According to goal-shielding theory, after activating the pursuit of a valued goal, individuals automatically inhibit cues that lead to the activation of alternative goals. This suggests that inhibition of alternative goals plays a significant role in the process of goal pursuit. The present study investigated whether a goal-shielding effect was particularly pronounced in individuals with high dispositional optimism. College students (N=164) participated in Study 1, in which the pursuit of a valued goal (academic achievement) was activated, and participants were asked to rate its importance. The college students (N=196) participating in Study 2 first described a current goal to which they were either strongly or weakly committed. The participants in both studies were also asked to list other attributes that they were currently trying to develop. The results indicated that the individuals with high disposition optimism were likely to inhibit alternative goals when they attached high importance to an initial goal. These findings suggest that highly optimistic individual inhibit alternative goals, and that this plays a valuable role in the process of goal pursuit.
The purpose of the present study was to examine the relation between protective factors against stress, such as self-esteem, and psychological stress responses. The aperture model of stress has 4 assumptions: (a) each person has at least one aperture through which stress intrudes, (b) stress distribution follows the right half of a standardized normal distribution, (c) each aperture functions independently by receiving the stress, squaring its value as a stress response, and, finally, adding each value, and (d) stronger protective factors result in fewer apertures. The mathematical consequence is that each distribution of stress responses stratified by the strength of the protective factor proved to be followed by a χ2 distribution with degrees of freedom corresponding to the number of apertures. The model provided an excellent account of the data when negative self-esteem or optimism was used as the protective factor. The interaction of the diathesis-stress model can be derived mathematically through the aperture model of stress.
Recently, the issue of bullying has become serious and complex. In the present study, a survey on bullying was conducted; the respondents were elementary (grades 4-6, n=3,720), junior high (grades 7-9, n=3,302), and senior high school (grades 10-12, n=2,146) students. The students’ answers to questions about their experience of having been a perpetrator or recipient of bullying showed that those roles are not fixed. Further, the students’ self-reports suggested that students who have been bullied were characterized by low self-esteem and were emotionally unstable. Nonetheless, if the experience of bullying is added to this, the individuals’ self-esteem (particularly the sense of self-affirmation in human relationships) decreases even more. The results additionally suggested that the proportion of students who had considered making fun of classmates as being “not bad” or “interesting” increased with age; this tendency was greater for those with the experience of having bullied others. Absenteeism from school and suicidal ideation were particularly strongly experienced by recipients of some of the types of bullying, such as cyber-bullying, group-level disregard (shunning), and the extortion of money and goods. These painful experiences were stronger in those without the experience of having been a bully but who, rather, had only been bullied, whereas the desire for revenge was stronger in those with the experience of having been a bully. Differences based on the stage of development were also observed in the students’ reports of their reaction to observing bullying (e.g., being careful, consulting someone, or side-lining it, i.e., observing it without participating). In addition, the results indicated that the experience of having bullied others or having low self-esteem was involved even in the background of the students’ response to bullying.
Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) uses 4 types of questions: miracle, exception, scaling, and coping questions. However, cases of therapeutic failure when using these questions have been reported. Although the developers of solution-focused brief therapy have established guidelines for using the questions, one of the developers has suggested that those guidelines are insufficient. Therefore, the present study aimed to identify techniques used by proficient therapists when using the questions, and to elucidate points that have not been indicated previously. The data were collected through interviews with 10 Japanese therapists who were proficient in the use of solution-focused brief therapy, and then were analyzed using a modified grounded theory approach. The results suggested, for example, that therapists should listen to the clients’ problems prior to asking the miracle and exception questions, and that, when asking the exception questions, therapists should not act so that clients feel that the therapist is denying the existence of their problems. Finally, the present study suggested some common guidelines for all 4 types of questions, as well as specific guidelines for each type.
