This chapter shows a review of the literature on psychological flexibility, study abroad experience, self-efficacy, and psychological well-being. Furthermore, according to the research questions in the previous chapter, the researcher proposes the hypothesis based on the literature.

Psychological Flexibility

Since psychological flexibility plays a major role in individuals psychological health (Kashdan & Rottenberg, 2010), not only researchers in management field but also psychologist had done many studies on psychological flexibility. Bond et al. (2011) had defined psychological flexibility as the capacity to master the present moment and thoughts, which included relying on the appearing situations and without any defense. By changing or continuing behaviors to persist their goals and value. McCracken and Morley (2014) had a similar definition as mentioned above, they defined psychological flexibility as the ability to pursuit or to change behavior in a situation that (1) has a sense of thoughts and feelings, (2) be thankful to what situation pay for, and (3) is led by individuals goals and values. In addition, Lloyd, Bond, and Flaxman (2013) examined psychological flexibility as a fundamental factor of mental health and behavioral effectiveness. And it refers to a based theory of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

By executing the ACT, the expected outcome is the enhancement of an individual’s psychological flexibility. Therefore, in general, the researcher terms to refer the ACT model to discuss the psychological flexibility model. The model includes six elements: (1) cognitive defusion, (2) acceptance, (3) contact with the present moment/ flexible present-focused attention, (4) self-as-context, (5) committed action, and (6) values (Bond, Hayes, & Barnes-Holmes, 2006). Cognitive defusion refers to the capacity to distinguish between feelings, thoughts, and emotions, and respond directly to the situation without dominated by past experience and feelings. Acceptance refers to the ability to open their mind, accept the feelings and thoughts through their mind without trying to change those unwanted emotions. Contact with the present moment refers to aware of the present situation and feel free to accept the on-going experience. Self-as-context refers to a sense of transcendent to observe themselves and it is a continuity of consciousness. Committed action means to execute and achieve their goals, and the goal was set according to their values. Values mean the chosen patterns of they believe what the good quality is, and they are dedicated to working for and it is not once-and-for-all.

As mentioned above, psychological flexibility is a topic which highly connected to an individual’s mental health. Researchers had also different studies through psychological


flexibility. In Bond et al. (2008)’s study, they executed a quasi-experiment and tested the relationship between individual characteristic, psychological flexibility, and the moderation effect of a control-enhancing work reorganization intervention. The sample was in a total of 312 workers in a call center. The result of the study reported that individuals who had a higher level of psychological flexibility may improve their mental health and absence rates through this intervention. In addition, job control showed a significant moderation effect in the study.

Masuda et al. (2011) studied the mediation effect of psychological flexibility to the relationship between self-concealment and negative psychological outcomes. There were two studies in the research, study one tested 591 students in the same university. In addition, the result reported that psychological flexibility has a significant mediation effect on the relationship between self-concealment and emotional distress in stressful interpersonal conditions. And the second study, the sample was 575 students in the same university as the first study. The result of study 2 showed that psychological flexibility only has a partial mediation effect on the relationship between self-concealment and general psychological ill-health.


Several studies had noted self-efficacy as a predictor of some important organizational outcomes, for example, training proficiency and job performance (Chen et al., 2001). Bandura (1982) had first defined self-efficacy as “a personal judgment of how well one can execute courses of action required to deal with prospective situations” (p.122). As stated by social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1977), self-efficacy concludes three dimensions: (a) level or magnitude, (b) strength, and (c) generality which is an extension of magnitude and strength. In addition, the three dimensions are all in a specific level of task difficulties (Chen et al., 2001).

In the year 1986, Bandura (1986) discussed that human beings were viewed as more self-controlled, active, and self-organizing rather than shaped by the environment. According to this statement, Bandura (1995) gave self-efficacy a new definition which self-efficacy is “the belief in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations” (p.2).

In recent year, researchers are more interested in developing the generality dimension of self-efficacy (Chen et al., 2001). As Chen et al. (2001) noted, self-efficacy was defined as

“one’s belief in one’s overall competence to effect requisite performances across a wide variety of achievement situations” (p.63). Judge, Erez, and Bono (1998) also proposed a definition of self-efficacy as “individuals’ perception of their ability to perform across a variety of different situations” (p.170).


In this study, the researcher selects Chen et al. (2001)’s definition. Their study developed a new general self-efficacy scale which was more valid and fewer questions than the general self-efficacy scale. Moreover, it measured specific in the work context which is related to this study. Therefore, via this new general self-efficacy scale, this research may provide a more significant result.

As the researcher mentions above, there were some studies which examined self-efficacy as the potential predictor in the work-related outcome (Chen et al., 2001). Stajkovic and Luthans (1998) discussed the relationship between self-efficacy and work-related performance.

