Virtue & Psychosocial Adaptability in Disability


>>Hello. I’m Jeong Han Kim, assistant professor
[inaudible] VCU. As you see from your screen, I originally came from South Korea in 2002.
It is great to have this opportunity to [inaudible] research
through this webcast. And I study the relationship between psychosocial adaptation, chronic illness
and disabilities. Basically the topics I’m covering
today is the application of positive and socio psychology
[inaudible] disability. Before we move on these topics, let me share my personal stories
with you. I believe that this will help you better understand
my research area. Who I am, I was born in South Korea. I grew
up [inaudible] from 1989 until 1996 [inaudible] career in
the beginning of 1996, I was heavy metal singer almost for six years. In 1996, what happened
to me, I had to stop my pursuit to be a better singer
in the field of music temporarily for two and a half years. It
was because of military service in Korea. All healthy Korean guys has to go and serve
in Korean army and navy and Air Force. This is duty. No one
can avoid these duties. I was serious to be a singer. But
obviously this was my duty. So I had to go to serve in military. One and a half years
after I start my military services, in 1997 we had a military
operation, bomb exploding trainings. I was already
certified in that area as one of the officers in the Korean army. By the way I took the ROTC to be officer because
officer is treated as a federal employee, but
soldiers are not. There are great differences in terms of benefits and incomes. I was certified
especially in terms of bomb exploding areas already.
I wasn’t involved in the training at all. But my private
soldiers have to complete the training. I was waiting for my private soldiers. But for
some reason that I can’t tell in this webcast [inaudible] military
operation. First medical guidances was [inaudible] I
had to cut off my legs up to above the knee and I may lose
one of my [inaudible] may lose function of my two [inaudible] also I have a lot of burns
and scars [inaudible] under my skin. It was making the
black spots on my face. Almost two and a half years I
had to go through more than 15 kinds of surgery. Some of them were longer than twelve hours.
I enter the surgery rooms in the morning at 7:00 a.m.
I come back to my room around 7 or 8:00 p.m. In addition to that, I had to go through many
cosmetic and plastic surgeries, because of the gun
powders. Typically if you have broken bone, within six months or maximum one year, you
should be okay. And you can walk again. But in my cases,
because of complication from bomb explosions, it took
almost two years until I start to walk again with crutches. Without crutches I was not
able to walk again. It was really really long term to me.
Obviously disability I acquired from a bomb explosion,
during military operations in 1997, served as turning point in my life. Life with disability has been, as you know,
really unpredictable. But it has motivated [inaudible] I
believe I should study abroad. In South Korea there was no infrastructure especially in
the field of rehabilitation counseling and disability study.
I thought applying for the Master’s degree in this
country, so that is how I actually came to this country in 2002. I came here as a student with a lot of English
barriers. As you see from this broadcast, you may
notice that I have some broken English. But I thought that because at that time I had
really nothing in the study, myself to study in this area, only
one thing that I can have chance for my future, so I truly
devoted myself to study and to overcome my English barriers and to continue with other
students [inaudible] I stayed almost 20, 21 hours in
the library. Sometimes the police officers with libraries were
asking me, when you sleep. Anyway, obviously during that time, my pursuit
of Veritas was becoming resilient Han. So that I
can overcome, so that I can rebuild my broken life from the bomb explosion. This I began
to study, because I thought [inaudible] undergrad and
now at [inaudible] I start to study again. Finally I became
professor in rehabilitation counseling area. It has been four years as professor here in
this country. When I [inaudible] I had to find a topic for
my dissertation. I was thinking, my past times as a
person with disability. I believe [inaudible] those characters help me to overcome my disabilities.
