Effectiveness of positive psychology training in the increase of hardiness of female headed households

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1 Effectiveness of positive psychology training in the increase of hardiness of female headed households 1,2, Ghodsi Ahghar* 3 1.Department of counseling, Khozestan Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran 2. Department of counseling, Ahvaz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran 3.Faculty Member of Islamic Azad University, Science And Research Branch, Tehran, Iran *Corresponding Author: ABSTRACT The present research was carried out to assess the effectiveness of positive psychology training in the increase of psychological hardiness of female headed households. The statistical population included all the women covered by the women s affair bureau of the 12 th borough of municipality. This research employs a semi-experimental method with pre-test, post-test and control groups. First, psychological hardiness questionnaire was administered on 70 women heading their households and women whose scores were lower than the average were screened out of which 30 persons were randomly selected and assigned to two equal groups (N=15). The independent variable (positive psychology training) was administered for the experimental group for minute sessions. Findings analyzed by betweengroup covariance analysis indicated that, positive psychology training was effective in the psychological hardiness of women heading their households and it increased their hardiness. Keywords: Positive Psychological Training, Psychological Hardiness, Household Women. INTRODUCTION Positive psychology approach has been in the lime light of the researchers as an approach that sheds light on human s abilities and capacities instead of focusing on abnormalities and disorders. Positive psychology is a new movement in psychology that lays the emphasis on establishing and expanding positive emotions in order to make a shield against mental disorders and increase the wellbeing and happiness. This approach emphasize on identifying the constructs and appreciating and recognizing the abilities that provide for human s health and happiness. The theoretical foundation of positive psychology takes its root from the works of Seligman. He asserts that, happiness is enjoyable, meaningful and commitment-based life. Experiencing positive emotions that is emphasized by positive psychology helps in having better ability for adjustment and hardiness to encounter with life problems (Foroughi, 2011). Implication of positive interventions aims to increase life quality, life satisfaction, happiness, mental health, wellbeing and hardiness (Joseph and Linely, 2006). Results of the research by Kord (2009) indicated that, interventions based on positive psychology are effective in the increase of hardiness. In the recent years, hardiness has been in the lime light as one of the mediating factors of the effect of stress and psychosomatic illnesses on health. According to Kobasa (2000) the effects of hardiness on mental health are transferred by coping and evaluative mechanisms (Nasiri, 2010). Kobasa et al (2000) indicate that, hardiness is related to the tendency to perceive potential stressful events as to be less stressful (Nasiri, 2010). Kobasa and Maddi (2002) consider hardiness as a personality construct that includes three main components including commitment, control and demanding the challenge. Individuals who have hardiness are more committed to what they do and devote themselves to their goal (commitment); they feel that, they have mastery over the situation and can

2 determine their condition (control); and consider the life changes as challenges and opportunities for growth and progress not limitation and threat (Kobasa, 2002). Individuals, who are strong in commitment consider the upcoming condition as the best opportunity and make it into an important and instructive piece of experience and get involved with it instead of resignation. They believe that, they can influence their surrounding condition instead of being influenced by it. Individuals who are strong in demanding the challenges believe that, accomplishment is not easily achieved but it is a product of wisdom which is gained through positive and negative experience (Maddi et al, 2002). Many theorists believe that, three components of hardiness can affect the individual s vulnerability in encountering with stressful conditions (Jomehri, 2002). Kobasa (2002) suggests that, individual s feeling of cohesion is the most important predictor which is related to psychological wellbeing. This cohesion includes strong and dynamic feelings of trust that an individual has toward the internal and external environment and can logically predict the events based on them. Kobasa et al (2002) assert that, childhood experience and interaction with parents and important others can give rise to the establishment of a personality with high degree of hardiness. Maddi and Kobasa concluded that, hardiness is mainly an acquired characteristic (Cobasa and Maddi, 2002). Hardiness beliefs can have a protective role because they decrease the stressful nature of the events and eliminate the effect of stressful factors which influence the mental health (Kobasa, 2002). Individual s belief about self can act as mediating variables in relation with stress and distress. The results of the previous research show that, stressful stimuli have less negative effects when the individuals have a positive image of self (, 2000; cited in Farahani, 2012). The research aims to provide an answer for this question that, whether or not positive psychology increases the hardiness of female households? Method and materials The present research employed an interventional method. The statistical population included all the women covered by the women s affair bureau of the 12 th borough of municipality. This research employs a semi-experimental method with pre-test, post-test and control groups. First, psychological hardiness questionnaire was administered on 70 women heading their households and women whose scores were lower than the average were screened out of which 30 persons were randomly selected and assigned to two equal groups (N=15). The experimental group received fourteen 90- minute sessions while the control group didn t receive any training. The reliability coefficient of Kobasa hardiness questionnaire was.89. Results and findings First, descriptive statistics was used and the obtained data have been presented in the related tables. In the second part, statistical analysis was used. In order to analyze the research s main hypothesis, between-group covariance analysis was used. Table 1- mean and standard deviation of the subscales of psychological hardiness in the experimental and control groups and in the pre-test and post-test Subscales of Experimental Group Control Group Psychological Pre-Test Post-Test Pre-Test hardiness Mean S.D Mean S.D Mean S.D Taking challenge Commitment Control Hardiness As observed in table 1, the scores of the subscales of psychological hardiness are different between the members of the experimental and control groups and subsequent to the employment of positive psychology training. The mean of all the aspects and subscales of hardiness of the experimental group has increased in the post test and subsequent to receiving positive psychology training. As observed, the score of pretest and posttest of the control group does not differ and is relatively the same. 453

