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Title: Explaining and predicting psychological problems : the joint importance of positive and negative constructs
Author: Siddaway, Andrew P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 9367
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2017
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Positive Clinical Psychology (PCP) argues that positive and negative psychological constructs are jointly important for explaining psychological problems. “Positive” constructs have been explicitly focused on by positive psychology researchers and “negative” constructs have been explicitly focused on by mental health researchers. This thesis examines the relationship between positive and negative constructs in relation to four psychological problems: depressive symptoms (Chapter 2), anxiety-problems (Chapter 3), suicide attempts (SAs) (Chapter 4 and 5), and nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) (Chapter 4 and 5). Clarifying how psychological problems are most appropriately conceptualised has implications for definitions, diagnostic criteria, measurement, and clinical interventions. This thesis provides evidence that some constructs form bipolar continua, having a positive pole and a negative pole, whilst other constructs do not. Chapters 2 and 3 demonstrate that well-being and calmness respectively form continua with depressive and anxiety symptoms. In contrast, Chapters 4 and 5 demonstrate that SA and NSSI cognitions do not form a continuum with another construct. Results indicate that positive and negative constructs appear to have different relationships to one-another depending on the construct under investigation. Constructs that are common in the general population – such as depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, well-being symptoms, and calmness symptoms – appear to be bipolar, having a positive and a negative pole. Psychological constructs that are rare in the general population and which specifically characterise psychological problems (rather than being an extreme manifestation of a common psychological experience) – such as SA and NSSI cognitions – appear to be unipolar. The replication of scientific findings also features strongly throughout this thesis. Each chapter may therefore have a timely bearing on the emerging “replication crisis” literature.
Supervisor: Wood, Alex M. ; O'Connor, Rory C. ; O'Carroll, Ronan E. Sponsor: MRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: positive psychology ; therapy ; clinical psychology ; assessment ; bipolarity ; affect ; measurement ; scale development ; suicide ; nonsuicidal self-injury ; well-being ; Manic-depressive illness ; Parasuicide ; Psychometrics