Focus on Positive and Negative Information as the Mediator of the Relationship between Empathy Tendency Guilty and Psychological Well-Being in University Students

Article excerpt

Abstract

In this study, the mediator effects of focus on positive and negative information on the relationship between empathic tendency, and guilty and psychological well-being in university students were investigated. The particapants were 314 student, between age range of 17-32 (M.20.93,SD:1.80) attending different departments Faculty of Education, at Pamukkale University in Turkey. The data were collected by using the scale of focus on positive and negative information, tendency of empathy, scale of guilty-shame, and the psychological well-being scale. Structural modeling analyses indicated that focus on positive information was mediated on the relationship between empathic tendency, guilty and psychological well-being. However, the focus on negative information was not the condition mediation.

Key Words

Psychological Well-being, Empathic Tendency, Guilty, Focus on Positive and Negative Information.

Behavioral Scientists have focused on positive aspects of people rather than their problem in recent years. One of the conceptualizations in this approach which is called positive psychology is psychological well-being (Seligman, 2002; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Psychological well-being was explained with a model which was developed by Ryff (1989) and which consists of six sub-aspects including establishing positive relationships with others, self-acceptance, purpose of living, self-determination, environmental dominance and personal development. Psychological well-being is an important indication of life satisfaction and is synonymous to the concept of happiness (Andrews & McKennell, 1980). Furthermore, happiness and subjective well-being can frequently be defined as identical concepts (Diener & Lucas, 2000). Therefore, happiness, subjective well-being, life satisfaction and psychological well-being are focused on by the conceptual and theoretical discussions. Psychological well-being can be defined as a general feeling of happiness (Schmutte & Ryff, 1997). Psychological well-being is associated with many positive characteristics in the literature. For example; it was determined that optimist people are psychologically better in a study by Chang and Sanna (2001). Furthermore, it was found that the levels of self-respect, life satisfaction, happiness and environmental adaptation of the individuals who are in a psychologically good condition are high (Amato & Sobolewski, 2001; Reid, 2004), and are more self-determinant (Yeh & Yang, 2006) and the perceived success thereof is higher (Cenkseven & Akbas, 2007). On the other hand, it was found that psychological well-being and negative characteristics such as being neurotic (Weinstein & Ryan, 2010) and being pessimist (Chang & Sanna, 2001; Daukantaite & Bergman, 2005) are inversely related. One of the most important factors ensuring psychological well-being is one's establishing good relationships with others. Furthermore, empathizing with others enable one to establish good relationships with others (Shanafelt et al., 2005; Thomas et al., 2007). Empathy can be defined as understanding others' emotional condition or status and as an emotional response given after understanding what others feel or may feel in a certain condition (Eisenberg et al., 1998). Davis (1983) explains empathy with a model consisting of four aspects. The four aspects of his model are as follows: taking opinions of others which constitutes the cognitive aspect of empathy, empathic concern which constitutes the emotional aspect of empathy, imaginary participation and personal stress.

It was found that empathy facilitates the relationship between people (Granello, 1999) as well as functioning as a buffer in decreasing aggression (Björkqvist, Österman, & Kaukiainen, 2000; Kaukiainen et al., 1999) and increasing social popularity (Vitaglione & Barnett, 2003). More importantly, it was found that the psychological well-being of the individuals with emphatic tendencies is higher (Shanafelt et al. …

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