as well as to restore their professional functioning self.
Marieta du Plessis2
University of the Free State, South Africa, Department of Industrial Psychology1;
University of the Western Cape, Department of Industrial Psychology2
Psychometric Properties of the Authentic Leadership Questionnaire: Evidence from a South African Sample
Although the Authentic Leadership Questionnaire (ALQ) has been used in several South African studies, its psychometric properties in terms of gender and race need to be further investigated.
The ALQ operationalises authentic leadership using four dimensions: relational transparency, moral/ethical behaviour, balanced information processing, and self-awareness. Data on the rater version of the ALQ was collected from 789 individuals working in both the private and public sectors. In terms of gender, males made up the bulk of the present sample (n = 474; 60%) while Back employees were in the majority (n = 477, 64%).
Overall, the reliability of the ALQ was satisfactory, ranging between .886 (balanced information processing) and .940 (self-awareness). Interestingly, the various of dimensions of the ALQ were more reliable for females (ranging between .917 and .958) than males (ranging between .860 and .925). A similar pattern emerged when considering race: the instrument was more reliable for Blacks (ranging between .910 and .946) than Whites (ranging between .859 and .935). Overall, the CFA results point to a well-fitting model based on the total sample (S-B Χ2 = 435.65, df = 98, RMSEA = .066, SRMR = .028, CFI = .967). In addition, the goodness-of-sit statistics suggest that the instrument fits well when comparing gender and racial groups. The present study concludes that the ALQ can be used as a reliable and valid measure of authentic leadership within the South African context.
University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Youth in conflict with the law: understanding the integration of psychology and film through Tsotsi
With the high rates of crime in South Africa, and youth offenders being amongst the perpetrators, there is ever a need for multidimensional intervention strategies. In line with international policies, the South African criminal justice system is in favour of rehabilitation programs for youth in conflict with the law. Adopting the use of film as a communication strategy, the study used Tsotsi as a tool to initiate personal critical reflection amongst youth offenders. The paper, an extract from the Masters’ study titled “The role of film in attitudinal change and behavioural rehabilitation of youth in conflict with the law: WinkieDireko Secure Centre and Tsotsi,” adopted a qualitative interpretative phenomenological approach. 15 male youth offenders between 14 – 17 years were interviewed. Data was collected through focus groups and individual semi-structured interviews. Archival data was also used. Data was analysed through thematic analysis. The findings indicate that the youth offenders perceived Tsotsi as a safe space to critically reflect on their personal lives towards a change of attitude. This is considered significant as it can help to inform policy makers on how cost effective intervention strategies such as film can be utilised by paraprofessionals towards integration of psychology and film in fighting against crime.
University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
The positive psychology of African cultural practice: Ubuntu as an African psychology of encouragement
Although the notions of Ubuntu and Encouragement are popular humanistic terminologies in everyday life, the two terms are rarely brought together as lexical relatives in the study of positive psychology in Africa. The result is that both concepts are rarely clarified or compared with one another and effectively understood by psychology trainees in Africa. The specific objective of this paper is to explore what these terms mean individually, so as to relate the positive psychology of encouragement to the African concept of ubuntu. It is expected that through such exploration we will be able to see what the two terms speak to, the way they are related, and the lessons we can draw from such exploration.
Florence A. Ochanda
Relationship Between Supervisory Working Allianca And Psychological Well Being Among Counsellors I Nairobi County – Kenya
This study investigated relationship between supervisory working alliance and psychological well-being among counsellors in Nairobi County. Theoretical framework was based on Bordin (1983) supervision working alliance model and Ryff (1989) Psychological well-being. The study used quantitative research design and data was collected using the SWAI-T scale by Efstation, Patton &Kardash (1990), and Psychological well-being scale developed by (Ryff, 1995). The target sample was counselors aged 23+ years. 285 participants were conveniently sampled with 250 returning the questionnaires giving a response rate of 87.7%. Data analysis was done using descriptive and inferential methods (factor analysis, linear regression, ANOVA). Out of the four demographic variable (age, gender, years of experience and education level), only age had a significant relationship on psychological well-being (F5, 201=4.524, p.01). Also, the current study found a significant relationship between supervisory working alliance and psychological well-being. Finally, this study further discovered significant negative influence of demographic variables on relationship between supervisory working alliance and psychological well-being; shifting the regression coefficient of SWAI-T significantly by 12.1% (from β=.63 to β=.554) with age and level of education having the highest effect size (combined ɳ2=.039: which tends to average effect size). It can therefore be concluded that counsellors under good supervisory working alliance develop good psychological well-being and are able to execute their duties better. More studies are needed to explore further effects cultural and socio-economic diversities and what impact they may have on relationship between supervisory working alliance and psychological well-being.
