Exploring a group of South African psychologists’ well-being: competencies and contests


The aim of this study was to establish the levels of well-being of South African psychologists by implementing a mixed method research design. Positive psychology was used as framework as psychosocial well-being is a core concept in this exciting subdiscipline in psychology. In the quantitative part of the study, participants (n = 279) completed questionnaires consisting of four standardised measures of well-being (The Mental Health Continuum Short Form, The Wagnild Resilience Scale, Meaningfulness in Life Questionnaire and Affectometer 2). Descriptive statistics, reliability indexes and construct validity were established and frequencies were determined for the constructs flourishing and languishing. In the qualitative part, unstructured interviews were conducted with 14 participants. Thematic analysis was utilised for data analysis. Data were synthesised by identifying areas represented in both data sets and by comparing or contrasting the results. The majority of the participants (93.9%) experienced flourishing and 6.1% experienced languishing. The qualitative data analysis resulted in the identification of four themes namely, work content and work context, relational functioning, self-care practices and personal resources. Based on deductive analysis, meaning, resilience and positive affect were found to contribute positively to the participants’ high levels of well-being. South African psychologists’ well-being may be the result of possessing strong competencies that sustain their well-being. High scores were also found for presence of meaning, resilience and positive affect. It is recommended that identified competencies and contests as depicted in the qualitative research ought to guide intentional efforts towards sustainable well-being.

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