Title page for ETD etd-08112011-164920

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Moloi, Paballo Maud Joan
Email maudpmj@gmail.com
URN etd-08112011-164920
Document Title Positive emotionality as a fortigenic quality among people with thoracic spinal cord injury
Degree Master of Arts
Department Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Dr G Viljoen Co-Supervisor
Ms M Dreckmeier-Meiring Supervisor
  • positive psychology
  • fortigenesis
  • positive emotions
  • thoracic
Date 2011-04-18
Availability unrestricted

1 Military Hospital offers health service to employees of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), South African Army (SAA), South African Air Force (SAAF), South African Navy (SAN), and the South African Military Health Services (SAHMS). Most of the SANDF employees who suffer Thoracic Spinal Cord Injuries (TSCI) are injured during their term of service in the SANDF. Individuals with spinal cord injury experience challenges related to work, family, finances, loss of independence and societal attitudinal barriers (Crewe & Krause, 2002). Some individuals adjust well to these challenges and are able to move forward in a functional and productive manner (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; 1994). This research investigated how certain thoracic spinal cord injured (TSCI) individuals managed to adjust to their rehabilitation process. The research focused on the contribution of positive emotions to the rehabilitation process.

Positive psychology focuses attention on the sources of psychological wellness, such as positive emotions and positive experience. It also focuses on individual differences in human strengths and virtues, positive institutions and what makes life worth living (Lyubomirsky & Abbe, 2005). The current study aimed to investigate how fortigenic qualities contribute to positive rehabilitation experiences for individuals with thoracic spinal cord injury.

A qualitative design using in-depth, face-to-face, semi-structured interviews was selected to explore the rehabilitation experiences of TSCI individuals. One of the basic tenets of qualitative research is the existence of multiple realities. An individual’s reality is derived from factors such as age, sex, class, ethnicity, abilities and disabilities and the way in which these factors affect life experiences (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1998). A sample of 3 respondents was selected. The respondents were members of the South African National Defence Force. The respondents were males aged between 25 and 40 years old who had been living with disability for two to three years. The TSCI individuals were interviewed to gain a better understanding of their rehabilitation experiences. The ideas that emerged from this research interview conversations were analysed through the use of an interpretive thematic analysis The findings indicate that positive emotional states facilitated positive behavioral practices such as taking initiative and adapting and coping with the challenges that come with the disability. The study demonstrated that participants’ repertoire of positive emotions acts as a remedy for negative emotions. Thus, positive emotional states were shown to influence behavioral repertoires and impact on motivation to improve the self. These factors lead to a drive to rehabilitation. Positive qualities such as gratitude, humour, optimism and resilience impacted on the ways in which the respondents created meaning about life events. This resulted in broader behavioural repertoires that led to more explorative and adaptive behaviours.

© 2011, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Moloi, PMJ 2011, Positive emotionality as a fortigenic quality among people with thoracic spinal cord injury, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-08112011-164920/ >


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