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Title: Defining and explaining positive psychological outcomes in people with physical health conditions
Author: Griffiths, Helen Caroline
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 4597
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2010
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Experiencing a physical health condition can have wide ranging physical and psychological outcomes for an individual, impacting on many aspects of daily living. The psychological outcomes can vary widely, from extreme psychological distress to psychological growth, and are complex and dynamic. Traditionally, research has focused on those experiencing psychological distress, despite evidence showing that many individuals are able to achieve positive psychological outcomes. The literature is unclear in defining different positive psychological outcomes, and indeed distinguishing different outcomes and processes from one another. Attention needs to be paid to the definition applied to individuals who are reporting positive psychological outcomes following physical health difficulties and further understanding the process through which individuals achieve these outcomes. This empirical study aimed to address some of the gaps in the literature, by exploring how six individuals reporting positive psychological outcomes following spinal cord injury described and explained these outcomes. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to investigate the experience of these individuals. Three superordinate themes were extracted: "Living a normal life, just doing things differently", "Overcoming challenges: Determination to succeed" and "Using the resources available to me". The research supported the idea that positive psychological outcomes arise through a complex interplay between personality, cognitive and environmental factors. Theoretically, this research has implications for defining positive psychological outcomes following spinal cord injury, in addition to contributing towards future theoretical frameworks that aim to provide a basis for understanding the process through which positive psychological outcomes following spinal cord injury are achieved. Clinically, this research provides a narrative that can be used with people following spinal cord injury and also provides evidence for the use of cognitive screening measures such as appraisal style, to identify individuals who may be showing less adaptive cognitions.
Supervisor: Paul, Kennedy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychological medicine ; Stress ; Evidence based mental health ; spinal cord injury ; resilience ; posttraumatic growth ; physical health ; psychology