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Sarah Bell-Booth

Doctor of Clinical Psychology
Study Completed: 2010
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Enhancing explanatory style well-being and cognitive coping in older adults: A preliminary investigation

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

As the population of older people continues to increase, it is important to explore ways of maintaining and improving their well-being, as this may reduce strain on mental health services. Mrs Bell-Booth found that a realistic level of optimistic explanatory style is beneficial for the well-being of community-dwelling older adults, given the specific challenges they face. She also identified adaptive coping strategies, such as positive reappraisal, that should be enhanced in cognitive therapy to replace maladaptive strategies such as catastrophising and blaming. In addition, Mrs Bell-Booth conducted a controlled experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of a one-month self-help intervention focused on optimism. This intervention significantly increased optimistic explanatory style in the most pessimistic older adults and qualitative results showed that it was valuable for putting problems into perspective and for reappraising them.

Professor Janet Leathem
Associate Professor John Podd
Dr Ruth Tarrant

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