The independence index. A proposed diagnostic for isolated functioning ability grounded in a study of current human needs in an increasingly solitary society

Prof Doc Thesis


Roseveare, Jay 2006. The independence index. A proposed diagnostic for isolated functioning ability grounded in a study of current human needs in an increasingly solitary society. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsRoseveare, Jay
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Abstract

This paper describes two studies in response to the trend in developed Western
societies for individuals to change jobs and move house more often. Trends towards
virtual organisations and single occupant households suggested a need to identify key
factors when contemplating functioning in isolation and a way to provide guidance more
relevant to the individual.
For the first study, the research question was whether a common structure of human life
criteria could be found, based in theory but expressed in terms easily understood by a
layperson. A grounded approach was based on repertory grid interviews of fifteen
participants (selected for maximum variation) to establish in their own words what they
saw as key criteria for their own significant life and career events. The sample produced
bipolar constructs, triangulated with brief PCP interviews and card sorts to cover a whole
life domain with particular emphasis on solitude and team working. Criteria were then
examined for underlying structure and reviewed against existing theories. Four general
themes were identified, labelled 'Stimulation', 'Purpose and Progress', 'Enablement' and
'Interpersonal Contact' which together embraced over 96% of the grid interview
constructs. Lack of background detail for the seven brief interviews and twenty-nine
card sorts made it hard to judge their relevance. The influence of teams and culture are
discussed, together with the possible implications for decision-making. Recent research
in related areas was found to lend support for the themes.
The second study involved developing a generalised diagnostic to identify clients most
likely to function well in isolation. Research into social isolation, loneliness and selfesteem
is reviewed. It was assumed the diagnostic process would be complemented by context-specific assessment. Five hypotheses were made: it would produce
discriminating individual profiles; it would identify those who preferred living on their own;
it would identify those who preferred working on their own; it would identify those who felt
more productive on their own; the 21-30 group would be significantly different from older
age groups. A fifteen item instrument was developed with four factors: Enterprise
(generalised self-efficacy based on project management); Social Independence;
Functional Independence; and Anxiety. A pool (n= 365) of native English speakers aged
between twenty-one and seventy, were UK residents except for a contrast population
(n=30) resident in South Africa. Self-reports of living and working preference and
perceived productivity were used as outcome variables. Logistic regression was used.
Significant results confirmed all five hypotheses and the three resulting models were
between 68% and 74% accurate. Four month Pearson two-tailed correlation coefficients
of between .560 and .765, all significant at the level p=.01, were obtained for the
predictors but half the retest participants changed at least one outcome variable. These
changes often paralleled domestic or situation changes, suggesting short-, medium- and
long-term decision components. From the profiles of those who both preferred working
alone and perceived themselves more productive doing so, participants with similar
profiles were identified amongst those without any experience of working alone,
indicating profiles were not the result of experience. Recommendations are made for the
use of the instrument in practice and suggestions are made for further research.

Year2006
Publication dates
PrintAug 2006
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Jul 2014
Additional information

This thesis supplied via ROAR to UEL-registered users is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and duplication of any part of the material is not permitted, except for your personal use for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study in electronic or print form. You must obtain permission from the copyright-holder for any other use. Electronic or print copies may not be offered, for sale or otherwise, to anyone. No quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

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