تاثیر یک برنامه مدیریت اهداف شخصی در بهزیستی ذهنی بازنشستگان جوان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|37985||2007||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée/European Review of Applied Psychology, Volume 57, Issue 3, September 2007, Pages 183–192
Abstract A personal goal-based intervention was offered to retired people aged 50 to 65 years with the objective of increasing their subjective well-being. The program aimed to help the participants set, plan, and pursue their personal goals through a learning process based on literature on goal intervention. At the end of the program, the experimental group (N = 117) had improved significantly more than the control group (N = 177) on the majority of the goal and subjective well-being indicators, and this gain was maintained six months later. The enhanced well-being observed in the participants after the intervention stemmed from the mediating effect of the goals and was thus due to the greater focus on goals. Some ideas to make the program more effective are discussed.
. Introduction Early retirement is becoming increasingly common, but little research has been done regarding its impact on individual lives and well-being. Although the majority of retirees consider themselves happy, others become distressed with all the free time, socially isolated, and sometimes, really depressed. Many retirees think it is difficult to find meaningful activities (Jonssonn et al., 2000; Jungmeen and Moen, 2001). This life transition can be facilitated by educational and preventive interventions that provide opportunities, not just to improve quality of life and actualize potential, but also to identify coping strategies to deal with typical problems at this stage of life. It appears that setting new goals and looking to the future can benefit those going through the transition to retirement (Lo and Brown, 1999; Nuttin, 1987; Schmuck and Sheldon, 2001). The goal intervention described in this article was designed as a preventive strategy that promotes well-being through a learning process focusing on the development of attitudes and abilities that help retirees realize personal projects that give meaning to their life. This program was intended for retirees who do not have mental health problems but who feel the need to enhance their quality of life. It is based on a strong theoretical and empirical foundation that links the presence and attainment of personal goals to subjective well-being (SWB). In fact, the benefits of being goal-oriented are one of the most widely accepted tenets in general psychology (Ford, 1992; Schmuck and Sheldon, 2001). Before documenting this relationship between personal goals and subjective well-being, we will define the latter variable and identify its indicators since it constitutes the ultimate objective of this program. 1.1. Subjective well-being (SWB) The SWB concept used here is multidimensional, not normative, and is based on subjective experience (Bouffard and Lapierre, 1997; Diener, 1994). It corresponds to a positive personal evaluation of one's situation. The markers chosen were positive experience with retirement, happiness (short-term), Ryff's (1989) psychological well-being indicators (personal growth, self-acceptance, positive relationships with others, environmental mastery, purpose in life, autonomy), and distress. Thus SWB is operationalized through both positive and negative, as well as cognitive and affective variables, in accordance with current models of mental health (e.g. Labelle et al., 2001). With this wide range of indicators, it was easier to identify the possible effects of the intervention. 1.2. Personal goals and SWB The relationship between personal goals and SWB can be examined from various angles. Austin and Vancouver (1996) identified different goal-related dimensions. Here we will only consider the steps in the goal realization process — goal setting, planning, and pursuit — followed by the evaluation of the outcome and of the overall process. 1.2.1. Goal setting and SWB Personal goals are based on self-conceptions and fundamental psychological needs and are situated in a particular social context as well as a broader cultural context. Thus, in his or her own ecological niche, each person must translate internal and external imperatives into concrete, personalized plans appropriate for each stage of life (Nurmi, 1998) in order to ensure personal survival and well-being. This goal-setting/selection operation is extremely important because it translates motivation into action, focuses energy, supports self-regulation of behaviour, and optimizes personality functioning (Bandura, 1997). The presence of personal goals is predictive of several SWB indicators (Lecci et al., 1994); it is positively related to life satisfaction and purpose in life and negatively to depression (Cantor, 2003; Emmons, 2003). This presence of goals has proved to be a truly therapeutic instrument (Poëhlmann and Brunstein, 2000; Salmela-Aro et al., 2000). In short, it is clear that being goal-oriented is beneficial for one's mental health (Lapierre et al., 2001; Nuttin, 1987; Schmuck and Sheldon, 2001). If desires are not transformed into firm intentions, they will never be achieved (like many New Year's resolutions) and will give rise to regret, negative affects, or various types of pathology. In our intervention, the participants were asked to make a comprehensive list of their aspirations, ambitions, and goals, select their priorities, choose a clear, concrete objective formulated in terms of a target-behaviour, and make a firm resolution to work towards attaining this objective with the group's support. 