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Title: Does motivational disposition predict the efficacy of a goals-based self-help intervention for improving well being?
Author: Lyle, Gary
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 3407
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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Background: Self-help interventions can be useful in improving well-being and improving symptoms of low-level mental health problems. Goal-setting has also been found to be linked to well-being. In order to maximise the benefit of any goal related self-help interventions, it may be advantageous to consider for whom they may work best. Objective. The study aimed to replicate and extend previous findings relating to the efficacy of the Goal Setting and Planning (GAP) self-help intervention for improving well-being using an active control group to allow for a more carefully controlled test of GAP. In addition to this, the study aimed to examine the potential mediating effect that the intervention has via goal progress. Lastly the study aimed to investigate whether the gains in well-being associated with the GAP intervention will be greatest for individuals scoring more highly in ‘agentic’ value scores. Method. A controlled trial of 58 participants completed pre and post measures of well-being and were also led through a goal selection exercise in which they chose two goals to work towards over a five week period. Twenty-nine participants were allocated to the intervention condition which involved working through the GAP intervention in an online format to support their goal progress. The remaining 29 participants were allocated to the control group and were asked to work towards their goals without any further support. All participants were asked to provide goal attainment scores at the end of week three and at the end of week five. Results. There was no significant effect of condition on post-intervention outcome measures (p = .87, partial h2 = .02). Post measures indicated small but not significant gains in well-being across groups. Goal progress averaged across the two assessments did not differ significantly between groups. The conditions for mediation were not met therefore it was not possible to test for the mediating effects of goal progress on well-being. Lastly, moderation analysis showed that agency value scores did not significantly moderate the effectiveness of GAP in improving scores on any of the well-being measures. Conclusion: These null-findings particularly in relation to the efficacy of the GAP intervention were unexpected given significant findings in previous trials. However, the use of an active control group allowed for a more focused examination of the efficacy of the self-help components compared to previous trials. It is suggested that the goal-setting elements of GAP completed by both conditions may account for the small gains in well-being. Limitations of the current study are discussed particularly in relation to the use of a non-clinical, mainly undergraduate student sample. It is also suggested that goal-based self-help interventions may have limited use in non- clinical student populations. Ideas for future research are made including the recruitment of participants who would potentially benefit more from an intervention to improve well-being such as GAP.
Supervisor: Moberly, Nick ; Watkins, Ed Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: agency ; communion ; unmitigated ; goals ; goal-setting ; well-being ; depression ; motivation ; motivational disposition ; self-help