The mindful self : sense of self and health-promoting lifestyle behaviours among Thai college women : a thesis presented in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing at Massey University, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Wellness educators have faced a great challenge to develop strategies to move people toward the adoption of positive lifestyle behaviours. This research explores concepts of self and the impact of Thai culture on the motivation of young college women to engage in health-promoting lifestyle behaviours (HPLBs) in the context of northeastern Thailand. A sequential mixed methods design enables an exploration of the relationships among sense of coherence, identity status, and HPLBs in the first phase, and an inductive analysis of the impact of Thai cultural context in the second phase. In study A, three instruments: the Health-Promoting Lifestyle Behaviors Profile II (HPLP II), the Extended Version of the Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status (EOM-EIS), and the Orientation to Life Questionnaire (SOC-29), were used with 350 senior college women. Sense of Coherence was significantly correlated with achieving a sense of identity, lessening diffusion identity and engaging in health-promoting behaviours. Although a considerable proportion of the variance (26.7 %) for engaging in HPLBs was accounted for by SOC, identity achievement, and identity moratorium, the magnitude of the unexplained variance was considerable. This led to inductive exploration of other variables influencing HPLBs in Study B. By data-driven thematic analysis, the Model of the Mindful Self emerged from in-depth interviews with 25 college women. The model describes three main themes: (a) the cultural background and the surrounding ongoing influences which impact on the development of Thai women's sense of self and their health-related behaviours, (b) the sense of self and identity formation in the Thai context, and (c) the health-related behaviours that stem from the sense of self. Sense of self and its behaviours are socially constructed within the specific culture in which individuals are embedded. The social phenomena and research outcomes are interpreted under the lens of social constructionism. The knowledge generated by this study provides guidance for teaching about health promotion in Thai undergraduate nursing programmes and also provides a basis for initiating health-promoting programmes based on the individual's sense of self for female adolescents in Thailand.
Health and identity, Health behaviour, Nursing student health, Female student health