Preferred Name

Jay Davis

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

ORCID

0000-0002-1618-3396

Date of Graduation

8-7-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Gregg Henriques

Jaime Kurtz

Kenneth Critchfield

Abstract

Mental health issues appear to be on the rise across our world, especially within the college student population. Considerable data suggests that today’s students have lower rates of well-being and healthy psychological functioning and higher rates of distress, fragility, and clinically significant mental health problems than seen in previous generations. These findings have led some scholars to define this trend as a college mental health crisis. The purpose of this study was to respond to this crisis via the development and administration of a well-being general education course conceptually grounded in Henriques’ Unified Framework of psychology and psychotherapy (see, Henriques, 2011; 2017; 2019). This study is a partial replication of Kimberly Kleinman’s positive psychology course, which was similarly grounded in Henriques’ Unified Framework and found encouraging results. However, that course was labor intensive and could not have been reasonably applied as part of a general education curriculum. As such, this project developed a course on well-being and adjustment based on positive psychology principles organized by Henriques’ Unified Framework in a manner consistent with a standard general education level curriculum.

Two broad research questions were explored. First, would this intervention course be meaningful at a pedagogical level? Second, would this intervention positively impact well-being? To investigate these questions, an intervention and control group of undergraduate students were developed. Students in both groups completed seven pre-posttest well-being measures across the same semester. Data from the intervention participants suggested that the course was attractive, well-received, positively impacted well-being, and was just as pedagogically effective as Kleinman’s course even though it had less resources. In addition, significant improvements were observed in 12 of 16 quantitative measures of well-being, with the H10WB demonstrating a clinically significant improvement in well-being. When these differences were compared to participants in a control course, significant interaction effects were found for the H10WB and PANAS-positive emotion scales. A pattern of significant interaction effects was not found at the macro level. Therefore, a definitive claim cannot be made about the presence of group differences. When examined as a whole, the data offered a tentative conclusion that this intervention might have been clinically beneficial to well-being. As such, these findings advance the argument that well-being education is a potentially feasible and practical strategy to help address the college mental he

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