THE EFFECT OF PERSON-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTION ON ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, AND SUBJECTIVE DISTRESS OF OPTOMETRY STUDENTS
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether an incongruence between personality characteristics of individuals and concomitant charcteristics of health professional training environments on salient dimensions contributes to aspects of mental health. The dimensions examined were practical-theoretical orientation and the degree of structure-unstructure. They were selected for study as they are particularly important attributes of students and of learning environments. It was proposed that when the demand of the environment is disparate from the proclivities of the individual, strain arises. This strain was hypothesized to contribute to anxiety, depression, and subjective distress. Select subscales on the Omnibus Personality Inventory (OPI) were the operationalized measures for the personality component of the dimensions studied. An environmental index was developed to assess students' perceptions of the learning environment on these same dimensions. The Beck Depression Inventory, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and General Well-Being schedule measured the outcome variables. A congruence model was employed to determine person-environment (P-E) interaction. Scores on the scales of the OPI and the environmental index were divided into high, medium, and low based on the range of scores. Congruence was defined as a match between the level of personality need and the complementary level of the perception of the environment. Alternatively, incongruence was defined as a mismatch between the person and the environment. The consistent category was compared to the inconsistent categories by an analysis of variance procedure. Furthermore, analyses of covariance were conducted with perceived supportiveness of the learning environment and life events external to the learning environment as the covariates. These factors were considered critical influences affecting the outcome measures. One hundred and eighty-five students (49% of the population) at the College of Optometry at the University of Houston participated in the study. Students in all four years of the program were equally represented in the study. However, the sample differed from the total population on representation by sex, marital status, and undergraduate major. The results of the study did not support the hypotheses. Further, after having adjusted for perceived supportiveness and life events external to the learning environment, there were no statistically significant differences between the congruent category and incongruent categories. Means indicated than the study sample experienced significantly lower depression and subjective distress than the normative samples. Results are interpreted in light of their utility for future study design in the investigation of the effects of P-E interaction. Emphasized is the question of the feasibility of testing a P-E interaction model with extant groups. Recommendations for subsequent research are proposed in light of the exploratory nature of the methodology.
Ophthalmology|Health education|Educational psychology
DAVIS, DORYN ZENETTE, "THE EFFECT OF PERSON-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTION ON ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, AND SUBJECTIVE DISTRESS OF OPTOMETRY STUDENTS" (1979). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI8112520.