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Bonding from Afar: The Effects of a Writing Micro-intervention on Perceived Child-Parent Connectedness and Personal Well-being

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Previous studies about well-being have examined either gratitude’s or social connectedness’ relationship to subjective well-being. The aim of this randomized control trial was to examine the efficacy of a gratitude-based

Previous studies about well-being have examined either gratitude’s or social connectedness’ relationship to subjective well-being. The aim of this randomized control trial was to examine the efficacy of a gratitude-based writing micro-intervention in enhancing felt social connectedness and well-being between young adults and their parents. The trial tested the impact of engaging in gratitude-based writing about family members or enhanced caretakers on measures of social connectedness and well-being between grown children and their parents. Data from a pool of social work students in the Southwest (N=148) were used. Results revealed within-subject effects and between subject effects for psychological well-being from pretest to one month follow-up, with the intervention group reporting significantly higher psychological well-being than the control group. Results also revealed slight mean differences from pretest to posttest for perceptions of family relationships, with the intervention group reporting approaching significant better perceptions of family relationships than the control group at posttest. Findings from the study indicate that engaging in gratitude-based writing about family can improve perceptions of psychological well-being and may improve social connectedness to family.

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  • 2018

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Relationship Fit: Fitness Clients’ Experiences of Self-Expansion by Working with a Certified Personal Trainer

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Personal training is a growing industry as individuals across the U.S. face increasing levels of physical and psychological health issues. Hiring a certified personal trainer (CPT) presents an opportunity to

Personal training is a growing industry as individuals across the U.S. face increasing levels of physical and psychological health issues. Hiring a certified personal trainer (CPT) presents an opportunity to not only become healthier, but also to grow one’s knowledge and abilities; researchers refer to this process as self-expansion. This research sought to specify a path model of the self-expansion process clients experience while training with their CPT. Secondly, this research described clients’ self-reported disclosure patterns with their CPT. Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and ResearchMatch, the study sampled N = 392 U.S. residents who reported training with a CPT. Results from the path analysis indicated poor global fit; however, local fit supported several statistically significant paths. Clients’ level of internal motivation was positively associated with their self-disclosure, self-expansion, and self-pruning. Clients’ self-disclosure was positively associated with perceived closeness with their CPT. Contrary to prediction, clients’ perceived closeness was negatively associated with perceived support from their CPT. However, clients’ perceived closeness and perceived levels of support were both positively associated with their reported levels of self-expansion. Regarding clients’ disclosures, results indicated that clients primarily discuss physical training, diet and nutrition, and health concerns. Thematic analysis of self-reported disclosure examples revealed discussion topics including body dysmorphia, loss and grief, mental health, personal relationships, physical health, professionalism, support seeking, trainer sharing, and trust. Theoretical implications for the self-expansion model include support for additional variables in the self-expansion process, including motivation, self-disclosure, perceived support, and self-pruning. Additionally, practical recommendations for CPTs include an awareness of the type of relationship that clients may desire, as closeness may inhibit perceptions of support with training. Further, CPTs should be aware of the disclosures they may encounter, as clients may share intimate information and seek social support. As such, training programs should include sections on active listening and empathy and require CPTs to be knowledgeable of community resources in the event of a disclosure that presents a serious health risk to the client. Additional research is necessary, particularly to investigate closeness in the self-expansion process, as it did not function as expected within service and professional relationships.

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  • 2021