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Moments of meaning – Towards an assessment of protective and risk factors for existential vulnerability among young women with mental ill-health concerns: A mixed methods project in clinical psychology of religion and existential health
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology. (IMPACT research)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1165-8719
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present sequential mixed-methods project was conducted in the area of clinical psychology of religion and existential health. The central aim of the project was to investigate clinically relevant areas for an assessment of protective and risk factors for existential vulnerability and dysfunctional existential meaning-making in a clinical sample of young women with mental ill-health concerns. Three theoretical areas were applied and operationalized for the project: Existential meaning-making; Ontological security; and, Emotion regulation. The sample was composed of female participants at an outpatient psychodynamic psychotherapy clinic for young adults in Sweden, with depression as the most common preliminary diagnosis. Study I, quantitative, comprised an online questionnaire of established assessment-measures, completed by 53 women (17–30 y., M = 22.4 y.). Depression-related personality traits were explored as possible underlying variables when studying relations between mental ill-health and a dysfunctional existential meaning-making process, by comparing groups pertaining to different levels of depression-related personality traits to explore possible differences between groups in the areas studied. Study II, qualitative, comprised an in-depth interview, with a subgroup (n = 10; range 21-25 y, M=22.7) drawn from the preceding study, and representative of those high on depression-related scales. Interrelations between existential meaning-making and emotion regulation were explored in relation to everyday life, critical life-events, and ultimate concerns through a systematic text condensation process. Study III, multi-method, comprised several assessment steps of data from the subgroup, and an assessment of inter-rater reliability (IRR). Possible functional factors (protective) and dysfunctional factors (risk) for mental ill-health were explored through an assessment of Existential worldview function, by the exploration of interrelations among existential worldview, ontological security and self-concept. According to our hypothesis, high scores on the depression-related personality scale Inhibition of aggression were strongly associated with a less functional existential meaning-making process in this sample of young clinical females. Among the High scorers, a crisis of meaning was found in terms of weak or no access to sufficient cultural knowledge or existential resources in intergenerational, emotionally-nurturing relationships. Results further indicated a general lack of an operating existential worldview accompanied by little or no reflection on existential worldview matters among a majority of the subjects and their parents.

Abstract [sv]

Detta sequential mixed-methods projekt genomfördes inom området för klinisk religionspsykologi och existentiell hälsa. Det centrala syftet med studien var att undersöka kliniskt relevanta områden för en bedömning av skydds- och riskfaktorer för existentiell sårbarhet och dysfunktionellt existentiellt meningsskapande i ett kliniskt urval av unga kvinnor med psykisk ohälsa. Tre teoretiska områden applicerades och operationaliserades för studien: Existentiellt meningsskapande; Ontologisk trygghet; och Känsloreglering. Undersökningsgruppen bestod av kvinnliga deltagare vid en psykodynamisk psykoterapimottagning för unga vuxna i Sverige, med depression som den vanligaste preliminära diagnosen. Studie I, kvantitativ, bestod av en online-enkät med etablerade bedömningsinstrument, som besvarades av 53 kvinnor (17-30 år, M = 22,4 år). Depressionsrelaterade personlighetsdrag utforskades som möjliga underliggande variabler i relationen mellan psykisk ohälsa och en dysfunktionell existentiellt meningsskapande process, genom en jämförelse av grupper med olika nivåer av depressionsrelaterade personlighetsdrag, avseende de undersökta områdena. Studie II, kvalitativ, omfattade en djupintervju med ett urval av informanter (n = 10, intervall 21-25 y, M = 22,7) från den föregående studien, representativa för dem med höga värden på depressionsrelaterade personlighetsskalor. Interrelationer mellan existentiellt meningsskapande och känsloreglering undersöktes i förhållande till vardagsliv, kritiska livshändelser och livets yttersta frågor genom en systematisk textkondenseringsprocess. Studie III, multimetod, omfattade flera bedömningssteg av data från urvalsgruppen, och en bedömning av interbedömarreliabilitet (IRR). Möjliga funktionella (skydds-) faktorer och dysfunktionella (risk-) faktorer för psykisk ohälsa undersöktes via den Existentiella världsbildens funktion, operationaliserad som sambandet mellan existentiell världsbild, ontologisk trygghet och självbild. Enligt vår hypotes var höga värden på den depressionsrelaterade personlighetsskalan Aggressionshämning starkt relaterade till en mindre funktionell existentiellt meningsskapande process i detta urval av unga kliniska kvinnor. Bland dem med höga värden framträdde en meningskris med avseende på svag eller ingen tillgång till tillräckliga kulturella eller existentiella resurser i intergenerationella, känslomässigt stödjande relationer. Resultatet indikerade vidare en generell brist på en utvecklad och funktionell existentiell världsbild åtföljd av en låg grad av reflektion gällande existentiella världsbildsfrågor bland majoriteten av informanterna och deras föräldrar.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2018. , p. 135
Series
Psychologia et sociologia religionum, ISSN 0283-149X ; 26
Keyword [en]
Clinical population, depression, anxiety, existential anxiety, internalized symptoms, crisis of meaning, inhibition of aggression, identity, meaning-making, emotion regulation, sense of coherence, self-concept, disruption and repair, high affective moments, existential worldview function, ontological security, belonging, loneliness, sacredness, death
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Research subject
Psychology of Religion
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-333586ISBN: 978-91-513-0181-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-333586DiVA, id: diva2:1163769
Public defence
2018-02-02, Room IV, University Main Building, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Faculty of Theology) in psychology of religion

