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Title: The independence index : a proposed diagnostic for isolated functioning ability grounded in a study of current human needs in an increasingly solitary society
Author: Roseveare, Jay
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 0954
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2006
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This paper describes two studies in response to the trend in developed Western societies for individuals to change jobs and move house more often. Trends towards virtual organisations and single occupant households suggested a need to identify key factors when contemplating functioning in isolation and a way to provide guidance more relevant to the individual. For the first study, the research question was whether a common structure of human life criteria could be found, based in theory but expressed in terms easily understood by a layperson. A grounded approach was based on repertory grid interviews of fifteen participants (selected for maximum variation) to establish in their own words what they saw as key criteria for their own significant life and career events. The sample produced bipolar constructs, triangulated with brief PCP interviews and card sorts to cover a whole life domain with particular emphasis on solitude and team working. Criteria were then examined for underlying structure and reviewed against existing theories. Four general themes were identified, labelled 'Stimulation', 'Purpose and Progress', 'Enablement' and 'Interpersonal Contact' which together embraced over 96% of the grid interview constructs. Lack of background detail for the seven brief interviews and twenty-nine card sorts made it hard to judge their relevance. The influence of teams and culture are discussed, together with the possible implications for decision-making. Recent research in related areas was found to lend support for the themes. The second study involved developing a generalised diagnostic to identify clients most likely to function well in isolation. Research into social isolation, loneliness and selfesteem is reviewed. It was assumed the diagnostic process would be complemented by context-specific assessment. Five hypotheses were made: it would produce discriminating individual profiles; it would identify those who preferred living on their own; it would identify those who preferred working on their own; it would identify those who felt more productive on their own; the 21-30 group would be significantly different from older age groups. A fifteen item instrument was developed with four factors: Enterprise (generalised self-efficacy based on project management); Social Independence; Functional Independence; and Anxiety. A pool (n= 365) of native English speakers aged between twenty-one and seventy, were UK residents except for a contrast population (n=30) resident in South Africa. Self-reports of living and working preference and perceived productivity were used as outcome variables. Logistic regression was used. Significant results confirmed all five hypotheses and the three resulting models were between 68% and 74% accurate. Four month Pearson two-tailed correlation coefficients of between .560 and .765, all significant at the level p=.01, were obtained for the predictors but half the retest participants changed at least one outcome variable. These changes often paralleled domestic or situation changes, suggesting short-, medium- and long-term decision components. From the profiles of those who both preferred working alone and perceived themselves more productive doing so, participants with similar profiles were identified amongst those without any experience of working alone, indicating profiles were not the result of experience. Recommendations are made for the use of the instrument in practice and suggestions are made for further research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Occ.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available