James Onyango Juma1
Danie du Toit1; Karen van der Merwe1
North-West University, South Africa1
The "Persona" Lives of African Roman Catholic priests
This study aimed to provide an in-depth description and interpretation of African Roman Catholic Church priests’ experiences integrating African and Western worldviews into their lives and works as Roman Catholic Church priests through the lens of Jungian constructs. Fifteen African priests (5 > 10yrs, 5 < 10 >25yr & 5 <25yrs experience) were purposely selected and interviewed in depth. Additional sources of data were reflexive notes and observation notes. Data was subjected to various iterative cycles of analysis. Most participants (80%) indicated that, in one way or another, they were experiencing conflict in terms of the cultural values of manhood and Roman Catholic Church prescription. Findings suggest that the Roman Catholic Church support and guide its priests on a path of healing, which includes the priests risking cultural openness and being true to themselves and God. Indications of conflict experiences are acknowledged and emphasis is put on individuated and happy lives suggesting future researches from a positive psychology perspective.
Johan Potgieter1; Cornelia Schreck1; Ilana Coetzee1
North-West University, South Africa1
Peer helpers' experience of participation in an adventure-based experiential learning programme: A grit perspective
Peer helper programmes have become an indispensable part of most tertiary institutions. Given the various demands of their roles, grit represent a potentially significant strength for the effective functioning of the peer helper.
The study focused on the adventure-based experiential learning (ABEL) component of the North-West University (NWU) peer helper training programme. The aim of this study was to explore and describe the subjective experiences of peer helpers’ participation in an ABEL programme from a grit perspective.
A total of 26 peer helper students of the NWU, both male and female, participated in the study. A qualitative research approach with a case study research design was used. The participants completed daily reflective diaries over the three-day ABEL programme. After three months as peer helpers, the same individuals participated in three separate focus group interviews. Themes were identified through inductive analysis and these were discussed regarding their relevance to the concept of grit. The main themes that emerged across all data included intra-, inter-, and transpersonal/transcendent aspects. Within these categories, the participants reflected and called upon various character strengths, and their reflections regularly referred to elements of grit. It was concluded that ABEL, due to its unique nature, may facilitate personal growth on various levels and, more specifically, may lead to the improvement and/or development of grit. The inclusion of ABEL in peer helpers’ training shows potential to empower participants in the long term through transfer of its effect on grit into other life contexts.
Amoret van Heerden1
University of Namibia1
Juggling work load and resources: Exhaustion of nurses and police officers in Namibia.
A lot has been published on burnout within the service industry; however an in-depth investigation on job stressors and burnout in both the safety and health sectors of Namibia has been left unexplored. This study investigated the relationship between job demands-resources and burnout in Namibia. Burnout occurs when an individual is exposed to emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job (exhaustion, cynicism and professional efficacy). Job demands require continuous efforts and job resources are aspects of the organisation that are helpful in achieving goals, reducing costs of job demands and stimulating growth and development. The sample is made up of police officers (n=482) and nursing staff (n=672) from various regions within Namibia (n=1154). Results were analysed using SPSS (version 24) to assess the relationships between the variables. The results revealed that exhaustion had a significant relationship with workload, resources and organisational support. Lower levels of workload, accompanied with higher levels resources and organisation support would reduce exhaustion. Workload can be managed by making use of time management training, improving delegation skills, and by ensuring the employees have mentors and supervisory support. Training opportunities improve work resources and reduces work stress. Healthy coping strategies like being active, and meditation help to alleviate stress (exhaustion). Having healthy work relations enhances organisational support and improves coping mechanisms of employees.
