Friday, 21 October 2016

Health and Clinical Psychology Research Group Seminar

Prosocial attitudes as mediators of the attachment and psychological health relationship: The case for self-compassion and gratitude.

Associate Professor Ross Wilkinson
School of Psychology, University of Newcastle

Date: 26th October
Time: 12 noon
Place: Keats Reading Room (video to Ourimbah Science Offices)

Abstract: There is an increasing interest in the link between prosocial attitudes and psychological health from both a ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ psychology perspective. In this talk I will present data examining the extent to which a prosocial construct (gratitude) and a quasi-prosocial construct (self-compassion) are related to interpersonal expectancies (attachment) and psychological adjustment (depression, anxiety, stress). A model is proposed in which both gratitude and self-compassion partially mediate the link between attachment and psychological (ill-)health. Participants were 506 (397 women) university students and members of the general public who completed an online survey. Ages ranged from 18 to 82 years (M = 31.4, SD = 14.2). Correlations between all variables investigated were significant. Using structural equation modelling, the hypothesized mediational model was evaluated and supported, with some modifications based on whether psychological health was indicated by anxiety, stress, or depression. In the models evaluated attachment anxiety was more related to self-compassion while attachment avoidance was more related to gratitude. Overall, the pattern of direct and indirect effects indicate that a self-compassionate attitude plays a greater role in psychological adjustment than dispositional gratitude both directly and as a mediator of attachment insecurity. Limitations of the research are discussed and implications for clinical practice explored.