General self–efficacy as a moderator between stress and positive mental health in an African context
Redelinghuys, Jonathan Ronald
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The aim of this study was to explore whether general self–efficacy would moderate the relationship between stress and positive mental health in participants from an African context. Literature supported the concept that stress has a negative influence on mental health and that this interaction may be moderated by cognitive resources. General self–efficacy is a cognitive resource that may act as a moderator in the negative association between stress and positive mental health. Although general self–efficacy is thought to be a universal construct, little empirical research on it has been conducted in an African context. An African socio–cultural context is often described as more collectivistic and characterised by social harmony and interdependence. A sample of 1050 participants from both urban (n=451) and rural (n=599) settings completed Setswana versions of the four relevant questionnaires, i.e. the Mental Health Continuum - Short Form (MHC–SF, Keyes, 2006), used to measure positive mental health, the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ, Goldberg & Hillier, 1979), used to measure the experience of stress, the Generalized Self–Efficacy Scale (GSE, Jerusalem & Schwarzer, 1992) and the New General Self–Efficacy Scale (NGSE, Chen, Gully & Eden, 2001), both measuring general self–efficacy. Data were collected in a quantitative cross–sectional survey design with the aid of 16 trained bilingual (English and Setswana speaking) fieldworkers. Results showed negative correlations between the GHQ (SS, AS, SD, and DS) and MHC–SF (EWB, PWB, and SWB). Results indicated that general self–efficacy moderated the negative effect of manifestation of stress as shown by indices of psychological distress on emotional, psychological and social well–being. Thus, it is found that higher levels of self–efficacy are beneficial for the well–being of individuals in this African sample.
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