Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Research Publications

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    Living in the Past, Present, and Future: Measuring Temporal Orientation with Language.
    Park, G ; Schwartz, HA ; Sap, M ; Kern, ML ; Weingarten, E ; Eichstaedt, JC ; Berger, J ; Stillwell, DJ ; Kosinski, M ; Ungar, LH ; Seligman, ME (Wiley, 2016)
    Temporal orientation refers to individual differences in the relative emphasis one places on the past, present, or future, and is related to academic, financial, and health outcomes. We propose and evaluate a method for automatically measuring temporal orientation through language expressed on social media. METHOD: Judges rated the temporal orientation of 4,302 social media messages. We trained a classifier based on these ratings, which could accurately predict the temporal orientation of new messages in a separate validation set (accuracy/mean sensitivity = .72; mean specificity = .77). We used the classifier to automatically classify 1.3 million messages written by 5,372 participants (50% female, aged 13-48). Finally, we tested whether individual differences in past, present, and future orientation differentially related to gender, age, Big Five personality, satisfaction with life, and depressive symptoms. RESULTS: Temporal orientations exhibit several expected correlations with age, gender, and Big Five personality. More future-oriented people were older, more likely to be female, more conscientious, less impulsive, less depressed, and more satisfied with life; present orientation showed the opposite pattern. CONCLUSION: Language-based assessments can complement and extend existing measures of temporal orientation, providing an alternative approach and additional insights into language and personality relationships.
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    Leader autonomy support in the workplace: A meta-analytic review
    Slemp, GR ; Kern, ML ; Patrick, KJ ; Ryan, RM (SPRINGER/PLENUM PUBLISHERS, 2018-10-01)
    Leader autonomy support (LAS) refers to a cluster of supervisory behaviors that are theorized to facilitate self-determined motivation in employees, potentially enabling well-being and performance. We report the results of a meta-analysis of perceived LAS in work settings, drawing from a database of 754 correlations across 72 studies (83 unique samples, N = 32,870). Results showed LAS correlated strongly and positively with autonomous work motivation, and was unrelated to controlled work motivation. Correlations became increasingly positive with the more internalized forms of work motivation described by self-determination theory. LAS was positively associated with basic needs, well-being, and positive work behaviors, and was negatively associated with distress. Correlations were not moderated by the source of LAS, country of the sample, publication status, or the operationalization of autonomy support. In addition, a meta-analytic path analysis supported motivational processes that underlie LAS and its consequences in workplaces. Overall, our findings lend support for autonomy support as a leadership approach that is consistent with self-determination and optimal functioning in work settings.
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    Latent human traits in the language of social media: An open-vocabulary approach
    Kulkarni, V ; Kern, ML ; Stillwell, D ; Kosinski, M ; Matz, S ; Ungar, L ; Skiena, S ; Schwartz, HA ; Danforth, CM (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2018-11-28)
    Over the past century, personality theory and research has successfully identified core sets of characteristics that consistently describe and explain fundamental differences in the way people think, feel and behave. Such characteristics were derived through theory, dictionary analyses, and survey research using explicit self-reports. The availability of social media data spanning millions of users now makes it possible to automatically derive characteristics from behavioral data-language use-at large scale. Taking advantage of linguistic information available through Facebook, we study the process of inferring a new set of potential human traits based on unprompted language use. We subject these new traits to a comprehensive set of evaluations and compare them with a popular five factor model of personality. We find that our language-based trait construct is often more generalizable in that it often predicts non-questionnaire-based outcomes better than questionnaire-based traits (e.g. entities someone likes, income and intelligence quotient), while the factors remain nearly as stable as traditional factors. Our approach suggests a value in new constructs of personality derived from everyday human language use.