The present study investigated how the relation between the stress process involved in fear of interpersonal stress and daily affect might be explained by coping and a hypothesized random effect, expressed in individual differences. Twice a day for 1 week, undergraduates (2 men, 80 women; average age, 19.3 years) recorded in a diary their daily events, perceived interpersonal stress, how they coped, and positive and negative affect. The results suggested that the stress process in those experiencing interpersonal stress was expressed in relation to individual differences in the intra-personal process in relation to personality traits and coping efficacy, and that active coping and avoidance thinking were associated with within-level adjustment as delayed and immediate effects respectively, whereas distancing was associated with within-level maladjustment as an immediate effect. Also, positive reappraisal was associated with within-level maladjustment as a negative reverse effect. Furthermore, coping efficacy and neuroticism appeared to moderate the choice of coping and the effects of coping. The discussion deals with random effects in relation to individual differences in the intra-personal process as an important viewpoint when studying human nature as well as for intervention studies.
Emotion regulation is among the factors that maintain or interfere with individuals’ mental health. The authors could not find any self-rating scales that had been developed for children and adolescents that assessed rumination, problem-solving, distraction, and cognitive reappraisal simultaneously. In the absence of a suitable instrument, little research has been done on effects of emotion regulation on mental health in children and adolescents. The present authors developed the Emotion Regulation Scale for Elementary and Middle School Students (ERS-EM) by combining items measuring cognitive reappraisal and an existing scale that measures other emotion regulation strategies, such as rumination. The present study is a cross-sectional examination of the relationships of these emotion regulation strategies to depressive symptoms and aggressive behavior in 4th to 9th grade students (2,692 elementary school students, 2,629 middle school students; 2,735 boys, 2,586 girls). Factor analysis of the Emotion Regulation Scale for Elementary and Middle School Students revealed 4 factors: rumination, problem-solving, cognitive reappraisal, and distraction. This supported the construct validity of the Emotion Regulation Scale for Elementary and Middle School Students. Furthermore, rumination was associated with worse scores on depressive symptoms and aggressive behavior. Problem-solving and distraction were associated with scores indicating less depression and aggression, whereas only problem-solving was associated with alleviation of aggression. No effect of cognitive reappraisal on either depression or aggression was found.
The purposes of the present study were to develop a Subjective Social Capital Scale for University Life (SSCS-U), and to examine the reliability and validity of the scale. Factor analyses showed that the 33-item Subjective Social Capital Scale for University Life consisted of 3 factors relating to subjective social capital in relation to (a) fellows, (b) classmates, and (c) faculty; the scale showed high reproducibility of these factors. In addition, the scale was found to have high internal consistency, good test-retest reliability, and moderately high validity. For the most part, the 3 factors were associated with psychological constructions considered theoretically as having close relationships to the Subjective Social Capital Scale for University Life, that is, subjective well-being, social skills, and social capital-related behavior. The results of this study suggest that the Subjective Social Capital Scale for University Life is a reliable and valid measure for assessing subjective social capital comprehensively; this might make a useful contribution to research on social capital in university life.
Classroom climate, defined as the psychosocial characteristics of a classroom, is an important aspect of the learning environment. Recently, classroom climate has been focused on in relation to the promotion of students’ mental health and in connection with special education, as well as in attempts to prevent bullying and violence. In the present study, the Classroom Climate Inventory (CCI; Ito & Matsui, 2001, in Japanese) was revised to take into consideration recent changes in schools and social changes affecting children. New data were obtained in 2013 from 227 classrooms in 24 junior high schools located in Tokyo, and also in the Hokkaido, Tohoku, Hokuriku, Tokai, Kinki, and Kyushu areas in Japan. Differences in the scores on the CCI between the original scale and the new data were analyzed, and a new version of the CCI was developed by revising the CCI subscales with multilevel factor analysis. In addition, the criterion-related validity of the CCI was examined, and its practical usefulness illustrated through case examples of teacher consultations by comparing scores on the new and original CCI. Moreover, methods of providing feedback to teachers based on the CCI results and the possibility of identifying more detailed CCI subscales were investigated.
