Dynamics of context and psychological well-being : the role of subjective health perceptions, personality factors and spirituality
Temane, Qambeshile Michael
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There is a lacuna in the field of positive psychology as far as the conceptualisation of influences of environmental contexts on psychological well-being is concerned, and there is also a lack of credible empirical findings on the dynamics of processes involved. The aim of the current study was to test various models on the possible mediating role of subjective perceptions of health, personality factors and spirituality in the dynamics of context and psychological well-being. Psychological well-being was conceptualised and measured multi-dimensionally as defined from a general psychological well-being, hedonic, and eudaimonic perspective. Context was defined in terms of the historical stratification in South African society by socioeconomic differentials pertaining to race, socioeconomic indices and infrastructural resources. An availability sample of 5 14 participants from Potchefstroom (n=384) and Mafikeng (n=130) completed questionnaires on psychological well-being, subjective perceptions of health, personality factors and spirituality after informed consent was obtained. Psychological well-being was measured with the Affectometer 2 (Kammann & Flett, 1983), the Sense of Coherence Scale (Antonovsky, 1987) and Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Larsen and Griffin, 1985). General psychological well-being was defined and operationalised in terms of the degree of sense of coherence, satisfaction with life and affect balance; hedonic well-being in terms of the degree of satisfaction with life and affect balance, and eudaimonic well-being in terms of the degree of sense of coherence and satisfaction with life. Subjective perceptions of physical health was measure with the General Health Questionnaire of Goldberg and Hillier (1979); Agreeableness and Extraversion as personality factors with the NEO- Personality Inventory - Revised of Costa and McCrae (1992); and Spirituality with the Spiritual Well-being Scale of Paloutzian and Ellison's (1979). The findings indicate, firstly, that perceptions of physical health (article I), personality factors (article 2) and spirituality (article 3) mediate the relationship between contexts and psychological well-being. Secondly, that the hedonic model of psychological well-being (albeit variably conceptualised in article 1 and articles 2 and 3) overall, yielded the highest amounts of variance. Thirdly, the results also indicated differences among the two predominantly black and white samples in terms of the roles played by subjective perceptions of health, personality factors and spirituality in the relationship between contexts and psychological well-being. It is concluded that due consideration must be given to social context and the dynamics of interaction between social ecology and individual factors in order to make a meaningful contribution to the understanding and promotion of psychological well-being. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are indicated.
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