I start to believe that virtue and character strengths
would be area to better understand psychosocial adaptation
against disability. I’ve been studying that area to understand better myself and my disability,
and also to understand better other people who have chronic
illness and disability, to find better way to help them to
navigate the disability process. This is a little bit about my story, how I
actually got interested in this area. This will be my main
topic today. The next slide is about positive psychology and psychosocial adaptation.I need
to briefly introduce the topic of positive psychology
to move forward. Positive psychology is a growing field in
psychology; especially with new millennium, it was growing real fast. Under positive psychology
area there are three main domains. The first domain is positive emotion. They
are saying if you think positively and if you feel
positive emotions, then it will boost [inaudible] Positive traits, virtue and character strengths
that I’m interested in, in my study, disability study
[inaudible] it means if you have something that you can
pursue in your life, pursuing your goal and pursuing [inaudible] help you to have better
happiness. Pursuing also as you know has the meaning
to constantly continue certain things. If you deal with
honesty and you want to be honest man, you will practice honesty in your behavior, so
it will become certainly your character strengths. Virtues
and character strengths is how related. Virtue is [inaudible]
character strengths you can study, strengths as behavior indicator. Positive institution, what they say about
positive institution is basically if you live in the society, that
can empower your assets and your strengths, you will be happy. The concept [inaudible]
you want to be with teachers who can encourage you. You want
to be with your parents who can encourage you, who
appreciate. The positive emotions and positive traits and positive institution is three main
area for the study. Let’s go back to positive traits, especially
about the virtues and character strengths. Virtue is developed through constant practices
of personally valued characteristics, to promote individual’s well-being. For example, wisdom,
courage, humanity, justice, temperance, transcendence, those are all types of virtues. Virtues reflects
value systems and your pursuit in your life. Character
strengths, on the other hand, represent the essence of a person and what they promote
in totality. For example, as I mentioned before, if you
pursue courageous life, you will have character strengths. Bravery will be one of your character
strengths. In this regard, individuals’ character strengths serve as behavior indicator to measure
over person’s life. Virtue and character strengths are
primary area of study in relation to resilience [inaudible] vocational success and [inaudible]
this is the area that I study. Psychosocial adaptation, we discuss about
virtue and character strengths and how those concepts
help [inaudible] can ethics give us guidance in situations like disability. What do you
think? I believe so. We have seen many disability [inaudible]
success can be well understood from the virtue perspectives. In order to study virtue concepts
in a scientific manner, you see that, you know that a lot
of people will ask me how to measure the concepts, which will be considered [inaudible] In order to study virtue in scientific manner,
how can we measure this scientifically. The field of
positive psychology has been making great success in this area. One of the most popular
measures to assess individuals’ positive traits, actually
developed by [inaudible] values in action [inaudible] This slide has 240 items. It has 30 minutes
to 40 minutes to complete. It is with six sub scales and
six virtue sub scales and 24 character strengths. Let me introduce one more thing from the next
slide and we can come back to this slide. From this Website, you will see the classification
of virtue and character strengths [inaudible] developed and suggested in the early 2000,
early 21st century. Basically, they include they had six virtue
categories. They reviewed a lot of literatures to find out what virtues actually appears
in the history of the study, include sociology, public policy,
many different domains. They convinced the numbers of
virtues are following rigorous standards so they condensed those over to six virtue categories. Those six virtue categories include wisdom,
courage, humanity, temperance, justice and transcendence. There are 24 corresponding
character strengths to each of these domains. Those skills,
sub skills has satisfactory and current consistency. Over point 7 it is considered acceptable.
Over .8 it is considered good consistency. Test correlation
for all skills, basically do each task one time, then do it
again. The correlation between the two skills is over .7 it is very nice. Also they found that this measure, scores
from this measure is not highly correlated with, correlated
to social [inaudible] if you want to assess individual trait we are going to ask you everything
about how good person you are. We see the tendency,
people say and answer nicely. Obviously, having a low
correlation basically means that the measure is not biased. Nice and good measure, especially to assess
individual’s positive traits, but this measure is, they are
commonly used [inaudible] but in the area [inaudible] psychology, we have to look at
the applicability of these measures. These measures is developed
following through the definitions of virtue and character
strengths, suggested by [inaudible] character strengths may be inherently different meanings. When you have your disability and also [inaudible]
to better protect your family even with a disability [inaudible] because courage that
soldiers may have should be differently defined from the
courage that people with disability have, to overcome the disability. In terms of the applicability, in terms of
the definition, virtue, character strengths [inaudible] in
disability studies. Another limitation regarding this measure, it is 240 items and also it
takes 30 to 40 items, and we have counseling area and disability
study area. We hear a lot of our clients with very
severe disability like traumatic brain injury, or spinal cord injury. So concluding 240 items, 40 to 50 minutes,
might be too stressful for them physically. The last
limitations regarding this measure is empirical evidence regarding the [inaudible] we all
know in the field this measure developed rigorously following
through the definitions. But so far none of [inaudible] support structures [inaudible]
those things has limitation we identified from the beginning to
this end. So I was curious to further study virtues and character strengths and we had
counseling [inaudible] First thing I had to do, assess individuals.
We had clients’ positive traits. Over the last two years,
I create virtual inventory of strength. This is [inaudible] this is still under development.
I have done one validation study. I need more validation study.
It give us an interesting idea to us. Semantic differential scales, we are giving a pair
[inaudible] we will be asking where your target, you can place
your character in between those positive and opposing adjective. It has 46 items. It takes five to ten minutes.