Authors of previously published studies have proposed several subtypes of mathematics disorder, based on neuropsychological deficiencies. In the present study, 2 standards were used to classify and examine types of mathematics disorder: (a) application of procedural knowledge skills, and (b) conceptual understanding. The participants were children (N=31; 19 boys, 12 girls; 4th to 9th graders) who had scored FIQ90 or above on the WISC-III and WISC-R tests (except for 1 of the children), and who had been given remedial education. Analysis of their test results from the standpoint of mathematical thinking identified 4 groups of mathematics disorders. The participants who were classified into 2 of the groups scored poorly on recalling numerical facts and performing calculations, and thus would be diagnosed as having a mathematic disorder. The participants classified into the other 2 groups, on the other hand, either scored poorly on allocating or dividing artifacts, or could not generate any ideas that were crucial for internalizing cognitive operations. If assessed using standard diagnostic testing, these latter participants might not be classified as having a mathematics disorder. The results of this study therefore suggest that the scope of testing that screens for mathematics disorders should be broadened to include evaluation of the children’s conceptual understanding from the perspective of mathematical thinking.
The recent increase in music outreach classes in the field of education has resulted in confusion among teachers and musicians about the educational significance of music outreach. The present study analyzed the interactions in workshop-style music outreach classes for 4th-graders, led by a woman pianist. The purpose was to capture the musician’s active and improvisational teaching actions in the process of the dialogue between the musician and the children. The analysis of these data categorized the musician’s teaching actions into 4 forms: 2 forms with scaffolding (simplification of the problem and organization of the dialogue as a focusing process) and 2 forms without scaffolding (organization of the dialogue as a divergent process and restating in other words). These results were used to draw conclusions about how the program scheduled by the musician may limit the manner of the dialogue and teaching. The discussion proposes designing a program that allows both the musician and the children to improvise.
The present study focused on a method of instruction that combined goal setting and self-graphing in time trials (test condition) to build math fluency in multiplication. The effects of this method were compared to the effects of instruction using only time trials (control condition). The experimental designs used were (a) a control group comparison, in which the participants were 3rd-graders from 2 classes, and (b) a changing criterion design, in which the participants were 4th-graders in 1 class. The target math skill was knowing the multiplication tables; the dependent variable was the number of correct answers in a 2-minute time trial. Analysis of the results for both designs indicated greater effects of the intervention in the test condition than in the control condition. Specifically, in the control group comparison, the results of an analysis of covariance showed that the scores on the post-instruction test were significantly higher in the test group than in the control group. In the changing criterion design, a linear mixed modeling analysis of the difference between the test condition scores and the maximum scores of the students in the control condition showed that the students’ results in the test condition were significantly higher than the maximum scores of the students in the control condition. Spearman’s rank correlation was used to test the relationship between the social validity of each student’s test score and that student’s increase in math fluency, defined as the difference between the student’s pre- and post-instruction scores on a test of the multiplication tables. A significant positive correlation was found only in the test condition between the increase in math fluency and scores for the statement, “I could feel that I had made progress.”
In previous studies, theorists proposed that students’ beliefs about the nature of formal and working knowledge can be changed in accordance with the view of classes. The newer view emerges through learning activities. The 2 instructions in the present research were designed to use inquiries in order to foster a constructivist’s view of classes. In Study 1, the participants were university students (N=70; 8 males, 62 females) in an introductory psychology class. The teacher had the students ask their own questions and discuss the lesson contents; the teacher provided feedback in the next lecture. The results indicated that approximately two-thirds of the students came to believe that formal knowledge was more objectively justified or that working knowledge was more contextual and applicable, whereas the remaining students came to believe that the nature of all knowledge was lower. In Study 2, the participants were also university students (N=37; 4 males, 33 females) in an introductory psychology class. In addition to the procedures used in Study 1, the teacher instructed the students to focus on the value of questioning as one way to find diversified meanings of knowledge and as an origin of knowing new things. The results suggested that the students came to believe that formal knowledge was more objectively justified or that working knowledge was more applicable. These results imply that the “pleasure” that comes from knowing other points of view is a key for opening the door leading to an amicable settlement of the conflict between the existing and newer views of classes. However, the intervention effect of a single class was limited.
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