3 In order to analyze the research hypothesis, between-group covariance analysis was used with regard to the nature of the research. Prior to this, the results of the Levene s test have been reported for the assumption of the variance equality. Table 2- results of the Levene s test for the variance of the subjects scores Variable Coefficient F P coefficient Hardiness Results of table 2 indicate that, F coefficient is not significant at.05 (P>.05); therefore, the equality of the variance is confirmed. Moreover, with regard to the observance of other assumptions (linear and homogeneity of slopes), between-group covariance analysis was used to analyze the data. Analysis of the research main hypothesis Positive psychology training is effective in the increases of hardiness and its aspects (commitment, control and taking the challenge) among the women who head the households Table 3- Results of covariance analysis of positive psychology training in the increase of hardiness and its aspects among women who head the households ariable SS Df MS F P Eta Statistical Coefficient Sig. square power Commitment(pretest) Group Error Total Control (pretest) Group Error Total Taking the challenge (pretest) Group Error Total Hardiness (pretest) Group Error Total With regard to the data presented in table 4 and based on the results of covariance analysis, positive psychology training was significantly effective in the increase of hardiness and its aspects (commitment, control and taking the challenge) among the women who head the households. Moreover, the degree of this difference or Eta square for commitment, control, taking the challenge and hardiness is equal to.319,.309,.918 and.451, respectively. Moreover, the statistical power for the above mentioned aspects was equal to.929,.918,.914 and.941, respectively. Therefore, the results indicate that, positive psychology training was effective in the increase of hardiness and its aspects (commitment, control and taking the challenge) among the household women and has increased their hardiness. Therefore, the research hypothesis is confirmed. Discussion and conclusion The research literature indicated that, positive psychology training was effective in the increase of hardiness and its aspects (commitment, control and taking the challenge) among the women who head their households. Previous research indicated that, group intervention and trainings such as positive psychology training could positively affect the behaviors and constructs such as hardiness, resilience and life satisfaction and can also affect other disorders and behavioral problems such as mental pressures, maladjustment, marital satisfaction and also the level of addiction. 454