They examined the relationship by a meta-analysis that includes 114 studies. In the study, Stajkovic and Luthans (1998) stated two main results: (a) self-efficacy was significant related to work-related performance, and (b) locus of performance and task complexity have a moderation effect on the relationship between self-efficacy and work-related performance.

Karademas (2006) studied the relationship between self-efficacy, social support, and wellbeing, moreover, the researcher tested optimism as the mediator to the relationship mentioned previously. The sample was 201 employees in four insurance company. The result showed a significant relationship between self-efficacy, social support, and well-being.

However, optimism only partially mediates the relationship between self-efficacy and well-being.

Some of the literature studied self-efficacy as a moderator. Siu, Spector, Cooper, and Lu (2005) tested self-efficacy as a moderator to the relationship between job stressors and work well-being. The study surveyed 105 employees from Hong Kong and 129 employees from Beijing. The result showed self-efficacy was a strong predictor for work well-being in both samples. In another hand, self-efficacy was founded as a moderator in the relationship between job stressor and work well-being.

Study Abroad Experience

As Berdan (2017) reported, there was an increased number of study abroad programs.

Since there was a trend for students studying abroad, researchers developed several studies on the advantages of study abroad. Kitsantas (2004) defined the study abroad program as “all educational programs that take place outside the geographical boundaries of the country origin”

(p.441). The study focused on how study abroad affects intercultural abilities and global mindset. The researcher collected data from 232 college students, which completed a study abroad program for 3 to 6 weeks. The result reported that study abroad programs increase student’s cross-cultural capabilities and international concept.


Dwyer and Peters (2004) examined the benefits of study abroad. They conducted a large-scale questionnaire to develop the long-term impact of study abroad. In their study, they surveyed the alumni from IES (international education of students) study abroad programs from the year 1950 to 1999; there were more than 3400 respondents. They reported study abroad benefits individuals in several ways: (a) personal growth, (b) intercultural development, and (c) education and career attainment (Dwyer & Peters, 2004). Moreover, the study found the differences study abroad impact on study abroad length; Dwyer and Peters (2004) noted

“the longer students study abroad, the more significant the academic and cultural development and personal growth benefits” (p.2).

In Clarke III, Flaherty, Wright, and McMillen (2009)’s study, they researched on several potential intercultural influences among students studied abroad for a semester-long. They conducted two groups of the sample from U.S. state university. One group of the students finished a semester-long of required lessons; the other group of the students finished the same courses in Belgium. The result showed that study abroad experiences influence students to become more globalized. Moreover, students with study abroad experience may be more open-minded to cultural diversity and have better cross-cultural proficiency (Clarke III et al., 2009).

Franklin (2010) developed a longitudinal case study of how study abroad experience impact on individuals’ life-long career path and proficient applicability. They surveyed 189 study abroad alumni who studied abroad 10 years ago. The result examined that study abroad experience has a significant impact on individuals’ long-lasting career development and professional ability (Franklin, 2010). In addition, they reported that knowledge, abilities, and self-awareness obtained by studying abroad has a strong linkage to intercultural competences and personal growth.

Psychological Well-Being

Research on psychological well-being had flourished in decades, one of the discussions of the literature was the relationship between well-being and health. In Danna and Griffin (1999)’s study, they examined that there are no clear borders between well-being and health.

In addition, they claim that health is one of psychological well-being’s component. Jahoda (1958) also supported the idea which examined well-being as something that illness lack off.

Another definition of psychological well-being was life satisfaction, there were some researchers who developed the Life Satisfaction Index to measure an individual’s psychological well-being level (Neugarten, Havighurst, & Tobin, 1961; Ryff, 1989). In the year 1986, Bandura presented the first basic model of psychological well-being. The study focused


on the difference between the positive and negative effects of psychological well-being (Bandura, 1986).

Ryff (1989) presented a comprehensive model of psychological well-being, the model included 6 elements. The 6 elements of psychological well-being are (1) purpose in life, (2) autonomy, (3) personal growth, (4) environment mastery, (5) positive relationships, and (6) self-acceptance. “Purpose in life” means the extending of how individuals think of their meaning of life, life directions, and purpose. “Autonomy” refers to the power of self-determination, and “personal growth” is making use of individuals potential and talents.

“Environment mastery” means how individuals manage situations through their daily life.

“Positive relations” presents how depth the relationship and connections of individuals with others. And “self-acceptance” presents a positive attitude of individuals viewed their past experience. According to this psycholoigical well-being model, Zheng, Zhu, Zhao, and Zhang (2015) had proposed a psychological well-being scale, which there were 6 items and the cronbach’s alpha value was .88.