1.2.2. Goal planning and SWB Planning is a mental exercise that prepares for action; it includes activities that help to achieve the selected goal: exploring possibilities, looking for ways to achieve it, defining steps, identifying circumstances conductive to initiating action, identifying the required skills, foreseeing obstacles and planning strategies to deal with them, and seeking help if necessary (Watson and Tharp, 1997). Certain strategies that are very useful in goal planning are also beneficial to SWB: anticipating the outcome and ways to achieve it, problem-solving, dealing with stress, as well as simulating the action, which is a particularly effective strategy ( Taylor and Pham, 1996). On the other hand, resignation, hopelessness, feelings of incompetence in problem solving ( D'Zurilla and Sheedy, 1991) are detrimental to SWB at this step. "Defensive pessimism" (imagining the worst) increases the effort needed to improve performance, but is burdensome emotionally and can cause exhaustion ( Cantor and Blanton, 1996; Norem, 2001). Gollwitzer (1996) has shown that good planning is accompanied by a state of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral readiness. In this state of mind, people take action and persist despite difficulties. Planning has proved to be particularly effective to reduce anxiety associated to exams for university students ( Bouffard et al., 2001). In this step of our intervention, the participants were asked to make a detailed plan for achieving their goal. This complex operation was done with the emotional support of the group, and it's suggestions for concrete actions. 1.2.3. Goal pursuit and SWB Numerous studies indicate that pursuing a goal or moving towards an objective enhances SWB. In a longitudinal study, Brunstein (1993) showed that it is the progress towards the goal that improves SWB and not the reverse. The results obtained by Lawton et al. (2002) indicate that commitment in a goal-directed activity explains a significant part of the variance in positive affect. The positive impact of pursuing a goal on the quality of the experience is clearly shown in Csikszentmihalyi, 1997 and Csikszentmihalyi, 2004) work on optimal experience (flow). In fact, progress conditions the effect of certain variables that are believed to be directly associated with SWB. For example, personal and environmental resources, social support and life events have a positive effect on SWB only if these variables facilitate progress towards the goal ( Diener and Fujita, 1995). However, not all progress towards the goal is necessarily beneficial, according to Sheldon and Kasser (1998). In a longitudinal study done with university students, these authors clearly established that progress towards the goal enhances SWB only if the goals are in harmony with fundamental psychological needs ( Brunstein et al., 1998; Cantor and Sanderson, 1999; Emmons, 1999; Oishi et al., 1999). In addition, Sheldon (2001) insists that progress in pursuing the goal will be beneficial only if the goal-directed initiative is taken for good reasons, i.e. intrinsic reasons. Effective pursuit of the goal requires appropriate regulation of the actions taken. Brandtstädter and Rothermund (2002) propose two strategies: tenacity, which is characterized by one's perseverance despite obstacles, and flexibility, which is the ability to adjust to situational constraints. Flexibility is a powerful predictor of various SWB indicators and helps to avoid serious problems when the goals are unattainable (Trépanier et al., 2001), as illustrated by fictional heroines like Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary. Finally, the effective pursuit of goals requires sound management of one's personal resources in order to avoid exhaustion. To prevent this type of problem, Ford (1992) recommends temporarily setting aside some goals in order to pursue those considered a priority. In our intervention, the participants were invited to discuss with other group members the obstacles encountered, difficulties to overcome, and mistakes they made in order to correct their approach, review their plan, or re-evaluate their goal (if necessary). Once again, the group's support was crucial in regulating the pursuit of the goal. 1.2.4. Evaluation of the outcome and of the learning process on SWB It has long been known that achieving one's objectives generates positive emotions. Sheldon and Hauser-Marko (2001) observed that people who achieve their goals have a positive