Resilience during adolescence: conceptual structure and intervention opportunities

Field, A 2016, Resilience during adolescence: conceptual structure and intervention opportunities, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Health Sciences, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Resilience during adolescence: conceptual structure and intervention opportunities
Author(s) Field, A
Year 2016
Abstract Toward the improvement of adolescent mental health, the central focus of past psychological research has been the identification of disease and investigation of risk factors that have a negative impact on human functioning (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). The field of psychology, and society at large, has benefited from the disease focused research; we now have a better understanding of the prevalence rates, underlying causes, and intervention opportunities for many mental illnesses. However, as a consequence, predictors of positive functioning, or wellbeing, has only recently become a focus in psychological research over the last decade or so, particularly as they relate to adolescence (Park, 2004). More recently, positive psychological functioning and wellbeing, as both process and outcome, have been acknowledged as important determinants of overall mental health and susceptibility to pathology during adolescence and beyond (Caprara, Steca, Gerbino, Pacielloi, & Vecchio, 2006; Fava & Tomba, 2009; Park, 2004). Given the relative paucity of research on adolescent wellbeing and its determinants, the overall aim of the two current studies was to further elaborate the structure and predictors of adolescent wellbeing using a resilience-based theoretical framework. More specifically, the objectives of the two current studies were to (1) evaluate a theoretical model of adolescent resilience and wellbeing guided by past research; and (2) investigate whether an existing adolescent resilience program (SenseAbility) influenced the resiliency processes and resilience outcome variables from the theoretical model noted above. In relation to Study One, the findings supported the three oblique first-order factor model of subjective wellbeing (SWB) but were unable to support the theoretical six oblique first-order factor model of psychological wellbeing. The current research also provided cross-sectional support for a number of resilience assets and resources that promote adolescent SWB (e.g., Ryff’s environmental mastery domain, school connectedness, and lower use of voluntary disengagement coping style). Future research needs to replicate the methodology of Study One with a longitudinal design and valid measures of wellbeing. Further work on the structure and predictors of adolescent wellbeing using a resilience-based theoretical framework will inform governments of the specific aspects of wellbeing that need to be of focus for policies on intervention opportunities for adolescents. In relation to Study Two, the program evaluation findings are perhaps best broadly characterised as largely non-significant. For instance, intervention effects for the whole sample were non-significant across the underlying SWB domains, resilience assets, and resources. Furthermore, effect sizes were generally below .2, indicating small effect. Given baseline levels of SWB and resilience factors were already reasonably normative, there was potentially less opportunity to statistically reveal any potential impact of the program. As a result, sub-group analysis based on pre-intervention levels of SWB was undertaken; however, similar to analyses conducted with the whole sample, the findings were largely non-significant. Key directions for future research included (1) addressing the current limitations in program content and delivery prior to future evaluations; (2) including longer follow-up phases to capture whether intervention group participants do in fact use the strategies taught once faced with a stressful encounter; and (3) conducting additional sub-group analyses (e.g., explore whether the program was more effective for those experiencing higher than average levels of cumulative stress at pre-intervention).
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Health Sciences
Subjects Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Psychological Methodology, Design and Analysis
Keyword(s) Subjective wellbeing
Psychological wellbeing
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Created: Mon, 22 Aug 2016, 12:58:38 EST by Keely Chapman
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