Date of Award

2000

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Lisa L. Harlow

Abstract

The current study assessed relationships between composite and latent measures of stress, coping, and sociopersonal well-being and quality of life. A latent variable mediational coping model was proposed and it was hypothesized that coping would be a significant mediator between measures of stress and measures of quality of life. The process of mediational coping is theoretically explained using a pragmatic and teleological application of need motivation and goal directed behavior (Maslow, 1968, 1971), and behavioral specificity, delay of gratification, and context (Mischel, 1973, 1986). Social learning and humanistic concepts are synthesized within a discussion of ontological, epistemological, and methodological congruence and parallelism. Exploratory, confirmatory, and latent variable mediational analyses were performed. Results indicated that relationships among 10 composite variables formed a well-fitting 3-factor confirmatory model (CFI = .93). The factors were: 1) sociopersonal well-being and quality of life (past, current, future satisfaction with life; existential well-being; mental/physical health satisfaction), 2) stress (perceived psychological stress, physical symptoms, anxiety), and 3) coping (perceived coping, cognitive processing). Testing several competing latent variable models, results revealed that a partial mediational model, with an additional direct path from stress to well-being and quality of life fit well for both men and women (CFI = .93). Multiple sample analysis indicated that the parameter estimates were significantly different for men and women. The final gender specific models indicated that the model for women held up (CFI = .91), and all parameters were significant. However, for men, the path from coping to well-being and quality of life was not statistically significant (CFI = .93). Post hoc analyses on the differential gender effects of perceived coping and cognitive processing (broken out of the latent coping variable and used as two separate measured variables) indicated that cognitive processing was more strongly related to stress for men than for women and was not a significant direct predictor of well-being for either sex. Multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) by gender, corrected for familywise error, revealed significant differences on five of the 10 composite variables. Mean scores indicated that women reported significantly higher levels of perceived psychological stress and physical symptoms, and significantly lower levels of past satisfaction with life, current satisfaction with life, and mental /physical health and esteem than men. However, there were no significant gender differences related to future satisfaction with life, existential well-being (including meaning and purpose in life), and cognitive processing indicating that despite the differential in two of the three stress variables, there were no significant gender differences on variables related to future life direction and satisfaction expectations. The results are discussed in terms of multivariate quality of life and well-being assessment. Methodological issues related to theory, context, micro/macro level quality of life variables, and interpretation of results related to reliability and validity are discussed. Finally, the results are currently being used for psychometric normalization work on several versions of the Quality of Life and Satisfaction (QOLAS) family of instruments (SQOLAS for students, A-QOLAS for athletes, and QOLAS for adults).

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