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The role of counselor behaviors in e-mail support to improve mental well-being

Wilpsbäumer, S. (2017) The role of counselor behaviors in e-mail support to improve mental well-being.

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Abstract:Background Positive psychology aims to improve mental well-being as well as to prevent psychological pathology and is increasingly offered via the internet. Online guided self-help interventions have been proven more efficacious than interventions without counselor support, but uncertainty about effective components of the support remains. The aim of this study is to identify counselor behaviors in the e-mail support of the self-help intervention This is Your Life and the relationship between the counselor behaviors and an increase in mental well-being as well as six mental well-being components. Method This study uses data from a previous RCT by Schotanus-Dijkstra et al. (2015) about the effectivity of a multicomponent positive psychology intervention. A subsample of 92 participants treated by four counselors who sent 796 e-mails was investigated by using a qualitative content analysis. The relationships between the counselor behaviors and the outcome measures were determined using quantitative analyses. Results 13 counselor behaviors could be identified of which positive reinforcement, paraphrasing and improve working relationship were the most frequent. The counselor behaviors were not related to an increase in mental well-being but to an increase in some mental well-being components. Encourage is the only behavior that significantly correlated with two outcome measures, the use of strengths and self-compassion. The mental well-being component use of strengths had most of the significant correlations with counselor behaviors. All significant correlations were found to be weak. Conclusion The identified counselor behaviors seem to have little additional impact on the effectivity of the self-help intervention to increase mental well-being and its components. Future research can use these findings by comparing different forms of online support to determine the additional value of e-mail counseling for the effectivity of positive psychology interventions.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/73638
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