University of Namibia1
Improving general health and reducing burnout of nurses in Namibia
Nurses make up 80% of Namibia’s healthcare workforce and they are regarded as the backbone of the industry. Burnout among nurses has become a common issue which can affect the quality of care nurses provide to patients, and due to the lack of other healthcare providers they are exposed to high levels of job stress. The purpose of this study was to investigate how job demands-resources and psychological capital impact general health and burnout of nurses in Oshikoto, Kavango East, Oshana, Omaheke and Khomas region (n=672). Improving the working environment by balancing the relationship between job demands and job resources will result in low levels of burnout, improved health care services, improved employee performance and satisfaction of patients. The results were analysed using SPSS (version 24), Pearson product-moment correlation and multiple regression analyses. Exhaustion was found to have a positive relationship with general health (somatic symptoms, anxiety/insomnia, and social dysfunction), and workload. Social dysfunction and anxiety/insomnia was found to be significant predictors of cynicism; anxiety/insomnia, workload, and social dysfunction were found to be significant predictor of exhaustion. It is suggested that the healthcare sector needs to invest in health education/stress management programs for nurses on how to take care of their own health and emotional well-being. Provide training/development opportunities and coping strategies to increase nurses’ psychological capital, general health, skills and abilities.
University of Namibia1
High workload and immoral/unethical behavior of leaders impact on exhaustion of police officers, Namibia
Recent studies showed that 13% of police officers commit suicide. Burnout and subjective health complaints are considered as risks that are consistent with high levels of suicide ideation. Police officers are exposed to life threatening traumatic experiences, such as physical assault or witnessing disturbing images of death. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between job demands-resources, authentic leadership, work engagement and burnout within the Namibian police force. A cross-sectional survey design was used collecting data on police officers in the Erongo, Oshana and Khomas regions (n=369). Data was analyzed using SPPS (version 24) and Pearson product correlations. Results indicated that when police officers experience high workload and leaders that does not engage in moral and ethical behavior, they would experience higher levels of exhaustion. Factors like organisational support and resources also seemed to impact on work engagement. To reduce exhaustion and increase engagement, it is vital that the police force assess person-job fit, implement stress management and wellness programs to help employees cope better with work demands. Moral and ethical behavior can be enhanced through leadership training/development. Improving on colleague relations (team building) and through mentorship programs employees would have access to social support at work, buffering high work demands.
Prof Michelle May2
University of Pretoria, South Africa1; UNISA2
Mandela and Moses as containers of forgiveness and leadership: through a psychodynamic eye and a positive psychology lens
An intersection on forgiveness is found in positive psychology and religion studies. Simultaneously; leadership studies have grappled with issues of virtue and their role regarding ideal leadership. The aim of the paper is to demonstrate the role of forgiveness might play in the psychological wellbeing of student leaders. Social dream drawing was conducted with student leaders and analysed through a fusion of discourse analysis and a psychodynamic interpretation then interpreted through a positive psychology lens. The findings reveal Mandela and Moses as iconic leaders who are idealised by student leaders because they have symbolised the virtue of forgiveness. This finding demonstrates aspects of resilience of student leaders in an environment that they interpret as hostile hence looking at previous leaders for aspirations of ideal leadership. As such, narcissistic injury and revenge that came to sight through a psychodynamic eye is found to be an opportunity to practice the virtue of forgiveness to achieve psychological wellbeing of student leaders; from a positive psychology lens. However, the internal tension planted by the need to revenge presents concerns relating to the construct of forgiveness which can also implicate the psychological wellbeing of student leaders. The contribution to the findings to positive psychology relates to how the construct of forgiveness can be a tool to assist student leaders to have insight regarding their defended student leadership identity therefore inviting (enabling) an environment of trust and less anxious relational dynamics that facilitate a safe space for a conversation about diversity dynamics in the leadership space.