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    The Japanese Workplace PERMA-Profiler: A validation study among Japanese workers
    Watanabe, K ; Kawakami, N ; Shiotani, T ; Adachi, H ; Matsumoto, K ; Imamura, K ; Matsumoto, K ; Yamagami, F ; Fusejima, A ; Muraoka, T ; Kagami, T ; Shimazu, A ; Kern, ML (WILEY, 2018-09-01)
    OBJECTIVES: Although well-being at work is important for occupational health, multi-dimensional workplace well-being measures do not exist for Japanese workers. The purpose of this study was to investigate the validity of the Japanese version of the Workplace PERMA-Profiler. METHODS: Japanese workers completed online surveys at baseline (N = 310) and 1 month later (N = 100). The Workplace PERMA-Profiler was translated according to international guidelines. Job and life satisfaction, work engagement, psychological distress, work-related psychosocial factors, and work performance were measured as comparisons for convergent validity. Cronbach's alphas, Intra-class Correlation Coefficients (ICCs), and measurement errors were calculated for the reliability, and the validity of the measure was tested by correlational analyses and confirmatory factor analysis. RESULTS: A total of 310 (baseline) and 86 (follow-up) workers responded and were included in the analyses. Cronbach's alphas and ICCs of the Japanese Workplace PERMA-Profiler ranged from 0.75 to 0.96. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the 5-factor model demonstrated a marginally acceptable fit (χ2 (80) = 351.30, CFI = 0.892, TLI = 0.858, RMSEA = 0.105, SRMR = 0.051). Overall well-being and the five PERMA domains had moderate-to-strong correlations with job satisfaction, psychological distress (inversely), and work-related factors. CONCLUSIONS: The Japanese version of the Workplace PERMA-Profiler demonstrated adequate reliability and validity. This measure could be useful to assess well-being at work, promote well-being research among Japanese workers, and address the problem of definition for well-being in further studies.
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    The Chinese EPOCH Measure of Adolescent Wellbeing: Further Testing of the Psychometrics of the Measure
    Zeng, G ; Kern, ML (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2019-07-03)
    Given the enormous population of Chinese-speaking people worldwide, it is important to establish measures of adolescent wellbeing with adequate evidence for reliability and validity. The EPOCH Measure of Adolescent Wellbeing assesses five positive psychological characteristics (engagement, perseverance, optimism, connectedness, and happiness). An initial study with the English version of the measure found support for a five-factor structure, and evidence for internal reliability, convergence with other wellbeing measures, and divergence across factors and with unrelated constructs. An initial study translated the measure into Chinese and found support for the factor structure of the measure. To further test the measure's psychometric properties, data were collected from 11 Chinese student samples (N = 17,854) from several regions of China. All students completed the EPOCH measure, along with a variety of other measures. In cases where measures overlapped, samples were combined, with relevant sub-sets used to examine convergent and divergent patterns. Confirmatory analyses supported the five-factor structure and factors were internally reliable, but consistency over time was low. The five factors were more strongly correlated with other wellbeing factors than with illbeing factors. While some correlations demonstrated expected convergent and divergent patterns with other constructs, there were also considerable deviations from expected patterns. Norm values specific to the Chinese version of the measure are provided. The study supports the EPOCH measure as a useful cross-sectional tool for measuring adolescent positive functioning, but additional consideration of cross time stability, change, and correlations with other constructs is needed.
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    Social media-predicted personality traits and values can help match people to their ideal jobs
    Kern, ML ; McCarthy, PX ; Chakrabarty, D ; Rizoiu, M-A (NATL ACAD SCIENCES, 2019-12-26)
    Work is thought to be more enjoyable and beneficial to individuals and society when there is congruence between one's personality and one's occupation. We provide large-scale evidence that occupations have distinctive psychological profiles, which can successfully be predicted from linguistic information unobtrusively collected through social media. Based on 128,279 Twitter users representing 3,513 occupations, we automatically assess user personalities and visually map the personality profiles of different professions. Similar occupations cluster together, pointing to specific sets of jobs that one might be well suited for. Observations that contradict existing classifications may point to emerging occupations relevant to the 21st century workplace. Findings illustrate how social media can be used to match people to their ideal occupation.