Available from: 2018-01-12 Created: 2017-12-08 Last updated: 2018-03-07
List of papers
1. Psychological and existential vulnerability among clinical young women: a quantitative comparison of depression-related subgroups
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psychological and existential vulnerability among clinical young women: a quantitative comparison of depression-related subgroups
2015 (English)In: Mental Health, Religion & Culture, ISSN 1367-4676, E-ISSN 1469-9737, Vol. 18, no 4, p. 259-272Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The objective was to explore psychological and existential vulnerability among clinical young women in Sweden. Females (n = 53) with depression as the most common preliminary diagnosis were investigated through an online questionnaire. Included measures were Karolinska Scales of Personality, Self-concept, Strategies to Handle Negative Emotions, Sense of Coherence, and questions pertaining to existential meaning-making, including religious/spiritual belief. The sample was divided into High (n = 35) and Low/Inter (n = 18) groups according to scores on the anxiety- and depression-related personality scale Inhibition of aggression. Using independent samples t-test, the High group showed signs of significantly higher psychological and existential vulnerability than the Low/Inter group. Salutogenic factors being (1) coming from socially and societally engaged families and (2) being in a functional existential meaning-making process. The conclusion is that vulnerabilities in the psychological and existential domains are linked, especially in individuals high on depression-like aspects of personality. However, no significant differences for religion/spirituality were found. Treatment implications were addressed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge Mental Health, 2015
Keyword
Clinical young women; psychological vulnerability; existential meaning-making; depression; sense of coherence; self-concept; emotion regulation
National Category
Psychiatry Religious Studies
Research subject
Psychology of Religion
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-276769 (URN)10.1080/13674676.2015.1021313 (DOI)000356237600003 ()
Available from: 2016-02-15 Created: 2016-02-15 Last updated: 2017-12-08
2. Emotion Regulation and Existential Meaning-Making in Young Women with Mental Ill-Health Concerns–A Qualitative Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Emotion Regulation and Existential Meaning-Making in Young Women with Mental Ill-Health Concerns–A Qualitative Study
2016 (English)In: Psychological and Behavioral Sciences International Journal, Vol. 1, no 1, p. 001-010Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Increasing rates of psychiatric problems, like anxiety, worry, and anguish among Swedish youth–especially among females, are considered a serious public mental health concern. To explore psychological and existential vulnerability and needs among female youths with mental ill-health concerns, a qualitative in-depth interview study was done with a sample comprised of ten females on the waiting-list at an outpatient psychotherapy clinic. In relation to everyday life, critical events, and ultimate concerns, two areas were explored: Emotion regulation and Existential meaning-making, and their interrelations were examined. Results indicated that these areas appear to be strongly related processes in this sample, possibly due to frequent experiences of relational losses and disruptions. Such experiences, if not repaired, might fuel existential issues like fear of death, loneliness, and alienation, increasing the vulnerability for mental ill-health. Psychotherapeutic implications were discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Juniper Publisher, 2016
Keyword
Emotion regulation – existential meaning-making – moments of meaning – young women – mental health
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Psychology of Religion
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-315272 (URN)
Available from: 2017-02-13 Created: 2017-02-13 Last updated: 2017-12-08
3. An Assessment of Existential Worldview Function among Young Women at Risk for Depression and Anxiety—A Multi-Method Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Assessment of Existential Worldview Function among Young Women at Risk for Depression and Anxiety—A Multi-Method Study
2017 (English)In: Archive for the Psychology of Religion/ Archiv für Religionspsychologie, ISSN 0084-6724, E-ISSN 1573-6121, Vol. 39, no 2, p. 165-203Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Increasing rates of psychiatric problems like depression and anxiety among Swedish youth, predominantly among females, are considered a serious public mental health concern. Multiple studies confirm that psychological as well as existential vulnerability manifest in different ways for youths in Sweden. This multi-method study aimed at assessing existential worldview function by three factors: 1) existential worldview, 2) ontological security, and 3) self-concept, attempting to identify possible protective and risk factors for mental ill-health among female youths at risk for depression and anxiety. The sample comprised ten females on the waiting list at an outpatient psychotherapy clinic for teens and young adults. Results indicated that both functional and dysfunctional factors related to mental health were present, where the quality and availability of significant interpersonal relations seemed to have an important influence. Examples of both an impaired worldview function and a lack of an operating existential worldview were found. Psychotherapeutic implications are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Brill Academic Publishers, 2017
Keyword
existential worldview function, ontological security, self-concept, young women, meaning, belonging, depression, anxiety
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Religious Studies Psychology
Research subject
Psychology of Religion
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-333574 (URN)10.1163/15736121-12341337 (DOI)000408056700004 ()
Available from: 2017-11-15 Created: 2017-11-15 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

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