4 Moreover, such interventions can enhance the level of mental health among the individuals. In explaining the research findings in terms of positive psychology training and its role, we can conclude that, the main aim of positive psychology is to employ a perspective of desirable performance and implications that can lead to the improvement of individuals and other family members. This psychology collects a body of evidence that present applied exercises and behaviors for improving the real life. What is beneficial is not the strategies employed by normal individuals in confronting with their life problems but it is the strategies and beliefs employed by healthy individuals which are also emphasized by positive psychology. Therefore, this approach lays emphasis on recognizing the constructs and abilities that lead to the enhancement of health and happiness of individuals. Moreover, form an experimental point of view; it is a valid approach in psychology that increases the meaning in individuals life in order to increase their happiness and decrease their mental pathologies and harms. In fact, experiencing a positive emotion that is emphasized by positive psychology leads to being better able to adjust and resist against life problems. Employment of positive interventions aims to increase life quality, life satisfaction, happiness, mental health, wellbeing and hardiness. Furthermore, in addition to all the positive points of positive psychology, such interventions can positively affect women who are responsible for their family for one reason and another. Creating positive personality and feelings can directly or indirectly decrease the pain and neutralize their root causes. On the other hand, hardiness beliefs can also have a protective role for such women because they decrease the stressful nature of the events and eliminate the influence of stressful factors. Hardiness is one of the factors that prevent distress by inhibiting the emotions. Moreover, it is a personality characteristic that is considered as an enhancing factor of health. In fact, it is a combination of beliefs about the self and the world that immunize the individual versus internal and external pressures. In fact, this characteristic is the ability to adequately and properly process the internal and external stimuli. Healthy individuals who have an appropriate level of hardiness feel committed to their behaviors and actions and assert that, life events are predictable and can be controlled. They think that, change in life and need to adjust is an opportunity for more growth instead of a threat for life. Therefore, it can be concluded that, individuals who use the change chain to move form adversity to happiness benefit the highest from such therapeutic programs and as a result, positive issues in positive psychology like healthy family, healthy work environment, etc. can be considered as effective in having citizens who have positive attitudes. Along with the results of the present research, it is suggested that, responsible institutions such as the health bureaus of the municipalities pave the ground for the employment of such trainings and through public call create the possibility for the participation of individuals in these training courses. Moreover, beside regarding the issues of training women who head the households, the municipalities provide for the required conditions and facilities to employ women in money making activities and jobs so that, they can make ends meet. Moreover, lack of social, economic and cultural supports for these women have caused complicated problems for them. Therefore, it is suggested that, these problems are solved by governmental authorities. The low knowledge of policy makers with different problems of women heading the households should be increased by implementing good strategies. References -Chenari, GH. (2010). Effectiveness of positive psychology training in the decrease of addiction among female high school students of 18 th borough in Tehran. MA thesis, Allameh Tabataba i University. -Farahani, F. (2013). The relationship between hardiness, hopefulness and life satisfaction. MA thesis, Islamic Azad University. Tehran South branch. -Foroughi, A. (2011). Effectiveness of positive psychotherapy in the increase of hardiness among addicted individuals. MA thesis. Allameh Tabataba i University. -Kord Mirza, A. (2009). Psycho-physio-spiritual modeling in drug dependent individuals and designing a treatment plan to enhance the resilience and hardiness based on cognitive narrative therapy and positive psychology. Phd thesis, Allameh Tabataba i University. -Nasiri, A. (2010). Effectiveness of group hardiness in the increase of self-efficacy and effective coping 455

5 strategies among stressful students. MA thesis. Allameh tabataba i University. -Heaven, P. C. L., Ciarr, C. J., & Vialles, W. (2007). Conscientiousness and psychoticism as predictors of school grades: A one year longitudinal study. Personality and Individual Differences, 24, Joseph S., and Linley, A. (2006). Positive Therapy: a meta theory for positive psychological practice, first published by Rutledge, USA & Canada. -Kobasa, S. C., Maddi, S. R., & Puccetti, M. C. (2002). Personality and exercise as buffer in the stressful relationship. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 5, Linely, P. A., Joseph, S., & Harring Ton, S. (2006). Positive psychology: past, present, and (possible) future. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1, Maddi, S. R., & Khoshaba, D. M. (2005). Resilience at work: How to succeed no matter what life throws at you. New York: Amacom. -Rashid, T. (2008). Positive psychotherapy. In Lopz, Soj. (Ed) positive psychology: Exploring the best in people Westport, CT: Green Wood Publishing Company. -Seligman, M., Steen, T., Park, N., & Peterson. (2005). Positive psychology progress empirical validation of Interventions: American Psychologist American Psychologist Association, 60, Maddi, S. R., Khoshaba, D. M., Persico. M. L. U J., Harvey, R., & Bleecker, F. (2002). The personality construct of hardiness, IT: Relationships with comprehensive tests of personality and psychopathology. Journal of Research in Personality, 36,

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