Date of Award

Spring 4-13-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

John W. Thoburn, Ph.D.

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Lynette H. Bikos, Ph.D.

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Thane M. Erickson, Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between courage, psychological well-being (PWB), and somatic symptoms in an adult population. Courage is the ability to pursue goals or a purpose despite risk or fear. While courage has been shown to be associated with decreased mental health symptoms, little is known about health outcomes associated with courage. The hypotheses of this study were that higher reported levels of courage would predict lower reported somatic symptoms, and that PWB would account for significant variance in the relationship between courage and somatic symptoms. Participants, mean age 38, were given online surveys at three time points. At time point one, 202 participants completed a demographic questionnaire and measures of courage, PWB, and somatic symptoms. There were 142 and 125 participants who completed a subjective somatic symptoms measure at two and six weeks after baseline, respectively. Mediation analyses were conducted through the PROCESS bootstrapping method. At time point one, courage did not predict somatic symptoms (B = -.039; p = .063), however a significant indirect effect of courage on somatic symptoms through PWB was found (B = -.074; CI: -.100 to -.050). At time point two, courage was found to significantly predict lower somatic symptoms (B = -.054; p = .048), and the indirect effects analysis was also supported (B = -.101; CI: -.156 to -.065). Time point three yielded similar results, as courage was shown to predict somatic symptoms (B = - .052; p = .031), and the indirect effects model was also supported (B = -.085; CI: -.122 to -.056). Residual change analyses were also conducted. At both two weeks (B = -.031, CI: -.065 to -.007) and six weeks (B = -.026, CI: -.050 to -.006), indirect effects models were supported. Implications for mental health practice with patients who somaticize are discussed.

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