The effect of the Lifeplan® programme on the psychological well–being of a rural community in South Africa
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This study explored the effect of the Lifeplan® programme, an Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR) initiative, on the psychological well–being of the rural community of Taung, in the North West Province of South Africa. A mixed method sequential explanatory research design was followed where quantitative data were obtained in a pre– and post–evaluation phase. Participants were adult individuals (N=99) between the ages of 20 and 83 years, with a mean age of 43 years, living within six rural towns in the Taung community. Participants were randomly divided into an experimental group (n=47) and a control group (n=52). Four standardised scales, the General Psychological Well–being Scale (GPWS) (Khumalo, Temane, & Wissing, 2010), the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ–9) (Kroenke, & Spitzer, 2002), the Coping Self–Efficacy Scale (CSE) (Chesney, Neilands, Chambers, Taylor, & Folkman, 2006), and the Mental Health Continuum - Short Form (MHC–SF) (Keyes, 2006; Keyes, Wissing, Potgieter, Temane, Kruger, & van Rooy, 2008), validated for use in a Setswana–speaking group, were administered to measure psychological well–being. Qualitative data were obtained through conducting semi–structured interviews with a simple random sample of 30 participants three months after presentation of the programme. The quantitative findings reflected a small increase in the general psychological and emotional well–being of the experimental group. Between–group comparisons showed small practical significant differences (d=0.19 - 0.40) in the experimental group on most of the measuring instruments. Qualitative results suggest that the participants in this study experienced the Lifeplan® programme as educational, and contributing positively towards their general well–being. Participants felt that they have become more attentive to their health needs especially through exercise, a healthier diet and better attendance to overall hygiene. Suggestions for further research and possible programme interventions include a follow–up study to evaluate the sustainability of skills obtained and changes made as a result of the Lifeplan® programme.
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