Sebastiaan Rothmann1; Elrie Botha1
North-West University, South Africa; Optentia Research Focus Area1
Feeling and functioning well: A comparison between two versions of the Flourishing-at-Work Scale
The development of psychometrically sound measures has been one of the focal points of positive psychology. While flourishing in life has positioned itself as the most prominent multidimensional well-being model (i.e. emotional, psychological, and social well-being); flourishing also occurs at work. This led to the development of the Flourishing-at-Work Scale (FAWS) and its Short Form (FAWS-SF). The purpose of the study was to compare the FAWS and FAWS-SF in relation to intention to leave, in-role performance, and organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB). A cross-sectional survey design was used with 258 secondary school academic personnel from two districts in Gauteng. The FAWS, FAWS-SF, Turnover Intention Scale, In-Role Behavior Scale, and Organisational Citizenship Behaviour Scale were administered. Similar results were found when comparing the variance explained by workplace flourishing as measured by the FAWS and the FAWS-SF in relation to the outcomes. Both measures explained more than 47% (large effect) in the variance of intention to leave (FAWS-SF = 48% versus FAWS = 62%), more than 12% (medium effect) in the variance of in-role performance (FAWS-SF = 13% versus FAWS = 21%), and more than 39% (large effect) in the variance of OCB (FAWS-SF = 42% versus FAWS = 40%). This suggests that the FAWS-SF can measure workplace flourishing as effectively as the FAWS, while placing less of a burden on participants. Being the first validated instrument to measure a model of flourishing versus languishing at work, the FAWS and FAWS-SF could supply organisations with invaluable information regarding the well-being of their employees.
Chief of Possibility; Boston's Racial & Economic Activated Dialogue
Defining a Positive Citizenship; Wellbeing for Emancipation
Positive psychology as a field has made substantial advances when it comes to understanding positive experiences and positive traits, yet there is a deficiency in theory, research, and application of how to build and enable positive institutions. This paper argues that positive psychologists and practitioners need to focus on how positive psychology can support and contribute to macro level community wellbeing, specifically focused and concerned with justice. At the origins of this nation’s history is dehumanization and oppression of certain populations, denying citizens full participation in our democracy. This paper asks, what allows people to be psychologically ready to participate and what is society’s responsibility in cultivating conditions that lead to participation? Defining a positive citizenship describes where there is potential to cultivate positive citizenship and highlights the current conditions that threaten the concept of citizenship as fundamental to wellbeing. Positive citizenship embodies Freire’s belief that one cannot experience being fully human, or true emancipation, without the ability to impact and transform themselves and the world.
Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, South Africa1
Positive Constructs of Ageing: A critical reflection
The aim of this presentation is to critically engage with various constructs of ageing (successful ageing, active ageing, healthy ageing, positive ageing, robust ageing, productive ageing and optimal ageing), which attempt to understand the ageing process from a more affirmative if not optimistic perspective. This approach was developed to counter-act the notion that older people inevitably will deteriorate to become a burden to society and thus ideally need to disengage for the benefit of the social systems they belong to. The development of the argument in this presentation will draw on findings obtained from research conducted over the past five years with older people (60+ years) in both urban residential care and community settings in South Africa. Findings confirmed the facilitation of growth goals by using an active ageing / contribution approach. However, some unintended consequences include threats to agency, autonomy and independence as well as the basic human rights of both older people in residential care as well as those in the community caring for younger dependents. A critical analysis is offered to highlight the implications of using specific constructs to describe and understand ageing processes and practices.
Marieta du Plessis2
Sea Everest International1; University of the Western Cape2
An evaluation of the effectiveness of a Positive leadership intervention
Championed by Kim Cameron and colleagues, Positive Organisational Scholarship (POS) focusses on what goes right in organisations, seeking to understand human excellence and exceptional organisational performance. POS does not ignore or deny the negative phenomena and problems found in organisations. It seeks, instead, to study organisations typified by appreciation, collaboration, vitality and fulfillment, where abundance and human well-being are key indicators of success. Positive leadership is one of the components of POS. Positive leadership uses scientific evidence and theoretically-grounded principles to promote outcomes such as thriving at work, interpersonal flourishing, virtuous behaviours, positive emotions, and energising networks. Some of the positive leadership practices include positive energy networks, articulating Everest goals, celebrating strengths, successes and achievements, reflected best-self feedback, and demonstrating caring and compassion with customers. A four-day training course on Positive Leadership is being presented to individuals from the financial services industry (N=100). Pre- and post-assessment scores utilising the Cameron positive leadership assessment was obtained. The preliminary results (n=11) indicate significant differences in the pre- and post-test relating to respondents' compassionate behaviours, integration of an affirmative bias in their leadership behaviours by acknowledging strengths and contribution of team members, and the institution of monthly meetings with followers. The limitations of the study include the absence of a control group and self-report instruments. The significance of the study includes a description of the positive leadership intervention and a first attempt at measuring the impact of the positive leadership course within the South African context.
