LOCUS OF CONTROL AND RESILIENCE AS PREDICTORS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING AMONG UNIVERSITY UNDERGRADUATES

LOCUS OF CONTROL AND RESILIENCE AS PREDICTORS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING AMONG UNIVERSITY UNDERGRADUATES

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Abstract

The study investigated Locus of Control and Resilience as determinants of Psychological Well-being among students. Two hundred and ten (210) participants made up of one hundred males (100) and one hundred and ten (110) females of first year and final year students were drawn from selected department in the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Ebonyi State University, using a purposive sampling technique. Their ages range from 18-29 years. The Subjective Well-Being Scale (SWBS) developed by Onyeizugbo (2011), The Locus of Control Behaviour Scale developed by Craig, Franklin and Andrews (1984) and The 14-Item Resilience Scale (RS-14) developed by Wagnild and Young (1993) were distributed to the participants which was used to generate data. A cross sectional design was used for the study and data analyzed with multiple regression statistics. Two alternate hypotheses were formulated and tested. The result showed that Locus of Control was weakly related to Psychological Well-Being while Resilience was strongly related to Psychological Well-Being at (r=.09, p<.05) and (r=.15, p<.001) respectively. Whereas on the part of the regression analysis, Locus of Control failed to determine Psychological Well-Being. However Resilience actually determined Psychological Well-Being. Therefore from the findings of this study, one could say that Resilience play a significant role in determining Psychological Well-Being.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

       The literature on psychological well-being has progressed rapidly since the emergence of the field over five years ago. As recent surveys show psychologists and other social scientists have taken huge steps in their understanding of the factors influencing psychological/subjective well-being. One formulation, traceable to Bradburns (1969) seminal work, distinguished between positive and negative affect and defined happiness as the balance between the two (Steel ,Piers, Schmidt, Joseph, Shultz & Jonas, 2008).

       Altogether, prior endeavours have grappled minimally with the core underlying question: What does it mean to be well psychologically?

       It is a question that has been pondered by philosophers and theologians for centuries, and now health psychologists are turning their spotlight to the question. They are doing that by investigating subjective well-being (psychological well-being), peoples evaluation of their lives in terms of both their thoughts and their emotions. Considered another way, psychological well.-being is the measure of how happy people are (Oishi & Diener, 2001; Diener, Lucas & Oishi, 2002).

       According to Diener (1997), these evaluations may be in the form of cognitions or in the form of affect. The cognitive part is an information based appraisal of ones life; that is when a person gives conscious evaluative judgments about ones satisfaction with life as a whole. The affective part is a hedonic evaluation guided by emotions and feelings such as frequency with which people experience pleasant/unpleasant moods in relation to their lives.

       Psychological well-being has its origin from Martin Seligmans concept of positive psychology, which has its purpose to use scientific understanding and effective interventions to aid a satVfactory life (Seligman, & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000; Seligman, 1998; Compton, 2005), rather than merely treating mental illness. In some sense, all medical and psychological interventions, as well as political, social and economic ones, aim at increasing peoples quality of life as one of their main objectives (Vazques, 2009). As a matter of fact, we make many of our everyday decisions by weighing up the degree of happiness to be reached by us or by our loved ones (Gilbert, 2006).

       Psychologists have understandably focused on well-being that is psychological or subjective (e.g. Diener, Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999). It is a state of good mental and emotional health. People who are well psychologically or healthy are free from mental disorders and have managed their stress so that it does not interfere with their ability to enjoy life and participate in society. As summarised by Huppert (2009) psychological well-being is about life going well. It is the combination of feeling good and functioning effectively. By definition therefore, people with high psychological well-being report feeling happy, capable, well-supported, and satisfied with life and so on. Hupperts review also claims the consequences of psychological well-being to include better physical health, mediated possibly by brain activation patterns, neorochemical effect and genetic factors.

       Psychological well-being specifically was widely advocated by psychologist Ryff (1989), according to her psychological well-being should be seen as consisting of six components. Each dimension posits a different challenge that people find in their effort to function positively (Keyes, Shomtkin, & Ryff, 2002; Ryff & Keyes, 1995). In combination these dimensions encompass a breath of wellness that includes positive evaluations of ones past life, an individuals satisfaction or happiness with himself and is thought to be necessary for good mental health (Shepard, 1979) (self-acceptance), a sense of continued growth and development as a person(personal growth) , the belief that ones life is purposeful and meaningful with others (positive relations with others), the capacity to manage effectively ones life and surrounding world (environmental mastery), and a sense of self determination (autonomy) ( Ryff,1989b,1995).

