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Title: Subjective well-being in dentists and dental students : the role of personailty and motivation
Author: Montasem, Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 8716
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2011
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A number of studies have examined high rates of stress and burnout in dentists and dental students. Informed by work in positive psychology, this thesis takes the view that mental health problems can be approached by understanding and improving positive states such as subjective well-being, which forms a buffer between the experience of strain and psychological ill health. This thesis proposes that two recently-investigated personal resources, Core Self-Evaluations (CSE) and Trait Emotional Intelligence (trait El) contribute to well-being in dental students and dental practitioners. Core self-evaluations (CSE) and trait Emotional intelligence represent dispositional self-evaluations about cognitive and emotional competencies and self- worth. Given that CSE and trait El successfully predicted well-being measures in the health and organizational literature, it is of interest to study such effects in dentistry. The second aim of this thesis was to understand the mechanism behind the effects of personal resources by identifying mediating variables. Research indicates, that CSE and trait El may exert their influence on well-being because they assist individuals to choose personal goals that match their intrinsic motives, interests and values. This dissertation provides an empirical test of this meditational hypothesis. Three cross-sectional studies with self-report measures were employed. Study one examined relationships between CSE and Trait El and subjective well being in a sample of dental students, whilst statistically controlling the effects of basic personality traits. Significant independent relations between CSE constructs and Trait El and subjective well-being were found. Using self-determination theory, two differing conceptualisations of intrinsically motivated goals were selected and measures pertaining to them were used to identify possible mediators of the CSE/Trait El relationship. Study two examined whether the relation between CSE and Trait El can be explained through a goal construct that focuses on underlying intrinsic motives of personal goals. Although the finding that CSE and Trait El predicted subjective well-being was replicated, and intrinsic goals predicted subjective well-being, findings did not support the predicted mediation. Study three examined further whether the relation between CSE and Trait El can be explained through a related goal construct that focuses on the intrinsic content of life goals. Again, findings did not support this mediation. Results of these studies have theoretical implications for dental research as they indicate that personal resources can have predictive and incremental validity for dentist and dental students subjective (work) well-being. Findings further suggest that the effects of CSE and trait El on well-being measures are not mediated through intrinsic forms of goal motivation. The findings, however, are limited by cross-sectional designs and reliance on self-report data. Bearing these limitations in mind, it can be concluded that personal resources might play a role for dental students and dental practitioners subjective well-being. Given that positive mental health is personally and professionally of great relevance for dentists and dental students, it is sensible to consider evidence-based interventions to strengthen personal resources.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available