Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences - Research Publications

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    Social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Aboriginal controlled social housing
    Brown, A ; Haregu, T ; Gee, G ; Mensah, F ; Waters, L ; Brown, SJ ; Nicholson, JM ; Hegarty, K ; Smith, D ; D'Amico, S ; Ritte, R ; Paradies, Y ; Armstrong, G (BMC, 2023-10-06)
    BACKGROUND: Little is known about the wellbeing and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in social housing. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in social housing face common social housing challenges of low income, higher incidence of mental health issues and poorer health along with specific challenges due to the impacts of colonisation and its ongoing manifestations in racism and inequity. A greater understanding of social and emotional wellbeing needs and aspirations is essential in informing the provision of appropriate support. METHODS: Surveys of social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) were completed by 95 Aboriginal people aged 16 years and older living in Aboriginal Housing Victoria social housing in 2021. The survey addressed a range of domains reflecting social and emotional wellbeing, as defined by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. RESULTS: Most respondents demonstrated a strong sense of identity and connection to family however 26% reported having 6 or more health conditions. Ill health and disability were reported to be employment barriers for almost a third of people (32%). Improving health and wellbeing (78%) was the most cited aspiration. Experiences of racism and ill health influenced engagement with organisations and correspondingly education and employment. CONCLUSION: Strong connections to identity, family and culture in Aboriginal peoples living in social housing coexist along with disrupted connections to mind, body and community. Culturally safe and appropriate pathways to community services and facilities can enhance these connections. Research aimed at evaluating the impact of strengths-based interventions that focus on existing strong connections will be important in understanding whether this approach is effective in improving SEWB in this population. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was retrospectively registered with the ISRCTN Register on the 12/7/21 with the study ID:ISRCTN33665735.
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    Evaluation of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander strengths based coaching program: a study protocol
    Brown, A ; Mensah, F ; Gee, G ; Paradies, Y ; French, S ; Waters, L ; Arabena, K ; Armstrong, G ; Nicholson, J ; Brown, SJ ; Hegarty, K ; Ritte, R ; Meiselbach, K ; Kelaher, M (BMC, 2021-07-23)
    BACKGROUND: Increasingly, strength-based approaches to health and wellbeing interventions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are being explored. This is a welcome counter to deficit-based initiatives which can represent a non-Indigenous view of outcomes of interest. However, the evidence base is not well developed. This paper presents the protocol for evaluating a strengths-based initiative which provides life coaching services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community housing tenants. The study aims to evaluate the effect of life coaching on social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) of tenants in three Victorian regions. METHODS: The More Than a Landlord (MTAL) study is a prospective cohort study of Aboriginal Housing Victoria tenants aged 16 years and over that embeds the evaluation of a life coaching program. All tenant holders in one metropolitan and two regional areas of Victoria are invited to participate in a survey of SEWB, containing items consistent with key categories of SEWB as understood and defined by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and key demographics, administered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peer researchers at baseline, 6 and 18 months. Survey participants are then invited to participate in strengths based life coaching, using the GROW model, for a duration of up to 18 months. Indigenous life coaches provide tenants with structured support in identifying and making progress towards their goals and aspirations, rather than needs. The study aims to recruit a minimum of 200 survey participants of which it is anticipated that approximately 73% will agree to life coaching. DISCUSSION: The MTAL study is a response to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and organisational requests to build the evidence base for an initiative originally developed and piloted within an Aboriginal controlled organisation. The study design aligns with key principles for research in Indigenous communities in promoting control, decision making and capacity building. The MTAL study will provide essential evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of strengths-based initiatives in promoting SEWB in these communities and provide new evidence about the relationship between strengths, resilience, self-determination and wellbeing outcomes. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was retrospectively registered with the ISRCTN Register on the 12/7/21 with the study ID: ISRCTN33665735 .
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    Does team psychological capital predict team outcomes at work?
    Waters, L ; STRAUSS, G ; Somech, A ; Haslam, N ; Dussert, D (International Journal of Wellbeing, 2020-02-01)
    This study is situated in the paradigms of positive organizational scholarship (POS) and positive organizational behaviour (POB). It draws upon the theoretical mechanisms of social learning and emotional contagion to suggest that psychological capital may spread through work teams to impact team outcomes such as performance, innovation, and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). The degree to which team psychological capital (TPsyCap) mediated the relationship between leader psychological capital (LPsyCap) and team outcomes was also tested (n = 94 teams; n = 94 leaders; n = 550 employees). Using structural equation modelling, LPsyCap and TPsyCap were both related to team-level organizational citizenship behavior, team performance, and team innovation. However, the relationship between LPsyCap and TPsyCap was not significant. These findings support the positioning of psychological capital as an important resource for optimal team functioning but also suggest that workplaces cannot expect that leaders, through their own psychological capital alone, can create team-level psychological capital. Instead, the current research suggests that other organizational initiatives and experiences are needed to enhance LPsyCap. The results contribute to a better understanding of POS and POB in general and, specifically, to the recently emerging construct of team psychological capital.
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    Perceived acceptance and work standards as predictors of work attitudes and behavior and employee psychological distress following an internal business merger
    Joslin, F ; Waters, L ; Dudgeon, P (EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LIMITED, 2010)
    Purpose This study aims to test the relationship between two measures of sociocultural adjustment (perceived acceptance and work standard) with work attitudes and behavior and with psychological distress following an internal merger of two previously distinct working groups within the one business. Design/methodology/approach A field study, using a cross‐sectional design, was used to assess the reactions of 250 employees (host employees=170; relocated employees=80) who had undergone an internal merger within a communications company. Findings Perceived acceptance and work standards following the merger were significantly related to work attitudes and behavior for both the host and the relocated employees. There was no direct relationship between perceived acceptance and work standards with psychological distress. However, work attitudes and behavior were found to mediate the indirect effect of perceived acceptance and work standards on psychological distress. Research limitations/implications The findings must be considered within the limitations of the study which include the use of a cross‐sectional design and testing within one business setting. Practical implications The research suggests that ensuring that employees from both pre‐merger groups are assisted in feeling accepted in the new culture and that both groups are giving support and resources to maintain work standards are important factors in managing post‐merger integration. Originality/value The study is the first to empirically test Berry's concepts of sociocultural adjustment, neutrality and asymmetry within an internal business merger.