Predicted pathways to resilience and successful living: hope, compassion and self-regulation
thesisposted on 2022-03-29, 03:16 authored by Pauline Maree Sampson
Given the rising cost of mental illness, there is a clear need for evidence-based models of wellbeing to guide therapy and community interventions. Franklin (2006, 2009) has proposed a developmental model of success and happiness that incorporates four higher order domains; Goal motivated adaptive learning skills, Personal, People and Work-life skills. The first major aim of this research was to test Franklin's model. It was beyond the scope of this study to test all possible constructs proposed at each level. Therefore, the selection of constructs to test was guided by positive psychology research, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and empirical evidence demonstrating that the skills underlying the construct could be developed. Constructs conceptualised to belong to the Goal motivated adaptive learning domain included hope, psychological flexibility, curiosity and mindfulness. Those within the Personal skills level included self esteem, self compassion and self control. Finally, constructs tested at the People skills level included interpersonal competence, empathic concern and perspective taking. -- To determine the applicability of the selected constructs for the model in predicting psychological wellbeing and distress, correlational analyses revealed that, with some exceptions, most constructs were positively associated with psychological wellbeing and negatively associated with psychological distress. Further confirmation of their applicability was gained from testing their discriminant validity. -- Franklin's model was tested via structural equation modelling, comparing the model's predicted variance-covariance structure to that observed in the sample, i.e. testing how well the model fits the observed data. The results suggest that while the model broadly reproduced both measurement and structural elements of the data, it failed in significant detail with no model fit metric being satisfactory without modification of model detail. -- Hierarchical multiple regression of each outcome supported the hypothesized incremental validity of the levels of Franklin's model from lower to higher order skills with each higher level explaining statistically significant additional variance above lower levels. As would be predicted by the model, goal motivated adaptive learning explained the most variance in all outcomes. However, while these findings broadly support the structure of Franklin's model, it was also found that if the hierarchy was completely ignored through backwards stepwise regression the statistically significant predictive variables were generally unchanged. This argues against the importance of the level hierarchy of the model. -- Regression modelling supported the primacy of goal motivated adaptive learning and to a lesser degree personal skills as being important to all psychological wellbeing and distress outcomes. The evidence in support of the final level, people skills, was both weaker and less consistent across both analysis approaches (hierarchical and backwards stepwise) and outcomes. -- The second major aim of this research was to examine the relative importance of the selected skills in promoting wellbeing as measured by self-report of happiness, life satisfaction, relationship satisfaction and resilience; as well as buffering against psychological distress measured by depression, anxiety and stress. -- Reviewing the relative importance of each skill, generally the Agency component of hope was the major contributor to psychological wellbeing outcomes and in buffering depression. The Action component of psychological flexibility was a strong contributor to resilience and buffering psychological distress. Self esteem and two components of self compassion - Isolation and Overidentification were relevant. Isolation was a strong contributor to the prediction of wellbeing and depression whereas Overidentification was a strong contributor in the prediction of anxiety and stress. The only consistent contributor at the people skills level was the Initiation component of interpersonal competence in predicting resilience. These findings suggest a more parsimonious model for the prediction of global levels of psychological wellbeing and distress incorporates the Adaptive learning constructs of hope and psychological flexibility, and the Personal skill constructs of self esteem and self compassion. A model revised along these lines would need further validation however Franklin's model does offer a constructive avenue for future research and prioritisation of skills to promote wellbeing and resilience.