With the validation study it generated [inaudible] transcendence and openness and integrity and
courageousness and pursuit of excellence, all improve
consistency [inaudible] very nice. All over .7. For sub scales [inaudible] .8. I did my
first evaluation study with 268 students with disability. Interesting
what I found because I used other measures to test
validity of this measure. I found this measure is highly correlated with [inaudible] As you see from the slide, the correlation
to resilience scale which is one of the most popular
resilience measures in the field of rehabilitation counseling, it shows high enough and significant
correlations. It was very interesting. By using this measure, I studied, I conducted
one study to see the relation between virtues and psychosocial
adaptation to CID. Basically what I did with this measure and
also 268 students with disability, I cluster the students
with disability based on their levels of psychosocial adaptation. Psychosocial adaptation in this
study was defined in terms of combination of [inaudible]
and resilience. Basically [inaudible] disability and
illness fairly well we think you will be happy enough and also you are a resilient person. Sometimes if you may not make enough money
for your life, but you have another way to flourish in
your life, so psychosocial adaptation in my study was defined in terms of combination
of satisfaction with life, sense of well-being and resilience.
Interestingly, we identified three groups, in high
adaptations, intermediate adaptation and low adaptation. Simply to say in high adaptations people in
the high adaptations, showed high scores on the three
measures. Highest scores on satisfaction with life scale, highest scores on sense of well-being
scales and high scores on resilience scales. If people
had lower adaptation, which showed lowest score in all of
these measures, it was really interesting. Then what I did with these groups, I discriminated
with this psychosocial adaptation clusters by using
virtue factors from AVIA scale. You remember that there
was five virtue scales. [inaudible] and pursuit of excellence, by using this five virtue factors
[inaudible] more simple words, retrospectively speaking
I assume that people in high adaptation groups probably
show the better scores on this virtue factors comparing to other people with intermediate
adaptation and low adaptation groups. The research is presented on the next slide.
The statistical analysis produced evidence of the
significant differentiation between cluster for the first discriminant function. The first
discriminant function was [inaudible] those first two discriminant
functions are significant, we can further attempt if
we can classify by using virtue scores to predict [inaudible] but because only one,
first discriminant function was significant, I was not able to
further conduct that analysis. But it shows interesting factors. Meaning that we have significant discriminant
functions, virtue factors, that is highly correlated to
that first significant discriminant functioning, had power to differentiate [inaudible] the
last information, pursuit of excellence vector. Pursuit of excellence
and [inaudible] .835, statistically significant. Correlation between transcendence and [inaudible]
.585. [inaudible] discriminant functions, .351. We identified high correlation between [inaudible]
including courageousness and [inaudible] but wasn’t statistically significant. So I can’t
further attempt to interpret these numbers. But obviously
because we see [inaudible] shows statistical significant in high correlation with discriminant
function, we might want to know what are the items under
these factors. Item under [inaudible] pursuit of
excellence [inaudible] persistence, hard working and persevering, interesting, appreciating
excellence and [inaudible] these are important character
strengths to overcome disability, especially psychosocial
adaptation [inaudible] energetic, spiritual and admiring beauty. These items together
looks like, seems these are character strengths that may help
your self-reflections. [inaudible] transcending your stress to
better end. That is how we [inaudible] items designed
to measure open-mindedness, inventive, lighthearted, and funny, valuing equality, creativity, playful,
receptive to new idea and curious and unbiased and
humorous. Basically, disability and chronic illness [inaudible] we will have to learn
all [inaudible] medications and learn community and local
resources [inaudible] open-minded mind-set, you can build
up wisdom. Interestingly these three virtue factors were highly correlated discriminant
function that can differentiate [inaudible] with disability
level of psychosocial adaptation. Let’s put together and I can give you summaries.
One study conducted by Dr. Peterson, those people [inaudible] in 2006 they conducted
one study especially with people who recovered from chronic
illness and disability. More than 2,000 [inaudible] they found small but reliable evidence to
say that people who recovered from illness, show highest
scores on perseverance and self-reflection. Person
that recovered from illness tend to have higher scores [inaudible] and excellence and curiosity
and kindness and gratitude and spirituality and
forgiveness and hope and humorous and fairness and bravery. You see here the character strengths that
Peterson and Saligman, people who recover from illness
and disability tend to show better scores on these strengths. My strength is adding
couple interesting perspectives. To develop your character strengths,
your pursuit of the better end, which means virtuous
life, persistently have to practice the values in your action. Without persistence and consistence
practice, talk about virtue and character strengths,
another aspect about the virtue and character strengths
[inaudible] at the end, people can ask them, they might have those character strengths
already built in before they actually have the disability. Some other people may say that, going through
that disability process, people developed this
character strength. Their study in 2006, can’t really say but with my study, because my study,
adding perspectives about persistency, and self-reflection,
and open-mindedness and creativity I’m adding these
character strengths. [inaudible] students with disability, high adaptation groups, tend
to show better scores on character strengths in addition
to other strengths identified by Peterson. I’m adding these
components to the study conducted by Peterson. This was interesting aspects. Common sense,
as you see here in common sense you have disability, all of a sudden you find out you or your friend,
one of your family members got cancer. You worry
about your future. Some people overcome their disability. So persevering, persistently practice
something and fore get the disability and have time to reflect yourself in your life
and bring energy to live better with disability and be open mind
and try to learn new things to better overcome the disability.
