University of Twente Student Theses


The Different Effects of Temporal Orientation on Optimism and Life Satisfaction in the Relationship between a Best Possible Self Intervention and Well-Being

Kühn, A. (2021) The Different Effects of Temporal Orientation on Optimism and Life Satisfaction in the Relationship between a Best Possible Self Intervention and Well-Being.

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Abstract:Background. BPS interventions are defined as a future-oriented exercise, while it is still unknown whether the future time frame is responsible for the beneficial effects on well-being (Carillo et al., 2020). Different temporal orientations can be attributed to positive emotions, which BPS exercises aim to increase: Research has related life satisfaction as a positive emotion to the past, and optimism to a future timeframe (Seligman, 2004). In this sense and with respect to traditional research on the difference between past and future selves (Berntsen & Bohn, 2010; Westerhof & Bohlmeijer, 2012; Sools et al., 2015), a past, as well as future temporal orientation should be respected when studying the efficacy of BPS interventions. Aim. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a past and future BPS intervention over a control condition. Central to this work was to explore the association between a past BPS-condition and well-being as mediated by life satisfaction and the association between the future BPS-condition and well-being as mediated by optimism. Methods. This study used a randomized controlled trial, allocating a sample of 290 participants to either a past (n = 100), future (n = 95) or a control (n = 95) BPS-condition. The two-week intervention was delivered via a guided mobile application. Participants in the BPS-future condition imagined their future BPS across different domains for two weeks. Participants in the BPS-past condition visualized their best version of themselves in the past for the first week, while in the second week, they were guided in imagining their future BPS. Participants in the control condition visualized their activities from the last 24 hours. Outcome measures were well-being, life satisfaction, and optimism, assessed at baseline, during, and after the intervention. Results. Outcomes of RM-ANOVA revealed significant increases in well-being, life satisfaction, and optimism over time compared to baseline measures. No significant differences emerged between the conditions. PROCESS mediation analysis showed that neither life satisfaction nor optimism mediated the association between the past vs. future BPS-condition and well-being. Conclusion. This study extends previous work by giving insights into the working mechanisms of an app-delivered BPS intervention. The nonsignificant differences between the past and future BPS in increasing optimism and life satisfaction, justify the absence of the expected mediation effects. Following, the processes of building a past and future BPS may interrelate (Addis et al., 2007) and equally contribute to people’s well-being by promoting optimism and life satisfaction.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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