Saturday, May 24, 2008

Emotional Well-being and Disadvantage: Concepts, Methods & Change Process Models

Presentation for University of Strathclyde, Faculty of Education Research Event, 22 May 2008.

Definition of Well-Being
American Heritage Dictionary: The state of being healthy, happy, or prosperous; welfare.
Related concepts:
•Quality of Life
•Life satisfaction

Emotional Well-being and Disadvantage
•Economists define well-being in economic terms
•e.g., use GDP as measure of Well-being
•This essentially defines disadvantage as negative well-being
•cf. social/economic models of psychological dysfunction
•Two-way street: Disadvantage vs. “Downward drift”

Types of Well-being
•Economic prosperity
•Physical well-being: health
•Emotional well-being: happiness
•Spiritual well-being

Relation between Emotional Well-Being and Psychological Dysfunction
•Medical vs. social models of psychological dysfunction
•Positive vs. negative well-being
•Positive: happiness
•Negative: psychological distress
•Relevance of Positive Psychology movement

POMP 4 - Version: February 26, 2003 (US Administration on Aging)

Please answer each question by filling in the blank or checking a box:
1. During the past 30 days, for about how many days have you felt sad, blue,
or depressed?
|__|__| days
2. During the past 30 days, for about how many days have you felt worried,
tense, or anxious?
|__|__| days
3. During the past 30 days, for about how many days have you felt you did not
get enough rest or sleep?
|__|__| days
4. During the past 30 days, for about how many days have you felt very
healthy and full of energy?
|__|__| days
5. In general, how would you describe your emotional well-being?
1 Excellent
2 Very Good
3 Good
4 Fair
5 Poor

Well-Being Measures: CORE-Outcome Measure
Rating Scale: 0 Not at all 1 Only Occasionally 3 Sometimes
4 Often 5 Most or all of the time
4. I have felt OK about myself.
14. I have felt like crying.
17. I have felt overwhelmed by my problems.
31. I have felt optimistic about my future.

What is the relationship between Improvement in Well-being and Other kinds of Change?
Three Phase Model of Psychotherapeutic Change (Howard et al.)
1. Remoralization: Increase in Positive Subjective Well-Being =>
2. Remediation: Decrease in Problems/symptom Distress =>
3. Rehabilitation: Improved Life Functioning (role responsibilities, relationships, work, self-esteem)

Kahneman’s Model of Well-Being (adapted)
•Nobel Prize-winner
1. Context
(a) Economic advantage/disadvantage Û interacts with:
(b) Personal disadvantage/psychological injury (trauma, loss, hassles, stress)
=> allows/constrains:
2. Activities: Use of time (pleasurable vs. unpleasant activities) => activates:
3. Emotions: Positive vs. negative (especially depression, anxiety) => leads to self-reflection on:
4. Life satisfaction (assess by elicited judgements; spontaneous thoughts, including recurrent worries)

Well-Being Model Suggests different ways to intervene:
•Improve economic conditions
•Treat psychological causes: injury or stress (e.g., trauma-focused therapy; stress reduction/self-soothing)
•Change activities (less time doing unpleasant things; more time doing pleasurable things; behavior therapy)
•Treat emotional distress: provide emotional support (e.g., person-centred counselling/therapy: offer empathy, warmth, genuine contact); understand/restructure depression, anxiety (e.g., emotion-focused therapy); medication
•Restructure self-reflections (e.g., cognitive therapy; positive thinking)

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