Try to be creative. Also try to see the different beauty. Well,
I have amputation on my foot and sometimes my voice,
I have 3-year-old son, and he ask yesterday, why this leg looks different from your right
foot. I was answering him, well, that is my honors from
military service. I don’t know if he can understand that or
not. But obviously with disability and chronic illness you need to see the different beauty.
Different beauties from the different bodies. All those
things are actually important things to consider, to look at,
to help individuals with disability. Some people may say this is really about common
sense. But again the common sense is the most difficult part, difficult things to study
in scientific matters. But with this virtues and character strengths
perspectives we can study common sense. We can study philosophy construct in scientific
manners, to better understand psychosocial adaptation
to disability. This is all about, previous research I have done
for the last couple years. I only have one more slide. The last slide is about application
to minority study. Basically our project [inaudible] funded
grant to empower the minority studies, especially in
rehabilitation counseling or psychology and disability study. It is important to better understand what
we can do with this virtue character strengths concept to
better help minority people. [inaudible] I can give you some idea, use this concept,
to apply these concepts to better study of minority population.
One of the trends under positive psychology is see how
character strengths is valued differently in terms of cultures. For example, in western
cultures, the humorous may be more highly valued by society.
But in eastern cultures, we know that from [inaudible] humility and modesty are more
highly valued. [inaudible] help individuals from different
culture [inaudible] you are trying to provide strengths base innovation. It is important to know what values and what
strengths is valued importantly in certain cultures,
because that is what your clients may consider very importantly in their life. So doing cross
cultural study we can find what strengths and what
values are actually highly considered important, from this
cross cultural study we may better understand what values and what strengths are highly
valued in certain society, in certain groups. Obviously
you can better develop strengths based innovation, for
people with chronic illness and disability. The last study [inaudible] virtue and character
strengths with LGBT population. This study actually, award-winning project. Me and one
of my students, we received diversity award from the
Indiana psychological association with this study. What we basically do with these populations,
I pretty much do the same thing with my study I introduce
in this webcast. Basically I used LGBT population identity measures. I also used [inaudible]
measures for them and also used original versions of character
strengths and virtues. Putting it together I [inaudible] LGBT students in terms of [inaudible]
we found three clusters, first cluster [inaudible]
fairly well and over average scores in all those scales. [inaudible]
well-being is very low compared to other people but their autonomy scores is actually highest.
The third group was low autonomy but high well-being. Basically what they mean is that people in
that group show high well-being but their autonomy score
cannot be high compared to high autonomy but low well-being groups. We conclude with these
findings that with LGBT population high autonomy, highest autonomy or too high autonomy may
prevent those populations from social engagement. Basically they are too proud of themselves
and they are putting themselves from others. Then maybe
they have highest autonomy, but they have low
well-being. Knowing these three clusters and also discriminate
cross [inaudible] true virtue category called [inaudible] wisdom and personal harmony. What
we found is that people in high autonomy but low
well-beings tend to have lower scores in kindness and forgiveness and fairness and social [inaudible]
May prevent their social engagement. These are some of the areas that I was trying
to apply these virtue concepts to the minority state.
This is really [inaudible] especially virtues and positive traits, we are pretty much first
generation. There will be a lot of different area that
we can actually try to apply. There we have to find a better way.
We have to invest a lot of efforts to find a better way to apply the concepts in like
manners. Although we are trying [inaudible] we know from applying
concepts to counseling and disability study we are
getting interesting perspectives. I believe this is really the promising area
to better understand psychosocial adaptations, especially
for the minority groups [inaudible] also resilience and also post traumatic, to explain how people
actually grew up with a disability. What pleasure to have a chance to introduce my research
area. I’m also very new being four years as scholar
after I graduate so I have done a lot of study in this area,
because of time. But I will continue, as I study about the virtues, how to pursue my
best excellence to find out the evidence. And I really hope today
my webcast may inspire or may help you better understand our field and most of all give
ideas to apply these concepts to better study with minority
groups. Thank you very much.

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