Vol. 3 No. 2 (2023)




Mothers’ wellbeing during COVID-19 in Singapore: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

Mary-Lynn, Glynis Freeman

Journal of Happiness and Health, Vol. 3 No. 2 (2023), 31 October 2023, Page 1-22

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many families around the world and particularly so among parents and their children whose well-being have been tremendously affected. Emergent research suggests that mothers tend to experience greater level of distress and struggle more in trying to manage their well-being and that of their children. However, there has been less investigation on mothers’ personal experiences during the pandemic period and particularly so a lack of research in terms of interviewing mothers in Singapore. The aim of this study was to provide an in-depth understanding of the lived experience of working mothers and their well-being—how their well-being might influence and have a greater impact on their school-going children during the COVID-19 pandemic period in Singapore. Five working mothers of school-going children between aged 8 to 12 years were recruited and participated in semi-structured interviews. The verbatim transcripts of the interviews were analysed using the interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The analysis revealed three superordinate themes: 1) The challenge of working from home, 2) Mother’s perspectives on self-care, 3) Distinctive connections between mother and children. The overall findings revealed the authentic lived experiences of working mothers—with a key focus on their first pandemic lockdown experience in Singapore—the journey they have gone through while managing both their children and work from home. This study highlighted the importance of considering mothers’ well-being that might affect their children through the way they approached them. Essentially, the need to raise awareness of mothers’ well-being in times of crisis is critical and should be considered when designing interventions to support mothers during emergency situations, and to have future studies to take this study further.

University students' sense of belonging has been greatly underrated since the pandemic, despite the fact that school belonging has been studied for many years. Due to school closings during the pandemic, college students lost the majority of their social connections at their university, and they have trouble rebuilding their social networks after the pandemic. In the present study, the mediating role of social connectedness in the relationship between life satisfaction and university sense of belonging was investigated. The University Belonging Questionnaire was consequently initially translated into Turkish. The study sample included 456 college students from a public university in Turkey, with 75% of them being female. Findings demonstrated the validity and reliability of the University Belonging Questionnaire as a tool for Turkish culture. The findings showed that life satisfaction was significantly predicted by a sense of belonging. The findings also indicated that social connectedness has an indirect but significant influence on the link between a sense of belonging and life satisfaction. Implications for future studies and practice are discussed.

Happiness Factors in Weight Loss Maintenance

Jamie Powers, Jeffrey L. Alexander

Journal of Happiness and Health, Vol. 3 No. 2 (2023), 31 October 2023, Page 37-48

Maintaining weight loss long-term is a difficult challenge for most people. Weight loss is often temporary and results in progressive weight regain. Previous research has focused on extension of weight loss methods and behavioral changes through the weight loss maintenance period without specific attention to skills specific to the maintenance phase. Further, emotional health has largely gone untested for how positive psychology influences successful long-term weight loss. We employed quantitative methodologies with a descriptive design, using individuals who self-attested to losing over 5% of their highest body weight and the Adult Hope Scale to measure participants’ perceptions of their positive motivational state in weight loss maintenance. Calculations of frequencies and percentages, including median and interquartile range where appropriate, were conducted and figures and tables were used to compare demographic statistics. The findings showed that participants scored high on levels of agency (i.e., goal-setting skills) and pathway (i.e., implementation skills) scores with high overall hope scores in relation to their successful long-term weight loss. The findings indicate potential key skills to weight loss maintenance, with positive emotional health skills being indicated as potential healthy markers for positive weight regulation long-term.

A New Lens on Improving Physical Health with Psychological Interventions: A Systematic Review

Lawrence Paddon, Hanna Kampman

Journal of Happiness and Health, Vol. 3 No. 2 (2023), 31 October 2023, Page 49-92

Increasingly health is recognised as a holistic construct that includes both mind and body. What is more, the bidirectional relationship between psychological wellbeing (PW) and physical health (PH) is becoming clearer. Psychological interventions have been shown to be effective at increasing PW and are widely accessible. However, there has not yet been a systematic synthesis of how improving PW using psychological interventions benefits PH. The aim of the study was to review the existing literature on how increasing PW via psychological interventions can improve PH, commenting on effectiveness and causal mechanisms, and suggesting directions for future research. A systematic review of peer reviewed studies was utilised. This took a broad search approach to include quantitative research concerning the impacts of psychological interventions on PH published between January 1998 and June 2022 in both clinical and non-clinical populations. From 1647 search results a total of 74 studies were included in the review with 10305 participants in total. Studies measured 139 individual PH outcomes for which 60 statistically significant effects were observed. Cognitive behavioural therapy-based interventions were most associated with both significant and non-significant effects, commonly impacting various self-report measures of PH. Positive psychology interventions (PPIs) also showed a higher proportion of significant effects. Mindfulness-based interventions had a clear link to reductions in cortisol, demonstrating significant effects in 2/3 studies. Pathways by which interventions improved PH broadly fell into three categories: 1) protect 2) reduce, and 3) produce. Within each category improvements were driven by biological, behavioural, or social support mechanisms. The present review supports the notion that psychological interventions can benefit PH and corroborates potential pathways that may drive this association. Future studies could benefit from defining PW better, thus unpacking the nuance in how targeting different areas of PW appears to impact different markers of PH.