Marie P. Wissing1
Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR), North-West University, South Africa1
Sensitivity of measurement of well-being across the spectrum: Do we measure what we think we measure?
Research about the quality of measurement of psychosocial well-being focused predominantly on the factorial validity and measurement invariance of instruments in different groups and contexts. Very little attention has been given to investigating the important issue of sensitivity of measurement. This study aimed to explore the sensitivity of self-report scales of psychosocial well-being across the latent trait continuum. Using data from two multicultural samples of South African adults (N = 937 and N = 235), Rasch analysis was applied to five measures of psychosocial well-being using Winsteps 3.81. The mean person intensity level was higher than the mean item challenge level for all but one scale. There were also no items with average challenge levels in the upper range of the latent constructs while many respondents attained intensity levels in that range. The results imply that the measures will not sensitively detect changes when they are administered to evaluate interventions in the general population. Correlations between facets of psychosocial well-being and other indices will be influenced primarily by the minority of people with low scores on the measures. The findings suggest that theories and measurement instruments of psychosocial well-being do not adequately understand the nuances of well-being at high levels, while the majority of the population attain high scores . If we believe that well-being is not merely the absence of disease, the time has come to delve into an in-depth exploration of psychosocial well-being at higher levels.
If we believe that well-being is not merely the absence of disease, the time has come to delve into what well-being looks like at high levels by moving beyond merely studying the “symptoms” of well-being to explore patterns or “syndromes” of flourishing.
Marie P. Wissing1
North-West University, South Africa1
The dimensionality of positive mental health: A person-centred approach
The exploration of the dimensionality of positive mental health had been mostly approached from a variable-centred perspective using factor analytic approaches. In this regard, recent studies showed that bifactor exploratory structural equation modelling models that take both general and specific facets of positive mental health into account and that allow items to cross-load on non-target specific factors, hold promise. What is lacking, is studies that explore the dimensionality of positive mental health from a person-centred perspective, particularly where the effects of both global and specific facets of mental health are considered. This study aimed to explore profiles of positive mental health that emerged when shape and level effects, as well as the presence of a G-factor, were accounted for. A multicultural sample of N = 852 adult South Africans completed the Mental Health Continuum Short Form (MHC-SF). The MHC-SF measures overall positive mental health and consists of three subscales: emotional, social, and psychological well-being. Mplus 7.4 was used to assess the fit of first-order confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and exploratory structural equation modelling (ESEM) models, as well as bifactor CFA and ESEM models. Latent profile analysis and factor mixture
analysis were used to extract profiles of participants based on their levels of positive mental health as estimated in the superior fitting measurement models. The ESEM and bifactor ESEM models displayed superior fit. Profile groups that emerged presented level- and shape-related differences, providing significant insight into the dimensionality of well-being.
Monique Chalize Shaw1
University of Johannesburg, South Africa1
The Role of Meaning in life in the relationship between hope and well-being
This study explored the relationship between hope, meaning in life (MIL, exploring both presence of meaning in life, PMIL and search for meaning in life, SMIL), and well-being. Specifically, hope was conceptualized in two ways. First, as cognitive hope (Snyder, 2000), and second, as perceived hope (Krafft, 2017). Understanding these relationships may be useful in formulating psychological interventions and may lead to an increased theoretical understanding of these interrelationships.
The study’s aims were; (1) to examine the relationship between hope, MIL, and well-being; (2) to examine the mediating role of MIL in the relationship between cognitive and perceived hope and well-being. In a cross-sectional survey design using purposive sampling, 252 university students responded to online questionnaires in order to measure the variables pertaining to the research aims. A correlational analysis examined inter-correlations among well-being, hope, and MIL. Secondly, a mediation regression analysis (Hayes, 2013) was utilized to examine MIL’s effect on both facets of hope and well-being.
The results confirmed relationships between well-being and both facets of hope, well-being and PMIL, and both facets of hope and PMIL. However, a negative correlation was found between SMIL and well-being, and as well as both facets of hope. Further, PMIL mediates the relationship between both facets of hope and well-being. This suggests that cognitive and perceived hope may lead to well-being through an increased sense of PMIL. This study may bring value into implementing interventions to facilitate MIL alongside individual hope and well-being.
