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Enhancing resilience, wellbeing and optimism through narrative imagination of the future and the interrelationship of the concepts with coping.

Schröder, M.S. (2016) Enhancing resilience, wellbeing and optimism through narrative imagination of the future and the interrelationship of the concepts with coping.

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Abstract:The present study explores two different assumptions. First, the role of future letters as means to enhance resilience, wellbeing and optimism is investigated. The future holds a huge amount of opportunities and uncertainties, and is often regarded as demanding. Confronting the future with a positive picture in mind makes individuals mentally flexible and decreases individual stress levels when facing the future. The effective dealing with uncertainty and stress signifies key aspects of wellbeing, optimism and resilience. Within the literature, the narrative imagination technique of writing letters from the future involves the capacity to imagine the future and is often shown to increase levels of optimism and wellbeing. However, the evidence concerning the imaginative capacity and resilience is only theoretically given. Second, the concept of coping and its relation with resilience, wellbeing and optimism is examined. High scores on the three concepts are assumed to relate to high scores on problem focused coping and to low scores on avoidance coping. According to literature, coping as an important factor regarding effective stress management and is clearly related to the three main concepts. Coping is assumed to serve as underlying factor regarding the amount of resilience, wellbeing and optimism which is displayed by an individual. Clarifying the relationship leads to new insights and to a better understanding of the three concepts. A two week intervention was constructed to investigate these two assumptions. In the beginning, respondents had to answer questionnaires, measuring resilience (BRS), wellbeing (MHC-SF) and optimism (LOT-R). After that, respondents were assigned to a condition; experimental group one, experimental group two or control group. The first experimental group contained the writing of four future letters, the second group involves the writing of one future letter, and the control group included the writing of one past letter. In the third phase, respondents had to answer the questionnaires again; additionally a questionnaire measuring coping style (UCL) was given to the respondents. Future letters do not account for increases in resilience, wellbeing and optimism, as revealed by the statistical analysis. The future letter conditions do not lead to higher score increases compared to the past letter condition. The first assumption has to be rejected. Although the assigned condition does not account for increases, additional analysis revealed that optimism scores increased during the study. Levels of optimism are affected by future as well as by past letters. The increase in scores, only found for optimism, indicates that optimism is more likely to increase compared to wellbeing and resilience. The high dropout rates during the study can be hold as an explanation for the falsification of the first assumption. Due to technical and procedural problems, more than the half of the respondents had to be excluded from analysis. A huger sample size per condition increases the likelihood to find significant differences between the three intervention groups. The second assumption is partially verified. Respondents with high scores on resilience, wellbeing and/ or optimism also display high scores on problem focused coping. Although low scores on avoidance coping are not found, low scores on passive reaction coping are found, capturing aspects of avoidance. This indicates that high amounts of resilience, wellbeing and optimism are linked to a higher tendency to use problem focused coping. The tendency to use passive reaction coping is, on the other hand, lower when high amounts of resilience, wellbeing and optimism are present. High scores on the three measures predict the use of more adequate coping strategies. Future research should further investigate the impact of future imagination on resilience, wellbeing and optimism and should additionally explore the relation of the concepts with different coping strategies.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/70029
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