       It has been proven of the many benefits that can be derived from psychological well-being. In a very intensive study by Diener (2008) and his colleagues, people who scored high in psychological well-being later earned high income and performed better at work than people who score low in well being: it is also found to be related to physical health.

Psychological well-being is therefore valuable, not only because it assesses well-being more directly but it has beneficial consequences.

       Finally psychological well-being should not be confused with the question of whether or not you suffer from mental or emotional disorders. It concerns itself with the feelings of normal individuals, or subjects from the general population. When we talk about psychological well-being we are referring to how ordinary people are doing in life. Often life presents the individu3 with extraordinary challenges, complexities, setbacks and hardships. Psychological well-being (health) concerns itself with how you cope, how you find life to be interesting and enjoyable. Although life is better when we are feeling good, there is no avoiding the fact that there will be ups and downs. In the end psychological well-being is basically about How are you doing?

       According to Igbo in Onwuasoanya (2008) the ability to accept p changes and cope with different situations in life: to regain that sense of normalcy or psychological wellness after going through or encountering difficulties mark psychological balance or well-being. Psychological well-being depends on normal behaviours against abnormal behaviours. Therefore, to attain a reasonable level of psychological well being the individual should have overcome the problems of abnormal behaviours, (Ugoani & Ewuzie, 2013).

In this research two independent variables will be examined, which are locus of control and resilience.

Locus of Control

       Locus of control is based on the social learning theory of Rotter and the attribution theory of Heider (Schepers, 1995). The full name is locus of control of reinforcement             (Rotter, 1954). According to him, our behaviours are controlled by rewar and punishments, and that it was these consequences for our actions that determined our beliefs about the underlying causes for these actions. A locus of control orientation is a belief about whether the outcomes of our actions are contingent on what we do on event outside our personal control (Zimbardo, 1985). Our beliefs about what causes our actions then influence our behaviours and attitude a bearing on the outcomes of our lives.

       Rotter (1990) distinguished two extremes of this concept internals and externals. People with an internal locus of control believe that the outcomes of their action are a result of their own personal efforts (Andrisani & Nestel, 1976), abilities (Carrim, Basson & Coetzee, 2006), or permanent characteristics (Littunen & Storhammer, 2000). They believe that hard work and personal abilities lead to positive outcomes (Carrim et al, 2006). Thus these individuals interpret reinforcements they receive from their surroundings as contingent upon their own actions (Lee-Kelley, 2006) .This belief entails that they are masters of their fates (Boone, Van Olfen & Van Witheloostuijin, 2005).

       On the contrary, people with an external locus of control believe that their own actions are dependent on factors outside their personal control (Landy & Contre, 2004; Martin, Thomas, Charles, Epitropaki & McNamara, 2005). The consequences of behaviour are randomly administered, and are thought to be controlled by outside forces (Connally, 1980; Marsh & Weary,

1995). Rotter himself had suggested four types of beliefs, which include: powerful others luck or chance, fate, and a belief that the world is too complex to be predicted (Marks, 1998). Externals are reluctant to change behaviour as they do not see it as a primary source for altering reinforcements. Even in the case of positive reinforcement the credit may not be taken personally but reflected upon ease of task, luck or on a powerful hand by a powerful other (Hyatt & Prawitt, 2001) However it cannot be said that internality is good while externality is bad, which orientation one takes has a bearing on his/her long term success and well-being.

       In addition to the internal and external locus of control expectancy, the concept of dual control entails a mix of internality and externality within an individual (Torun & April, 2006). How these expectancies coexist is not completely understood (Connoly, 1980), but it can be expected that a combination of internal and external expectancies in different specific situations of an individual can lead to a generalised expectancy that is bi-local. Wong and Sproule (1984) state              bi-locals cope more efficiently by having a mix of internal control (personal responsibility) and external control (faith in outside resources) however this view is not predominant in academic literature, where the majority of the authors present a preference towards internality for individual accomplishment and leadership.

       Locus of control is a common criterion used for distinguishing wellness (Bradburn, 1969). Research by Phillips (1980), Reker (1977), Yarnell (1971), and Sammon, Reznikoff, Geisenger, (1985) indicated a positive correlation between internal locus of control and psychological well-being. Individuals who are psychologically well have an enduring sense of personal control (Adams, Bezner, Drabbs, Zambarano, & Steinhardt, 2000). Witmer and Sweeny (1992) pointed out that individuals with a sense of inner control are likely to collect information about disease and health maintenance to enable them to improve health habits and implement effective care.