Lizanle van Biljon1
Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR), North-West University, South Africa1
Institute of Psychology and Wellbeing, North-West University2
Quality of Life and Older Persons: Optimizing Formal Care
Older people in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are adhering to global trends of aging and an increasing older population. However, older people in developing or rural SSA countries do not have the same opportunities for care as older people in developed countries based on available infrastructure and governmental support. Ageing is considered to be a natural, although highly individual process characterised by progressive declines in the function of most physiological and psychological systems, which leads to increasing frailty. Our research inductively explored pathways through which currently existing care options could be optimized by focusing on psychosocial aspects in order to promote quality of life (QoL), where formal support is lacking. QoL as a construct encompasses the livability of an environment, the life-ability of a person, the utility of life and the appreciation of life measured against life changes. QoL strongly links with the broader paradigm of positive psychology, seeking to understand the factors that facilitate optimal functioning as much as those that prevent it. We found six psychosocial domains of QoL to be of crucial importance in care settings (autonomy, spirituality, sense of place, subjective health, meaningfulness and spirituality). Contributors and inhibitors to all six domains are furthermore provided. On a community level, our findings are reported back in care settings to optimize individual prospects of QoL.
Liesl van der Merwe1
Janelize van der Merwe1
North-West University, South Africa1
The meaning of Dalcroze-inspired activities for older adults in residential care: a case study
The purpose of this case study is to explore the meaning older adults ascribe to their experiences with Dalcroze-inspired activities at an old age home. Although we do know that Dalcroze Eurhythmics is beneficial for the subjective well-being of older adults we do not know how older adults who have limited mobility and need to move with a walking device or are in a wheel chair experience Dalcroze-inspired activities. Furthermore, this case is unique due to the South African context. In this study we adhere to the principles of hospitality in community music and therefore we do not exclude anyone. In the qualitative intrinsic case study we interviewed older adults until we reached data saturation. Data were collected through multiple sources of data such as video, field notes, reflective diaries and photos. Participants gave informed consent and the researchers were guided by the principles of an ethic of care. The listening guide approach to qualitative inquiry was used as a strategy for data analysis in the interviews. The main research question that guided this inquiry was: What meaning do older adults in residential care ascribe to their experiences with Dalcroze-inspired activities? Preliminary findings correspond to the expanded PERMAC model because the Dalcroze sessions help the older adults to cope with suffering. Participation in this community of musical practice enhances participants’ connectedness with others and the self, which contributes to their spiritual well-being.
Erna van der Westhuizen1
Marie Wissing1; Lusilda Schutte1; Christi Niesing1
Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR), North-West University, South Africa1
Critical analysis of social impact measurement models
Background: Social impact measurement models provide outlines that intend to determine whether investments at the community level hold social value and therefore have an important role to play in the promotion of psychosocial wellbeing. This is part of a global dialogue calling for a process to rethink “progress” in terms of wellbeing.
Aim: The purpose of this review was to analyse and integrate perspectives on social impact measurement models as found in the academic and grey literature and to evaluate to what degree they accommodate subjective indicators of psychosocial wellbeing.
Method: A narrative literature review was conducted, including data sources accessed from EbscoHost, JSTOR, ScienceDirect, Google Scholar and Google.
Results and Conclusions: Two groups of models emerged, namely economic and holistic/multidimensional models. Although both groups of models reflected upon social change, the economic models were mainly focused on the monetization of impact and did not convincingly show an ability to incorporate non-economic factors that provide an indication of human wellbeing. The holistic/multidimensional models, on the other hand, acknowledged that social impact is a multidimensional outcome that involves all aspects of human life, above and beyond GDP and economic factors. Many of the holistic/multidimensional models allowed for the inclusion of subjective indicators of psychosocial wellbeing when measuring social impact. It is recommended that the far neglected eudaimonic indicators of psychosocial wellbeing should also be included in evaluations to provide a more comprehensive and balanced measurement of social impact.
Izanette Van Schalkwyk
North-West University, South Africa
Strengthening families: Challenges and strengths of mothers with substance-problems living in a high-risk community
The focus of this research was to explore the challenges and strengths of mothers with substance-problems who are the heads of their households and living in a South African high-risk community. When mothers are dealing with substance-problems, there are serious health, emotional and economic issues and these problems impact the entire household.
