Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Psychological Capital Accumulation of Middle School Students in Quake-Stricken Wenchuan

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Psychological Capital Accumulation of Middle School Students in Quake-Stricken Wenchuan

Article excerpt

Abstract

The Wenchuan earthquake has brought huge trauma to people there. Up to now, the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of the middle school students in Wenchuan is still quite apparent. Psychological capital theory is a new theory based on Positive Psychology and Positive Organizational Behavior. Psychological capital, a positive psychological state, is a potential to overcome obstacles. The present study aimed at examining the impact of psychological capital accumulation on alleviating PTSD. A total of 737 middle school students from six schools in quake -stricken region were interviewed with the Psychological capital scale for Post disaster middle school student (PCS) and Post traumatic stress disorder self-rating scale (PTSD-SS). The results showed that the accumulation of psychological capital have positive correlation with alleviate stress disorder. The results implied that people with rich psychological capital can better deal with trauma, the cultivation of resilience should be emphasized in education.

Keywords: psychological capital, stress disorder after trauma, Wenchuan earthquake

1. Introduction

On 12th May, 2008, The Wenchuan earthquake has brought huge trauma to people there. Up to now, it is rather distressing that the stress disorder of the middle school students in Wenchuan is still quite apparent. Students there have demonstrated typical symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) such as flashbacks, intense reactions, avoidance behaviors. Some students still have painful memories of the earthquake, waking up from nightmares over collapsed buildings and deceased family members. Some are unwilling to talk about the 12th May earthquake, trying to avoid mentioning it. Others are rather grieved about their deceased fellow students, feeling compunctions, having sleeping problems and easily going to rage.

Earthquake, as a trauma causing natural disaster, can easily cause various psychological troubles, of which post-traumatic stress disorder is most common, ft will pose long-term negative impact on people's health, family relationship and social relations and even hidden risks for the development of the quake stricken areas. The troubled individuals need psychological recovery.

Psychological capital refers to a positive psychological state during the development of individuals. Psychological capital emerged from as early as in the literatures of economists like Goldsmith, Veum and Darity etc, who regarded psychological capital as individual's views toward life including his attitude toward life and his ethical orientation (Goldsmith, Veum, & Darity, 1997). Goldsmith defined psychological capital as characteristics affecting productive force, which includes view on oneself, ethical orientation, self-esteem, working attitude and general view towards life. Letcher equalized psychological capital to five human characteristics. From a labor- economic perspective, Goldsmith and Veum tried to locate factors apart from labor market that can explain the wage differences. They did not give a clear definition of psychological capital, nor did they make it clear whether or not this psychological feature or attitude is positive or negative.

Seligman (2002) mentioned psychological capital in his work True Happiness. He held that all the positive psychological factors leading to positive behaviors could be counted as capital. However, it is Luthans and his colleagues (2002) that first defined psychological capital. They defined psychological capital as factors that are at centre of individual positivity, ft manifests specifically as psychological state that are in line with positive organizational behavior standards. As can be seen, psychological capital is a brand new definition that is beyond the description of human capital and social capital. It can be developed so individuals can obtain competitive edge by purposely invest in and develop it. Later, Larsen, Luthans and Youssef (2007) revised the definition of psychological capital as a positive psychological state in the growth and development of individuals. …

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