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EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND SOCIAL SUPPORT AS PREDICTORS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING AMONG UNDERGRADUATES OF EBONYI STATE UNIVERSITY

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 Background of the Study

Psychological wellbeing is an aspect of personal wellbeing which includes understanding of an individual’s persistent happiness, satisfaction with life and balance between positive and negative emotion (Elhaam, 2015). According to Hansen and Hausen (2006) Psychological wellbeing is a state of mental health in which the individual recognizes ones’s ability and use them effectively and productively and it is useful to the community that such an individual finds himself. In general. Psychological wellbeing is to create mental health for the prevention of mental illness, controlling the cause factors through early detection, and prevention of factors resulting from mental illness, recurrence and creating a healthy environment in making the appropriate human relation.

Ryff and Keyes (1995) proposed a model of psychological wellbeing in the last decade ;a model, which was widely used in the world by researchers such as (Clark, 2001, Dierendonek, 2005; Cheny and Chan, 2005; Lindfors, 2006), defines psychological wellbeing as a multi component concept and including: Autonomy, Self Acceptance Environmental Mastery, Purpose in life, Positive relation with others and Personal Growth.

  • Autonomy: this is described as the ability to exhibit autonomous functioning, and resistance to enculturation. The fully functioning person is also described as having internal locus of evaluation, whereby one does not look to others for approval but evaluates oneself by personal standards. Closely related to this is Individuation which is seen to involve a deliverance from convention, in which the person no longer clings to the collective fears, believes and laws of the masses.
  • SelfAcceptance: this is defined as a central feature of mental health as well as characteristics of self actualization, optimal functioning and maturity. It is feelings of satisfaction with one’s self despite deficiencies and regardless of past behaviours and choices. Life span theorists also emphasises the importance of acceptance of self and one’s past life. Thus, holding positive attitude towards oneself emerges as the central characteristics of positive psychological functioning and positive relation with others. Many of the preceding theories emphasize the importance of warmth, trust, interpersonal relations.
  • Environmental Mastery: This is the sense that we are able to have an influence on the events in one’s life. It symbolizes an individual’s ability to manage or create a suitable environment to accommodate his or her own personal needs and values and create an environment suitable to their own psychic condition.
  • Purpose in life: mental health is defined to include belief that gives one the feeling that there is a purpose and meaning to life. This definition of maturity also emphasizes a clear comprehension of life’s purpose, a sense of directness, and intentionality.
  • Positive Relations with Others: this is the degree to which someone has warmth, satisfaction, trusting relationship with others. It is concerned with the welfare of others. This entails an individual being capable of showing strong empathy, affection, intimacy and understanding, the give and take of human relationship.
  • Personal Growth: Optimal psychological functioning requires not only that one achieves the prior characteristics, but also that one continues to develop ones potentials, to grow and expand as a person. The need to actualize oneself oneself and realize one’s potentialities is central to the clinical perspectives on personal growth. Openness to experience, for example is a key characteristics of fully functioning person. Such an individual is continually developing and becoming, rather than achieving a fixed state wherein all problems are solved (Ryff, 1989). However, psychological well being of Undergraduates is seen as the functionalbility of Undergraduates in the six areas of positive functions, during their formative years as a student of a higher institution of learning like Universities , Polytechnics or colleges of education in a bid to obtain their first Degree (Bsc /Hnd honours). These areas as 2 mentioned above are: Autonomy, Self Acceptance, Environmental Mastery, Purpose in Life, Positive relations with others and Personal Growth. The years that someone spends in college are often one of the most stressful periods; Especially the beginning of college and often the transition from childhood to adulthood, (Burris, Brechting, Carlson, Salsman, 2009). Often these stressors can throw students off track, causing a decrease in their psychological wellbeing, (Chao, 2012). Mental health was shown as a concern through several studies. Previous research such as (Bewick, Koutsopoulou, Miles, Slaa, & Barkmam, 2010) pinpointed financial debt and/or concerns as a factor that comes into play in a student’s psychological wellbeing especially while a student is enrolled in a college program. Stressors that college students may encounter can ultimately be a factor in the development of issues such as, concentration difficulty, fatigue, eating disorders, anxiety, and other psychiatric illnesses (Burris, Brechting, Carlson, & Salsman, 2009). When psychological distress interrupts one’s life, educational tasks may be placed on hold or even forgotten. Wellbeing and adjustment to college was associated with incoming college student’s individuation from parents (Yelle, Kenyon, & Koerner, 2009). Psychological wellbeing increased with high leisure time and physical activity among University students. Hence the best wellbeing oriented lifestyle was to endorse more leisuretime & physical activity into universities (Castillio, MoliniaGarcia, & 3 Queralt, 2011). According to Burris, Brechting, Carlson, and Salsman (2009), female students were more likely to report seeking out and receiving care for psychological issues when compared to their male student counterparts. University students represent the future of families, communities, and countries. They also face the stresses of achieving success in their academic goals despite the financial constraints that many students report. University education is a period of increased responsibility for choices and healthy practices. Lifestyle characterised by unhealthy practices might not show an effect on health in the short and interim terms, but such habits‘could persist into middle and old age to inflict health hazards later in life. Indeed it is challenging for adults to modify the potentially harmful habits instigated in their youth. This is particularly relevant when unhealthy behaviours cluster together (possibly leading to comorbidities later in life).