Resilience

       Germezy (1973) published the first research findings on resilience. He used epidemiology, which is the study of who gets ill, who does not, and why, to uncover the risks and the protective factors that now help define resilience. In Mastens (1989) study, the results showed that children with a schizophrenic parent may not obtain comforting care giving compared to children with healthy parents, and such situations had an impact on childrens development.

       Often the consequences of anxiety, loneliness, stress; depression, academic performance, underachievement, issues with friends and family, vulnerability to drug and alcohol misuse and other non productive, self destructive behaviour can be significantly reduced if a person has a tendency to rapidly cope with these negative effects. Resilience refers to the ability to bounce back from stressful experiences quickly and effectively while also being able to return to the original level of emotional well-being after facing times of adversities (Noble & McGrath, 2005; Carver, 1998). According to Zautra, Hall and Murray, (2010), resilience is successful adaptation to adversity (Yu & Zhang, 2007; Ye ,Ho, Cheung & Cheung, 2010; Carver, Schemer & Segerstrom, 2010; Karademas, 2006). Yates and Masten, (2004) have observed that many children after having faced adverse experiences were able to return to the normal state of psychological well-being. People high in resilience are also, seen as more optimistic when confronted with situations of adversities which in turn lead to a higher psychological well-being (Rutter, 2006).

       According to Rutter (1987), resilience is a set of protective factors, that modify, ameliorate, or alter a persons response to a maladaptive outcome. Braddock (1991) employed the term in a similarly general way by conceptualizing resilience as an individuals positive response to situations of stress and adversity. In general, resilient persons are believed to possess the quality of rebounding and carrying on, an ability to bounce back and get on with life after adversity (Dyer & McGuinness, 1996; Richardson, Neiger, Jensen, & Kumpfer, 1990).

       Most researches now show that resilience is the result of individuals being able to interact with their environment and the processes that either promote or protect them against the overwhelming influence of risk factors (Zautra, Hall, & Murray, 2010). These processes may be individual coping strategies, or may he helped by good families, schools, communities and social policies that make resilience more likely to occur (Lead beater, Dodgen, & Solarz, 2005).

       The relationship between students locus of control orientation and resilience has been duly proven by studies (Christopher & Kulig, 2000). For university students, resilience is most important, as life at university can be complex and demanding, requiring the capacity to cope with the academic/coursework demands, study/life balance, finances and money problems. As a result they experience increased levels of mental ill health compare to their non-university peers (Stallman, 2010). Locus of control on the other hand has been linked to many developmental outcomes among adolescents like self esteem, school satisfaction, and levels of perceived stress. Conceivably, students who experience higher levels of positive well-being will miss fewer days of school and show icreased productivity and creativity while at school. In fact, studies do show that hope, which is associated with life satisfaction and positive well-being (Gilman, Dooley, & Florell 2006), is linked to increased academic success (Marques, Lopez, & Pais-Ribeiro, 2011).

Statement of Problem

       Akintayo (2012) conducted a survey on occupational stress, psychological well-being and workers behaviour in manufacturing industries in South-West Nigeria. Using a total of 435 respondents, the finding of the study revealed that there was a significant influence of occupational stress on psychological well-being and workers behaviour. However, although the study utilised a large sample, they were only drawn from the South-Western part of the country, instead of the entire six geopolitical zones which make up the country. As

a result, the finding can only be generalised on the group studied. Also all data were based on self-report, as causality cannot be determined since it was not subjected to experimental observation.

       Based on this the following questions will be addressed:

1. Will locus of control determine psychological well-being among university students?

2. Will resilience determine psychological well-being among university students?

Purpose of Study

1. To know whether locus of control will determine psychological well-being among students.

2. To investigate whether resilience will determine psychological well-being among university students.

Operational Definition of Terms

Locus of control: Is the belief a person has about the outcomes of events and his ability to control events or circumstances he encounters in life.

Resilience: This is the process whereby individuals are able to adjust positively after experiencing adversity or stressful situations. Resilient people recover quickly from adversities of life.

Psychological well-being: A state of optimal mental and emotional functioning and satisfaction with ones life, it also entails how happy people are with their life.





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