Increasing global freedoms : the role of psychological flexibility

Thompson, Miles. 2016. Increasing global freedoms : the role of psychological flexibility. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis seeks to add to the psychological literature that may help reduce
global poverty and human rights abuse around the world. More specifically, it
investigates the potential role of psychological flexibility and Acceptance and
Commitment Therapy (ACT) in helping to increase “global freedoms”. It makes a
unique contribution through the way it applies psychological flexibility and ACT to this
novel area.

Following two introductory chapters, the next five describe the design and
preliminary evaluation of new self-report measures. Specifically these assess: i. helping
behaviour, ii. thoughts and cognitions, iii. feelings and emotions, and iv. values – all
related to global freedoms. A fifth scale measures psychological inflexibility in an
everyday context. Preliminary psychometric development includes both exploratory and
confirmatory factor analysis.

Following their development, the measures are used to answer five research
questions. In general terms these explore the interrelationships between the measures;
how they relate to helping behaviour and whether psychological flexibility plays a direct
or indirect role in this. The research questions are answered using a cross-sectional
dataset as well as a single session, lab based study which examines the potential of an
ACT based intervention to increase helping behaviour.

In summary, in both correlations and regressions, the thoughts and cognitions
measure had a significant, negative correlation with helping behaviour, while the
feelings and emotions, and values measure had significant, positive correlations with
helping behaviour. Psychological flexibility did not show a significant, direct
relationship with helping behaviour but, in mediation analyses, it was found to transmit
its influence through thoughts and cognitions onto helping behaviour. In terms of the
single session lab based study, neither ACT nor an education condition increased the
level of donation to charity greater than a control. The general discussion focuses on the
implications of these findings and the opportunities for future research.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Global Freedoms, Global Poverty, Human Rights, ACT, Psychological Flexibility, Psychology

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


31 January 2016

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

15 Feb 2016 12:57

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 13:53


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