Exploring the Relationships between Positive Mood and Spiritual Quality of Life across an Important Hong Kong Chinese Cultural Event

  • Kitty Chan

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Positive mood is believed to enhance spiritual quality of life (QoL). A mixed-methods research approach (with 4 phases) was used to prospectively examine the relationships between positive mood and spiritual QoL in Hong Kong Chinese adults (18+ years old) with different spiritual backgrounds (Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, agnostics and atheists) during the Chinese New Year (CNY). Phase 1: a cross-sectional survey (pilot: N=68, main study: N=445) field-tested the spiritual-religious-person belief (SRPB) domain (9 facets) in the WHOQOL-SRPB instrument. Internal consistency (α=.92) and test-retest reliability (α =.97) were good. The spiritual domain has higher correlations than the other QoL domains with the overall spiritual well-being scores (r=.76) of the Spiritual Well-Being Scale and converged with the subscale indices religious well-being (r=.62) and existential well-being (r =.71).Phase 2: focus groups (pilot: N=8, main study: N=37) examined the subjects’ CNY experiences. Verbatim thematic analysis demonstrated that positive mood and spiritual QoL changes had been elicited in the past. Some respondents had a negative perception of the festival. Respondents who have negative experiences during the CNY should be identified in the subsequent phases of this study.Phase 3: it consisted of a three-wave longitudinal survey to investigate the relationships between mood and spiritual QoL scores 2 weeks before (n=528), 2 weeks after (n=457), and 8 weeks (n=206) after the CNY. The overall negative mood decreased immediately after the CNY (from 20.56, SD 6.83 to 19.54, SD 6.93, p=.049), while positive mood was increased only in the agnostic respondents (29.57, SD=6.63 to 31.24, SD=6.14, p=.003). Atheists had lower spiritual domain scores than the agnostic and religious subsamples. Unmet expectations had led to a decrease in spiritual QoL scores and an increase in negative mood.Phase 4: follow-up focus groups (N=16) revealed that moderated mood had initiated a positive reappraisal of the CNY experience. Consequently, three spiritual facets, peace, hope and meaning in life emerged in informants regardless of their positive or negative experiences.In conclusion, the findings supported a positive correlation between positive mood and spiritual QoL. This generated propositions regarding the pathways among spiritual activities, discrete mood and spiritual QoL for further testing. Second, the inclusion of the two spiritual facets, faith and connection, in the summated score of the SRPB domain of the WHOQOL instrument demands reconsideration.
Date of Award7 Oct 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorBas Verplanken (Supervisor) & S M Skevington (Supervisor)

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