Due to the importance of psychological well-being, several researchers had done different perspectives of studies on the relationship between psychological well-being and other variables. One of the studies was presented by Wright and Cropanzano (2000), in their study, they presented the relationship between psychological well-being and job performance. There were two studies in the research, the first study’s sample was 47 human service workers and the second study’s sample was 37 Juvenile probation officers. Both of the results presented psychological well-being as a predictor to job performance. Another study from Rasulzada and Dackert (2009), they did the study about the relationship between organizational creativity, innovation, and psychological well-being. The study was researching in a high-tech company which the sample was 95 employees in the company. The result of the research showed that organizational creativity and innovation are significant effecting on higher employee’s psychological being. There were also studies which research about psychological well-being as a mediator. The sample was 513 managers who worked in two large Indian manufacture-companies. The result showed there was a mediation effect of psychological well-being to the relationship between perceived organizational support and organizational commitment.

Psychological Flexibility and Psychological Well-Being

According to Kashdan and Rottenberg (2010), one of the fundamental aspects of mental health is psychological flexibility. In addition, the study claimed that psychological flexibility


influenced a lot to psychological health and daily well-being. Also in Biglan, Flay, Embry, and Sandler (2012)’s studies, they examined that if individuals want to have a higher level of psychological well-being, first they need to promote their psychological flexibility. Moreover, Ciarrochi, Bilich, and Godsell (2010) stated that since psychological flexibility was highly connected to one’s feelings and thoughts. In order to control or remove unwanted emotions and experience, individuals need to connect to their behavior which is damaging their psychological well-being and emotions. In other words, by increasing an individual’s psychological flexibility, their psychological well-being will be better, too. Therefore, hypothesis 1 was proposed as below:

H1: Psychological flexibility is positively related to psychological well-being.

The Relationship among Self-Efficacy, Psychological Flexibility, and Psychological Well-Being

Page (2005) provided extensive discussions of well-being; his study examined the construct of core self-evaluations (including self-efficacy) which the elements are founded to have a positive influence on well-being levels. Karademas (2006) also noted that better self-efficacy was related to higher well-being. In other words, individuals with lower self-self-efficacy influences it’s psychological well-being to a lower level. According to Karademas (2006)’s study, the relationship between self-efficacy, social support, and well-being is significant.

Furthermore, Soysa and Wilcomb (2015) also suggested that self-efficacy is a good predictor of well-being. In another side, Wei, Tsai, Lannin, Du, and Tucker (2015) studied the relationship between psychological flexibility and counseling self-efficacy. And they reported that there are positive effects between the relationship of psychological flexibility and counseling self-efficacy. Although counseling self-efficacy is specified refers to the counselor’s self-efficacy, however, the value of self-efficacy is similar. According to the literature mentioned above, when individuals has higher self-efficacy, the influence of the relationship of psychological flexibility to psychological well-being may increase. Consequently, the researcher proposed hypothesis 2:

H2: Self-efficacy has a positive moderating effect on the relationship between psychological flexibility and psychological well-being.


The Relationship among Study Abroad Experience, Psychological Flexibility, and Psychological Well-Being

Kauffmann and Kuh (1984) founded that there were three major changes in personal functioning after study abroad; which one of the changing factors was personal well-being.

Kitsantas (2004) also reported study abroad experience might impact on an individual’s well-being. In Muto, Hayes, and Jeffcoat (2011)’s study, they researched on international students in Japan. The study executed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to the students and tested the general mental health of the international students after all. As a result, international students are having better general mental health after ACT. In other words, by executing ACT, international students enhance their level of psychological flexibility, and since they are enhancing their psychological flexibility, they are increasing their psychological well-being in the same moment. Hence, the researcher proposed the hypothesis 3:

H3: Study abroad experience has a positive moderating effect on the relationship between psychological flexibility and psychological well-being.

Study Abroad Length and U-Curve

As mentioned above, there were pieces of literature mentioned the relationship between study abroad experience and psychological well-being. Moreover, in literature, there was a different perspective on the study abroad program’s impact on different study abroad length.

Some studies claimed short-term study abroad may benefit on individuals (Anderson et al., 2006; Kitsantas, 2004). However, some researchers emphasized that long-term study abroad programs are better than short-term study abroad program (Dwyer, 2004). According to the U-curve theory provided by Black and Mendenhall (1991), individuals adjust their behavior in their sixth to eighth months abroad. Therefore, there might have a different impact on the different length of study abroad experience. In this study, the researcher divided the sample into two groups. One group with over 8 months of study abroad experience and the other group with less than 8 months of study abroad experience (including no experience). The study executes t-test in order to compare the two groups and figure out the difference between the two groups’ psychological well-being level. In addition, this study proposed hypothesis 4:

H4: The group with study abroad experience over 8 months has a higher level of psychological well-being than the group with study abroad experience under 8 months.



在文檔中 The Relationship between Psychological Flexibility and Psychological Well-Being with the Moderation Effect of Self-Efficacy and Study Abroad Experience (頁 17-25)