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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|33867||2000||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 29, Issue 1, 1 July 2000, Pages 119–129
The publication and use of psychological self-help books are ubiquitous in our society. Nevertheless, little research is available concerning the public’s attitudes toward such books and the psychological variables associated with these attitudes. The current investigation involved the development and validation of the Self-Help Reading Attitudes Survey with a sample of 264 male and female college students. The resultant 40-item measure was found to be psychometrically sound, with acceptable reliability and both discriminant and convergent validity. Persons with more favorable attitudes toward reading self-help books held better attitudes about reading in general, were more psychologically minded, had a stronger self-control orientation, and reported greater life satisfaction. Women and psychology majors had more positive self-help reading attitudes than did men and nonpsychology majors. The utility of this new assessment with respect to further research and clinical applications was discussed.
A visit to practically any bookstore today reveals an extensive section devoted to psychological self-help books. Each year, millions of Americans look to these books for advice, insight, and inspiration in solving their personal and interpersonal problems. Reading as a therapeutic technique, termed bibliotherapy, has a long history, originating in medical and mental hospitals in the early 1900s (Rubin, 1979). With the social trends of the 1970s came an influx of self-help and personal growth books encouraging the consumer to “do it yourself” (Rubin, 1979). Helping professionals often use bibliotherapy as an adjunct to treatment and catalyst for change (Pardeck, 1991a and Pardeck, 1991b; Starker, 1988, Starker, 1989 and Starker, 1990). In fact, a survey of 121 psychologists indicated that the majority prescribed self-help materials to their clients, and 69% believed that their clients were helped by these materials (Starker, 1988 and Starker, 1989). Based on a national survey of over 500 clinical and counseling psychologists, Santrock, Minnett and Campbell (1994) published an evaluative compendium of over 350 self-help books in 33 categories. Many consumers try self-help books as a cost effective, readily available primary source of relief, independent of a therapist (Glasgow and Rosen, 1978, Ogles et al., 1991 and Starker, 1990). Offering prescriptive advice in a variety of areas including anxiety, stress, diet, exercise, weight loss, self-esteem, body image, addictions, and relationships, these books are a prominent part of the current mental health care environment. In one telephone survey (Najavits & Wolk, 1993), nearly one-third of a small sample of metropolitan residents reported reading self-help books, more for factual information than for advice on a particular problem. In another telephone survey, Starker, 1986 and Starker, 1990) found that 65% of 186 respondents read self-help books, especially spiritual and personal growth books. Several surveys have revealed that women purchase and read self-help books more than men do (Shapiro, 1987, Starker, 1989, Starker, 1990 and Wood, 1988), especially books pertaining to love and relationships, weight control, and emotional problems. In a survey mostly of men, Starker (1992) found that over half read self-help books and reported a more positive outlook on life and greater social support than did non-readers. Can self-help materials truly be effective? Narrative reviews of research (Craighead et al., 1984, Glasgow and Rosen, 1978 and Riordan and Wilson, 1989) and meta-analyses (Gould and Clum, 1993, Marrs, 1995 and Scogin et al., 1990) have found many self-administered treatments to be moderately effective, with outcomes comparable to therapist-administered treatments. Of course, these data largely reflect outcomes of controlled studies with persons recruited or selected to participate in structured programs. The results may not generalize to conditions of “customary use”, in which consumers self-diagnose their problems and read commercially available books to solve them. Critics (e.g., Rosen, 1987, Simonds, 1992 and Slovenko, 1995) assert that self-help books often make exaggerated and unsubstantiated claims of effectiveness, provide little guidance for valid self-diagnosis, and cannot monitor readers’ understanding of and compliance with the material. Self-help techniques, when applied inappropriately, risk readers’ developing self-blaming attributions if the program fails. Some feminist scholars (Kaminer, 1993 and Simonds, 1992) have criticized this self-help genre as particularly victimizing of women in its emphasis on individual rather than cultural change. Who are the readers of self-help? How do they differ psychologically from persons who eschew self-help reading? To date, few researchers have addressed these questions, and those who have principally focused on who might benefit most from self-help. A series of methodologically limited studies by Forest, 1987, Forest, 1988 and Forest, 1991) on the effects of unspecified self-help books provided little understanding of such individual differences. Ogles et al. (1991) compared the effectiveness of four books for coping with loss and found that readers with higher initial expectations of benefit reported greater symptomatic change, which they attributed to the books. The basic purpose of the current investigation was to enhance our understanding of people’s attitudes about and usage of psychological self-help books. To achieve this, we developed a needed measure of attitudes toward such books. We administered this new questionnaire, along with an inventory of participants’ self-help reading behaviors in the past year. Moreover, to examine specific predictors of self-help reading attitudes, we included standardized measures of several conceptually relevant personality variables. We derived the following hypotheses, largely based on the rational congruence between certain psychological dispositions and the processes and substance inherent in self-help reading. 1. People for whom reading has greater positive reinforcement value were expected also to value self-help reading. 2. Individuals who are more psychologically minded were hypothesized to have more positive attitudes about self-help reading. Psychological mindedness entails an ability to recognize relationships among thoughts, feelings, and actions and an interest in the meaning of one’s behavior (Conte et al., 1990). 3. Similarly, because privately self-conscious persons consciousness readily focus attention on their inner experiences (i.e., thoughts, feelings, motives, etc.; Buss, 1980), these individuals were expected to value self-help reading. 4. To the extent that self-help encourages people to solve their own problems, individuals with a stronger self-control orientation, believing in their own self-regulatory efficacy (Rosenbaum, 1980), were expected to hold self-help reading in higher regard. 5. Based on Starker’s (1992) finding of a more positive outlook among self-help readers, we predicted that a relatively greater satisfaction with life would be associated with more favorable self-help reading attitudes. 6. Based on previous research evidence (e.g., Shapiro, 1987, Starker, 1989 and Starker, 1990; Wood, 1988), we hypothesized that women would espouse more positive self-help reading attitudes than men would. 7. Finally, given their academic interests, psychology majors’ self-help reading attitudes were expected to be more favorable than those of non-psychology majors.