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    An Integrative Approach to Evaluating the Implementation of Social and Emotional Learning and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Education
    Cahill, H ; Kern, M ; Dadvand, B ; Walter Cruickshank, E ; Midford, M ; Smith, C ; Farrelly, A ; Oades, L (University of Malta, 2019)
    Evaluation studies often use stand-alone and summative assessment strategies to examine the impacts of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Gender-based Violence (GBV) prevention education programs. However, implementation research is yet to offer an integrative framework that can be used to investigate the implementation drivers that lead to the uptake of programs that pursue SEL and GBV prevention agendas. We address this gap in research by presenting a framework developed to investigate factors affecting the implementation of the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships program, an SEL and GBV prevention education program developed for primary and secondary schools in the state of Victoria, Australia. Drawing upon and advancing a conceptual framework for implementation fidelity proposed by Carroll and colleagues we discuss the iterative process designed to investigate the individual, school and system level factors within the wider political and ideological setting(s) of the program that impact on its implementation. Within this iterative process, we highlight the need to focus on ‘the ecology of relations’ that exists between various implementation elements, and their possible mediating impact on program delivery, uptake and outcomes.
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    Contemplative Interventions and Employee Distress: A Meta‐Analysis
    Slemp, G ; Jach, H ; Chia, A ; Loton, D ; Kern, M (Wiley, 2019)
    Mindfulness, meditation, and other practices that form contemplative interventions are increasingly offered in workplaces to support employee mental health. Studies have reported benefits across various populations, yet researchers have expressed concerns that adoption of such interventions has outpaced scientific evidence. We reappraise the extant literature by meta‐analytically testing the efficacy of contemplative interventions in reducing psychological distress in employees (meta‐analyzed set: k = 119; N = 6,044). Complementing other reviews, we also examine a range of moderators and the impact of biases that could artificially inflate effect sizes. Results suggested interventions were generally effective in reducing employee distress, yielding small to moderate effects that were sustained at last follow‐up. Effects were moderated by the type of contemplative intervention offered and the type of control group utilized. We also found evidence of publication bias, which is likely inflating estimated effects. Uncontrolled single sample studies were more affected by bias than large or randomized controlled trial studies. Adjustments for publication bias lowered overall effects. Overall, our review supports the effectiveness of contemplative interventions in reducing employee distress, but there is a need for proactive strategies to mitigate artificially inflated effect sizes and thus avoid the misapplication of contemplative interventions in work settings.
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    Corrigendum: Exploring Selective Exposure and Confirmation Bias as Processes Underlying Employee Work Happiness: An Intervention Study (vol 7, pg 878, 2016)
    Williams, P ; Kern, ML ; Waters, L (Frontiers Media, 2017-02-13)
    [This corrects the article on p. 878 in vol. 7, PMID: 27378978.]. There was a mistake in the Intervention group values at Times 1 and 2 in Table 1. The correct version of Table 1 appears below. The authors apologize for the mistake. This error does not change the scientific conclusions of the article in any way.
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    The Role and Reprocessing of Attitudes in Fostering Employee Work Happiness: An Intervention Study
    Williams, P ; Kern, ML ; Waters, L (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2017-01-19)
    This intervention study examines the iterative reprocessing of explicit and implicit attitudes as the process underlying associations between positive employee attitudes (PsyCap), perception of positive organization culture (organizational virtuousness, OV), and work happiness. Using a quasi-experimental design, a group of school staff (N = 69) completed surveys at three time points. After the first assessment, the treatment group (n = 51) completed a positive psychology training intervention. Results suggest that employee PsyCap, OV, and work happiness are associated with one another through both implicit and explicit attitudes. Further, the Iterative-Reprocessing Model of attitudes (IRM) provides some insights into the processes underlying these associations. By examining the role and processes through which explicit and implicit attitudes relate to wellbeing at work, the study integrates theories on attitudes, positive organizational scholarship, positive organizational behavior and positive education. It is one of the first studies to apply the theory of the IRM to explain associations amongst PsyCap, OV and work happiness, and to test the IRM theory in a field-based setting. In applying attitude theory to wellbeing research, this study provides insights to mechanisms underlying workplace wellbeing that have not been previously examined and in doing so responds to calls for researchers to learn more about the mechanisms underlying wellbeing interventions. Further, it highlights the need to understand subconscious processes in future wellbeing research and to include implicit measures in positive psychology interventions measurement programs. Practically, this research calls attention to the importance of developing both the positive attitudes of employees and the organizational culture in developing employee work happiness.