Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Research Publications
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ItemChinese international students' conceptualizations of wellbeing: A prototype analysisHuang, L ; Kern, MLL ; Oades, LGG (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2022-08-24)Wellbeing can mean different things to different people, even in the same culture with the same language. People living at the intersection of two languages and cultures, such as Chinese students studying in an English-speaking nation, not only speak a different language than their host country, but also may have different conceptualizations of wellbeing itself. This study investigated Chinese international students' (aged 18-39, N = 123) conceptualizations of wellbeing using a modified prototype analysis, which provided insights on people's underlying structure of the construct as revealed through language. Chinese international students' conceptualizations of wellbeing were prototypically structured; key components of wellbeing included positive relationships, security, positivity/optimism, physical health, and self-strength. The findings broaden the understanding of layperson wellbeing conceptualizations, provide insights into the wellbeing related concepts and language that are most used by international Chinese students, and inform strategies that tertiary education institutions might adopt to effectively support Chinese international students' wellbeing.
ItemThe VIVA Sustainable Work Engagement Model: A Conceptual Introduction and Preliminary Test Over Three YearsIgnjatovic, C ; Kern, ML ; Oades, LG (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-08)Abstract Vital engagement has been described as a focused, meaningful, and active relationship with work across one’s lifetime (Nakamura, 2001, 2014). Theoretically, vital engagement goes beyond short-term interest and engagement in one’s work, representing instead an ongoing, homeostatic sense of engagement that sustainably occurs across years and decades. However, it is unclear how vital engagement manifests in the modern workplace. In the footsteps of Nakamura (2014), we present the VIVA model, which conceptualizes sustainable work engagement as comprised of four mutually reinforcing elements: virtue, involvement, vitality, and acceptance. We first describe the rationale and conceptual underpinnings of the model. Then, we provide a preliminary empirical test of the model using archival data collected from a panel of school staff (N = 327) assessed five times over a three year period. Based on available data, the VIVA domains were operationalized as strengths use, work-related flow experiences, subjective vitality, and a sense of meaning in life. Using structural equation modelling, results provided preliminary support for the hypothesized model, which was relatively stable over time despite changes and challenges occurring in the school. The construct was strongly correlated with but distinct from other wellbeing measures. Although additional testing with measures that specifically align with the four theoretical dimensions is needed, the results support the relevance of the VIVA model in defining specific domains that can be supported in the workplace to help employees sustainably thrive.
ItemStrengthening University Student Wellbeing: Language and Perceptions of Chinese International StudentsHuang, L ; Kern, ML ; Oades, LG (MDPI, 2020-08-01)Students at the tertiary education level in Australia are at increased risk of experiencing high levels of psychological distress, with international students at particularly high risk for poor adjustment. As mental health and wellbeing strongly correlate with students' academic performance and general overseas experience, a growing number of studies focus on what universities can do to effectively support students' wellbeing. However, assumptions are made about what wellbeing is, strategies primarily focus on treating mental ill-health, and treatment approaches fail to account for cultural differences. This study aimed to explore how Chinese international students understand wellbeing, the language used about and for wellbeing, and activities that students believe strengthen their own and others' wellbeing. Eighty-four Chinese international students completed the online survey, and a subset of 30 students participated in semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed using thematic, phenomenographic, and language analyses. Physical health and mental health appeared as the key components that participants believed defined wellbeing, and intrapersonal activities were perceived as the primary approach used to strengthen wellbeing. Findings help broaden the understanding of wellbeing concept from the population of tertiary students, identify students' perspectives of activities that strengthen their wellbeing, offer a snapshot of the language used by Chinese students around wellbeing, and provide new data of population health through a wellbeing lens.