Within the qualitative approach, purposive sampling was used and 24 mothers who complied with the inclusion criteria participated. Data were collected via unstructured interviews (phenomenological research design) and the World Café method (qualitative descriptive design). Descriptive-interpretive analysis was used for data collected via unstructured interviews and thematic data analysis for data collected via the World Café method.
Findings revealed that although mothers with substance-problems as the heads of their households are dealing with several serious past and present problems, these families do have various strengths to be encouraged. However, the challenges of FHHs living in a high-risk community include additional perils and vulnerabilities due to mothers’ substance-problems.
It is recommended that a wellbeing programme is developed in order to intentionally encourage the strengths and to address the challenges of FHHs in a high-risk community where the mothers are dealing with substance-problems.
Mignon van Vreden
North-West University, South Africa
Singing and well-being in a junior primary school choir: An exploratory case study
According to the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement of South Africa, two hours per week are set aside for Creative Arts as part of the subject Life Skills, of which only 30 minutes is assigned to Music. Opportunities for singing in the foundation phase are therefore limited due to insufficient time in the daily programme. However, being part of the school choir increases learners’ singing opportunities. The purpose of this study was to explore the social, educational and affective influences of choral singing on the holistic wellbeing of foundation phase learners who are members of a junior primary school choir in Potchefstroom. The qualitative research approach was framed by a constructivist worldview to conduct an exploratory case study. Data were collected through observation, individual and group interviews and creative methods such as drawing, drama and role play. The findings explore ways in which choral singing nurtures wellbeing through social interaction, building self-confidence, emotional development, musical development, physical development, facilitating multicultural understanding, cognitive development, stimulating creativity and having fun. The implications of this study are to emphasize the importance of choral singing in childhood to nurture holistic wellbeing. Rich, thick descriptions support ‘reader generalisation’ to sufficiently inform the audience about the findings to make their own judgements about the extent to which the case could inform action in other cases in different contexts.
Jane Victoria Volker1
University of Johannesburg, South Africa1
A study of posttraumatic growth with a narrative approach to JesFoord’s experience of rape
The study will take an in depth look at posttraumatic growth after sexual abuse. This will be done through taking a narrative approach to the case of JesFoord who was gang raped. Since being raped, Foord has begun the JesFoord Foundation which provides support for woman who have been raped. She has become an activist against rape culture in South Africa. Through this she has had a positive change in her life and in other’s lives. Because of the nature of research and Foord’s case, it was decided that qualitative research would be the best approach to the study. Published interviews of Foord were used to uncover evidence of posttraumatic growth throughout her case. Posttraumatic growth involves positive change in a person’s life caused by a traumatic event. It forms a part of positive psychology. In the past, psychologists have focused on the negative aspects of a client’s condition. However, there has been a shift in the field and psychologists are now beginning to focus more on growth. Constructs which are found in posttraumatic growth include ruminative thinking about the traumatic event, positive social support to the victim and competency beliefs. A thematic analysis was done on the interviews which were transcribed and added to the research as an appendix. The analysis picked up on themes of trauma, justice, speaking out, choice, path, support and insight. These themes interacted and provided enough evidence to be able to say that posttraumatic growth is present in Foord’s life
North-West University, South Africa1
VIA signature strengths in a group of adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse in South Africa
The Values in Action Survey (VIA) was applied to assess signature character strengths in two groups of adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse after they had completed a collaborative strengths-based group intervention programme entitled Survivor to Thriver (S2T). The S2T intervention is based and embedded in a strengths-based approach aimed at enhancing resilience processes and posttraumatic growth outcomes in adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The VIA was included as a measure to assess the women’s strengths after participating in the intervention. Eleven women between the ages of 18 and 52 years, five black and six white, who were victims of contact childhood sexual abuse completed the survey online. The results were then discussed in a group intervention session and the following character strengths emerged: transcendence, temperance, courage, wisdom and justice. These character strengths connect with posttraumatic growth outcomes namely positive psychological change in the perception of self, improved relatedness with others and a positive change in their outlook of life. These strengths can be included in the recovery arsenal of these survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Martijn A. H. Oude Voshaar; Ernst T. Bohlmeijer; Gerben J. Westerhof
North-West University (NWU), Vaal Triangle Campus, Optentia Research Focus Area
University of Twente, Department of Psychology, Health and Technology
An RCT on a Positive Psychology Intervention for Lonely People with Health Problems
Rationale. The purpose of the presentation is to present the ‘Happiness Route’ intervention and its effects, to examine if a positive psychology intervention also works for vulnerable groups. The intervention aims to improve well-being rather than treating symptoms by satisfying the needs of autonomy, relatedness and competence.
