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Resist the temptation : an interview study to explore and validate measures of psychotherapy clients’ self-control

Schankweiler, D.A. (2022) Resist the temptation : an interview study to explore and validate measures of psychotherapy clients’ self-control.

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Abstract:Background. Self-control is an important factor in the aetiology, maintenance, and treatment of psychiatric disorders. In understanding how self-control failure affects mental health issues and psychotherapeutic success, state self-control remained understudied and lacks appropriate measures. The Experience Sampling Method (ESM) is a promising approach to study state self-control. For the understanding the relationship between psychiatric disorders and the development of ESM items, the lay beliefs of psychotherapy clients are important to consider. Objective. This qualitative study explored self-control concepts of people who are diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and receive outpatient psychotherapeutic care. Furthermore, the study evaluated the face validity of seven novel ESM items designed to measure state self-control to assess the usability with this target group. Methods. Five psychotherapy clients were included from a psychotherapeutic care centre in Germany via purposive sampling. Two-part interviews were conducted, (1) using an unstructured brainstorming session to explore self-control beliefs and (2) using a semi-structured protocol to evaluate face validity of the items. Content and thematic analysis was administered with an (1) inductive and (2) deductive approach for the different parts. Results. Participants identified several life domains that required self-control and conceptualized selfcontrol as behavioural and emotional control, reflective thought, and distinct from willpower. Most ESM items were consistently feasible and clearly formulated and only sometimes evoked unintended associations. One item required adjustments. Discussion. In line with previous research, participants consistently associated self-control with positive effects on several life domains and individual differences showed in the emphasis of specific self-control domains. Findings indicate that the concepts of inhibitory self-control and self-control as an interpersonal skill are highly salient for psychotherapy clients, whereas, the distinction between trait and state self-control was an underrepresented aspect. The ESM items were evaluated as usable with psychotherapy clients and the results provide general insight into the formulation of ESM items. Keywords: Self-control, willpower, qualitative, psychotherapy, psychiatric disorders
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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