The Impact of Blue and Green Spaces on Wellbeing: A Review of Reviews through a Positive Psychology Lens

Jolanta Burke, Darren Clarke, Jimmy O'Keeffe, Trudy Meehan

Journal of Happiness and Health, Vol. 3 No. 2 (2023), 31 October 2023, Page 93-108

The impact of blue and green spaces on wellbeing has been universally acknowledged. However, the meaning of “wellbeing” differs depending on the lens through which it is viewed. The current review of reviews considers the impact of blue and green spaces from the positive psychology perspective, which focuses on the gains in psychological outcomes (e.g., optimism, positive affect) instead of a reduction in deficits (e.g., depression, anxiety). Of the 149 systematic review and meta-analysis papers, 17 were included in the current review of reviews. The results highlighted the scarcity of systematic reviews that assess the positive outcomes of blue and green spaces and moderating factors associated with them. The existing systematic reviews identified inconsistent wellbeing frameworks, focused primarily on positive affect as an outcome of engaging in nature and disregarded eudaimonic aspects of wellbeing. Limitations of the current systematic reviews and future directions are discussed along with the implications for practice.

The purpose of this study was to identify the factors that either facilitated or complicated students' sense of school belonging and to determine the levels within the Ecological Systems Theory (EST) framework to which participants attributed these influential factors, using the Online Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (OIPA) method. The OIPA approach is a qualitative research method and was used by the researcher for data collection and analysis in this study. Data were collected online using the OIPA form. The study cohort consisted of 82 university students (65% female, 35% male) from three different state universities in different cities in Türkiye. The results of the analysis revealed 20 facilitating factors, including elements such as friendships (33%), participation in activities and events (22%), and interactions with professors (20%). The study also identified 21 barriers, including economic challenges (39%), anxiety (32%), and experiences of exclusion and being ignored (29%). Participants attributed these facilitators and barriers to different levels of Ecological Systems Theory (EST). Specifically, they associated 63% of facilitating factors and 55% of complicating factors with the individual/intrapsychic level, 20% of facilitating factors and 51% of complicating factors with the microsystem level, 8% of facilitating factors and 26% of complicating factors with the exosystem level, and 15% of facilitating factors and 55% of complicating factors with the macrosystem level. Overall, participants linked 39% of facilitating factors and 52% of complicating factors to all levels combined.

On February 6, 2023, two catastrophic earthquakes hit Turkey on the same day, which was called the biggest disaster of the last century. Following this disaster, some students living in 10 provinces affected by the earthquakes decided to leave their hometowns and continue their education in different cities. In recent years, the concepts of school belonging and school satisfaction have gained prominence in the relevant literature. However, little is known about the mechanisms that mediate the relationship between school satisfaction and school belonging. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the mediating effects of academic grit and subjective vitality on the relationship between students' school belonging and school satisfaction. The study participants consisted of middle school students who moved to another city after the earthquakes and started attending different schools in those cities. A total of 550 students participated in the study, consisting of 312 girls and 238 boys. The age of the participating students ranged from 10 to 15 years (M=12.43, SD=1.07). In the current study, the data collection instruments included a personal information form developed by the researcher, the School Belongingness Scale, the Comprehensive School Satisfaction Scale for Children, the Academic Grit Scale, and the Subjective Vitality Scale. The results of the study indicate that academic grit and subjective vitality play a significant mediating role in the relationship between school belonging and school satisfaction. In addition, all path coefficients in the current study are significantly positive. Based on the results of the study, some suggestions are offered to increase school satisfaction among middle school students.

University students’ wellbeing and mental health during COVID-19: An online photovoice approach

Sedef Ünsal Seydooğulları

Journal of Happiness and Health, Vol. 3 No. 2 (2023), 31 October 2023, Page 139-156

The pandemic has had a multifaceted impact on individuals of all age groups, giving rise to a myriad of psychological challenges and problems. This effect has been particularly pronounced among university students who harbor concerns about their education and future prospects. In these trying times of COVID-19, it is of paramount importance to discern the factors that bolster or impede the mental health and overall well-being of college students. This knowledge serves as the foundation for delivering preventive and interventional support services. The objective of this study was to identify the biopsychosocial, spiritual, and economic factors that either enhance or hinder the lives of students specializing in Islamic sciences during the COVID-19 pandemic. To achieve this, the Online Photovoice (OPV) method was employed. The study engaged 108 participants (68 female and 40 male) from an Islamic Studies Department in Turkey. The findings revealed 27 factors that facilitated well-being, including elements such as the beauty of nature, positive emotions, and the support of family and relatives. Conversely, 27 factors were identified as non-facilitating, including issues like inadequate planning and communication, confinement indoors, and the experience of negative emotions. Professionals working with college students can leverage these insights to better serve their needs and address the challenges they face. In conclusion, understanding the diverse factors that impact the lives of university students during the pandemic, both positively and negatively, is essential for guiding effective support and intervention strategies. By recognizing these facets, this study provides important implications for promoting the mental health and well-being of students, ensuring a brighter and more resilient future in the face of unprecedented challenges.