          Indeed studies (Walid El Ansari, Christiane, Sherrill, Xiaoling, Sian , Shân , Jill, Adetunji, Mary, Pat , Ceri & Andi Mabhala 2011) have suggested that university students‘ physical and psychological/mental health and wellbeing are important and comprise a wide range of aspects. Some research showed that university students reported more health complaints than their working peers, but did not appear to seek help for these problems (Walid El Ansari et al 2011). A high prevalence of such complaints has also been documented in university students from different Universities in Nigeria which included nervousness,  headache and back ache or neck/shoulder ache, but comparative data from the Nigeria are lacking. Poor ratings of one‘s perceived health, along with self reported symptoms are often mirrored in unfavourable ratings of one‘s quality of life. Not surprisingly, students in Sweden reported lower perceived quality of life when compared with their working peers, and similar findings have been reported in the UK. Overall, it could be argued that psychosomatic health complaints and impairments in quality of life observed in university students might be associated with study related burdens and stressors. Few studies including (Mikolajczyk, R.T.; Maxwell, A.E.; El Ansari, W.; Naydenova, V.; Stock, C.; Ilieva, S.; Dudziak, U.; Naydova. 2008) have examined the perceived burdens of university students, such as the challenges of achieving good grades and competition, career and future achievements, the many demands and deadlines of course works and academic assessments, as well as the financial and health related burdens and their impact on health . Mikolajczyk, R.T.; et al (2008) concluded that perceived burdens were positively associated with higher depression scores among students, not only by mediation through perceived stress but also directly. Although university students are confronted with potential stressors as outlined above, it has also been reported that the majority of students have a high level of social support. Certainly, social support has 5 been viewed as a potential buffer against harmful effects of psychological stress and has therefore the potential of being a resource for health in this population group. Factors that influence Psychological wellbeing in undergraduate students include stress, mindfulness, self efficacy, resilience, Financial constraints, Religiosity, Coping strategies, psychological adjustment, Emotional intelligence and social support in university students. Research suggests that Individuals who experience a greater sense of wellbeing are more able to learn and assimilate information in effective ways; more likely to engage in healthy and fulfilling social behaviours; more likely to invest in their own and others’ wellbeing and in the sustainability of the planet, as they take up their social, professional and leadership roles in adulthood (Awartani, Whitman & Gordon, 2008). it is trite to say that the period of life as an undergraduate of any Higher institution of learning is most times a difficult period that is filled with environmental, emotional and psychological stressors that threaten the physical and psychological wellbeing of individuals, which may frequently leads to burnout, Inferiority complex, depression, schizophrenia, academic failure and general life dissatisfaction. Therefore the maintenance of psychological wellbeing during this phase cannot be overstated; hence the emergence of this study that seeks to identify Emotional Intelligence and social support as predictors of psychological wellbeing. 6 Emotional Intelligence is the ability or tendency to perceive, understand, regulate and harness emotions adoptively in self and others. Emotional intelligence is a dynamic construct influenced by diverse biological, psychological, and social factors. A good deal of research has been conducted on emotional intelligence and it was found to be appearing as an important factor in the prediction of personal, academic and career success. (Nishat Afroz 2016). There are currently two predominant models of Emotional Intelligence the Mixed and Ability models (Mayer, Roberts & Barsade, 2008). Mixed models describe EI as a broad conception of intelligence that combines social skills, traits, and dispositional behaviour. On the other hand, Mayer & Salovey (1997) ability model of EI involves the ability to carry out accurate reasoning about emotions and the ability to use emotions and emotional knowledge to enhance thought, thus enabling the subject to solve social problems and to adapt effectively to the environment (Mayer, Roberts & Barsade, 2008). It is to be noted that in the definition of EI, these authors distinguish four specific skills: (1) The ability

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