Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Stressful Life Events and Irrational Beliefs as Predictors of Psychological Wellbeing among Early Adolescent Girls in Pune, India

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Stressful Life Events and Irrational Beliefs as Predictors of Psychological Wellbeing among Early Adolescent Girls in Pune, India

Article excerpt

Early adolescence phase is characterized by various physical, sexual, psychosocial changes and developmental issues related to it (Berk, 2003). These rapid psychophysiological changes as well as changed demands from the society are crucial to Psychological Wellbeing of the adolescent. Period of maturity differs across genders universally. Girls are early maturers than boys, so does wellbeing issue differ for both sexes pertaining to same age group (Benet & Guzman, 2001). Focus of current study is on early adolescent girls and their wellbeing.

Psychological Wellbeing encompasses range of negative mental states or psychological strains, such as, anxiety, depression, frustration, emotional exhaustion, unhappiness, dissatisfaction to a state which has been identified as positive mental health (Jahoda, 1958; Warr, 1978). Much research work done in 20th century highlights on negative aspects of wellbeing. Very recently complete mental health or Well-being is defined as combination of high levels of symptoms of emotional wellbeing, psychological wellbeing, and social wellbeing as well as the absence of mental illness (Keyes & Lopez, 2002). Drawn on theories in personality and clinical psychology, Ryff (1989) conceptualizes Psychological Wellbeing in terms of positive indicators; self acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, purpose of life, environmental mastery and personal growth. These dimensions encompass positive functioning of an individual during life span.

Stressful Life Events and Wellbeing

Stressful life events were defined as occurrences that were likely to bring about readjustment-requiring changes in people's usual activities (Holmes & Rahe, 1967). Voluminous literature documents that stressful life events are linked to low Psychological Wellbeing in both crosssectional and longitudinal research (Breslau, 2002; Brown & Harris, 1989; Dohrenwend & Dohrenwend, 1974; Grant, Compas, Thurm, Mc-Mahon, & Gipson, 2004; Gunderson & Rahe, 1974; Paykel, 1974; Rahe & Arthur, 1978). Research conducted in Indian setup with children and adolescents also confirms role of stressful life events in developing psychological disturbance in school as well as in clinical setup (Shenoy, 1992; Dalal, 1989; Arulmani, 1989; Malhotra, Kaur & Nehra, 1992). Although stressful experiences have deleterious effect on Psychological Wellbeing, more complex moderator models assume mediating role of specific subject variables, such as, neuroticism (Maddi, Bartone, & Puccetti, 1987), self esteem (Orth, Robins & Meier, 2009), attribution (Abramson,1978), cognition (Beck,1972) and irrational beliefs (Weare, Zwemer, Jerry & Deffenbacher, 1984).

Role of Irrational Beliefs in Psychological Wellbeing

Model of Rational Emotive Behavior Theory (REBT) also conceptualizes mediating role of irrational beliefs as it is stated in ABC model. According to this model, upsetting emotional consequences (C) do not follow directly from activating events (A); rather, the influence of activating events on emotional consequences is mediated by the individual's beliefs (B). Ellis, (2005) has outlined a set of beliefs postulated to be the most common sources of emotional distress. Ellis (2005) argues that these beliefs lead individuals to view events as very distressing and to respond accordingly. Based on this model, many studies hypothesized and proved the mediating role of irrational beliefs in emotional disturbance and in turn psychological wellbeing. Research indicates positive correlation between various mental illnesses, such as, depression, anxiety and irrational beliefs (Bernard, 1990; Bernard & Cronin, 1999).

Thus it is evident in research literature that stressful life events and irrational beliefs are the predictors of Psychological Wellbeing. Most of the studies as mentioned above consider negative indicators of Psychological Wellbeing, such as, depression, anxiety. Only recently positive indicators of Psychological Wellbeing are theorized in the domain of positive psychology. …

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