The cognitive determinants of psychological well-being

  • Julie-Anne Sykley

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    Five major cognitive determinants of psychological well-being identified are: (1) perceived control; (2) optimism; (3) self-esteem; (4) a sense of goalfulfillment; and (5) cognitive hardiness (a sense of control, commitment, and challenge towards life). The present study sought to investigate how well these cognitive variables would predict the experience of psychological wellbeing, and also to test the validity of a control-based model of well-being that related these variables together. A survey instrument designed to tap the study's variables was distributed to work settings in Darwin, Australia. The final sample comprised 417 adult respondents (146 males and 270 females). As expected, multiple regression results indicated that the five cognitive determinants were significant positive predictors of psychological well-being. In contrast, demographic variables (sex, age, education, occupation, employment status, income, and marital status) predicted wellbeing poorly. Linear structural modeling with latent variables was used to evaluate the fit of four well-being models. Model 1 assumed that the effect of control on well-being was mediated by optimism, self-esteem, goalfulfillment, and hardiness. Model 2 was Model 1 plus a direct path from control to well-being. Models 3 and 4 incorporated demographic characteristics to explore demographic effects. Goodness-of-fit indices suggested that the most parsimonious model (Model 1) achieved the best fit. Thus, the present study identified a well-being model in which the effect of perceived control on psychological well-being was indirect, being mediated by a latent construct of "positive appraisal" made up of the four control corollaries of optimism, self-esteem, goal-fulfillment, and hardiness. The theoretical significance of the cognitive well-being model and the "positive appraisal" factor are discussed, as well as the therapeutic implications of the findings to promote well-being.
    Date of AwardNov 1997
    Original languageEnglish

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