self-assessment and a high feeling of personal efficacy; they are more involved and get an excellent result, which confirms their self-esteem. This feedback loop also operates in those who fail (Nurmi, 1998). However, success in one's undertakings does not automatically generate happiness. Kruglanski (1996) suggests a few explanations: achieving the goal drained too much energy, the value of the goal declined, the ambition to do better is still present, achieving the objective left a void (as it sometimes happens to gold medalists who do not know what to do with their lives after the Olympics games or to some retirees who feel that there is nothing left to do after work disappears from their life). The relationship between goal attainment and SWB is moderated by different variables like causal attribution. Success is a source of pride insofar as it is attributed to an internal cause (effort or skill, for example) (Weiner, 1986). Not achieving the goal is generally associated with dissatisfaction, but this is not always the case (Emmons, 1999) because individuals may learn from their mistakes, work harder next time, or use certain mechanisms to protect their self-esteem (Watson and Tharp, 1997). In addition to the outcome obtained, the individual also evaluates the overall process. Regardless of the extent to which his or her objective has been attained, an individual may be satisfied and proud of having dealt with certain obstacles, learned something, refined some skills, actualized some of his or her potential, and, because of this, have faith in the future. In interviews conducted by Bouffard et al. (2001), some of the participants said they had learned something significant about themselves and that this increased awareness is sometimes much more important than achieving the particular objective. In this last step of the intervention, the participants were asked to evaluate the extent to which they had achieved their goals and the satisfaction they felt in regard to this achievement. They also evaluated the different steps in the process in order to clarify what they had learned and be able to use this approach again in the future. After reviewing the literature, it is clear that each step in the process contributes to SWB. The process may seem linear, but it includes feedback loops so that there is some interplay between the steps and a need for constant adjustment (Nurmi, 1998). For example, planning the action may very well require the goal to be specified or replaced, pursuing the goal may require the plan to be revised, and evaluating the outcome may restart the process by choosing a new target-behaviour. When the impact of affect is added to the process (Schwarz and Bohner, 1996), there is even more interplay. This illustrates the complexity of the mechanisms involved and the power and sophistication of human adaptability in pursuit of a goal. 1.3. Other aspects of the intervention The intervention program included the steps described above (goal setting, goal planning, goal pursuit, and evaluation of the outcome). Its objective was to help the participants move towards attaining the chosen goal and, at a deeper level, learn the process itself so as to be able to manage their own change and achieve enhanced and lasting well-being (Watson and Tharp, 1997). In accordance with the literature on goal intervention, the desired therapeutic changes were to increase the participants' ability to identify and modify irrational beliefs detrimental to the goal realization process, promote cognitive factors that improve regulation of the action, increase the ability to view alternate means to achieve a goal, and create warm interpersonal relationships and mutual support so that the pursuit of personal goals could bring positive affects (Poëhlmann and Brunstein, 2000). The program was designed for young, community-living retirees. It was based on the idea that personal growth can be achieved at any stage in one's life (Erikson et al., 1986; Vaillant, 2002), that it is possible to "optimize" residual potential — in short, that the retirees could benefit from a psychosocial intervention, especially one given in small groups (Toseland and Rivas, 1998). This intervention has been found to be effective in numerous cases and to have various positive effects (Bouffard et al., 2001).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
6. Conclusion The personal goal management program was built on a strong theoretical and empirical foundation; setting, planning, and pursuing a specific project was broken down into several steps that guided the participants through the process from desire to the attainment of their goals. The literature showed that each of the steps in this process enhances SWB. The program was effective with young retirees. The intervention generated significant benefits in the participants and is promising since it also had positive effects in older adults (Bouffard et al., 1996; Dubé et al., 2000) and university students (Bouffard et al., 2001). It thus achieved one of its objectives: to develop lasting well-being.