Methods. We conducted a randomized, half-blind, active-controlled, parallel-group study. To be eligible, participants had to experience loneliness, suffer from health problems and have a low socio-economic status. Each group received a couple of home visits by a counsellor, where they were either supported in finding and acting on their passion (experimental group) or supported with their problems (control group). A questionnaire was filled in at baseline, after three and after nine months.
Results. In the study, 108 participants were included. Participants were severely lonely and had an average of three health problems. Less than 5% worked, almost 60% had a low education and nearly 70% had an extremely low income. No significant interaction between time and condition effect was found. The total score of the MHC-SF, emotional and social well-being, depression and loneliness improved significantly over the 9-month period in both conditions (p0.05), while other secondary outcomes did not change. Languishing decreased significantly only in the experimental condition. Happiness Route participants were significantly more satisfied with the intervention than the control group.
Conclusion. The Happiness Route proved as effective as a problem-based approach, but was preferred by participants. This implicates that positive psychology interventions seem to be an adequate alternative for vulnerable people.
Elmari Deacon1; David Segal1
North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, Optentia Research Focus Area1
Diabetes management behaviours and meaning-making: The young adult's sense making process of living with type 1 diabetes
Aim: To explore and develop a conceptual framework that encapsulate the meaning-making process of a young adult living with type 1 diabetes.
Background: Young adulthood is a complex developmental stage and can potentially impact negatively on the adoption, adherence to and persistence with diabetes management behaviours. Allowing for the personalised path of meaning-making towards living well with diabetes as the core interest of this study.
Design: Case study with multiple embedded units of analysis was applied.
Methods: Data was collected from a 25 year old participant through a mixed method approach, which consisted of a semi-structured interview and completion of questionnaires on the experience of living and managing type 1 diabetes.
Results / Findings: Individual clarification of the outcomes of the personalised diabetes management plan facilitated the behavioural change as well as the meaning-making process. A conceptual model based on the perceived processes was developed. The meaning-making model of Park (2010) translated well with the meaning-making model of the young adult.
Conclusion: Meaning-making is a dynamic process and findings support this approach. Young adult’ s diabetes education should highlight the importance of persistence with the diabetes management behaviours and making meaning of diverse life events in order to life successfully with diabetes. Young adults should be empowered to follow a personalised diabetes management plan, which may lead to improvement in diabetes outcomes, meaning made and psychological well-being.
Key words: Young adults, diabetes management behaviours, meaning, meaning-making, case study
Lusilda Schutte1; Christelle Liversage1
Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR), North-West University, South Africa
Embracing well-being in diverse contexts: The third wave of positive psychology
Positive Psychology (PP) as a discipline has expanded rapidly, new perspectives developed, old assumptions are challenged, and new questions emerged. The aim of this presentation is to argue with use of existing literature and linking of trends, that various phases of differentiation and integration of PP as a discipline can be distinguished and that a third wave is emerging posing again new challenges. The first wave of PP focused on advocating for the positive in human functioning and many facets of well-being were differentiated in theory and empirical studies. The second wave showed that PP needs to take negative facets of human life into account for understanding the nature and dynamics of well-being, and some more holistic and integrating theories emerged. The third wave of PP that we identify can be seen in the existing currents towards contextualization, interconnectedness and multi- and transdisciplinarity. Tendencies are noted for more differentiation across contexts, but also more integration across disciplines. This development towards embracing well-being in diverse contexts and from different disciplinary perspectives, opens up new horizons for understanding and promoting of well-being and health, but also poses new challenges for conceptual integration, cross-context measurement, as well as finding solutions for the existing tensions between research, practice and professionalization. Further disciplinary and transdisciplinary exploration is required on the qualities and patterns of health and well-being within and across contexts which can take us beyond the traditional subjective, hedonic, eudaimonic and quality of life perspectives.