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Positive Psychology and The Silver Lining Questionnaire

Discussion in 'PsychoSocial ME/CFS Research' started by Trish, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. Trish

    Trish Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I have just come across The Silver Lining Questionnaire (SLQ).

    https://ppc.sas.upenn.edu/sites/ppc.sas.upenn.edu/files/silverliningquestionnaire.pdf

    It asks sick people to rate the gains from being sick with statements such as:
    1. I appreciate life much more because of my illness
    2. My illness gave me a new start in life
    19. My illness helped me find myself.

    It says there are no right or wrong answers, but every statement on the list is positive about the benefits of being ill.

    A google search found the Positive Psychology Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

    SILVER LINING QUESTIONNAIRE
    Authors: Samantha C. Sodergren and Michael E. Hyland

    WHAT THE QUESTIONNAIRE MEASURES

    The Silver Lining Questionnaire measures the extent to which people believe their illness has had a positive benefit despite the negative consequences of being ill. Research suggests that this positive interpretation is not due to a form of self-delusion but instead reflects personal growth and that it can be enhanced by the context. Its role in recovery from illness is complex.

    KEY REFERENCES

    1. Sodergren, S. C. & Hyland, M. E. (1997). Qualitative phase in the development of the Silver Lining Questionnaire. Quality of Life Research, 6, (7-8), 365.
    2. Sodergren, S. C., & Hyland, M. E. (2000). What are the positive consequences of illness? Psychology and Health, 15, 85-97.
    3. Sodergren, S. C., Hyland, M. E., Singh, S. J., & Sewell, L. (2002). The effect of rehabilitation on positive interpretations of illness. Psychology and Health; 17, 753-760.
    4. Sodergren, S. C., Hyland, M. E., Crawford, A., Partridge, M. R. (2004). Positivitiy in illness: self-delusion or existential growth? British Journal of Health Psychology, 9, 163-174.
    5. Hyland, M. E., Sodergren, S. C., & Lewith, G. T. (in press). The role of positivity in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Journal of Health Psychology.
    Note number 5 on the list.

    My personal response is that this stuff makes me feel sick. It looks like it's been used by the same people using LP / NLP based 'recovery focused' approaches in Dorset and Oxford. Thread about this here:

    https://www.s4me.info/index.php?thr...tion-of-a-rebuilding-your-life-programme.761/

    I'm sorry to plague you with this junk, but it's really bothering me. I shall investigate further.
     
  2. Trish

    Trish Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    J Health Psychol. 2006 Sep;11(5):731-41.
    Chronic fatigue syndrome: the role of positivity to illness in chronic fatigue syndrome patients.
    Hyland ME1, Sodergren SC, Lewith GT.
    Author information

    Abstract
    Fifty-three chronic fatigue syndrome patients treated at a complementary medical centre were assessed over 12 months.

    Measures included the Chalder Fatigue scale, the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and positivity in illness (Silver Lining Questionnaire, SLQ).

    The SLQ measured at 6 and 9 months predicted (p < .01) mental (but not physical) fatigue at 12 months independently of current mental fatigue, initial mental fatigue, duration since diagnosis and time between start of treatment and entry to the study.

    The GHQ did not predict fatigue at any time point. The results suggest that a caring therapeutic intervention increases positive interpretations of illness prior to improvements in mental fatigue, but that positivity does not play a causal role in the reduction of fatigue.
    ...........................................................................

    Edit to add: Note that this paper is from 2006. George Lewith (now deceased) was a key person in the recent Dorset and Oxford developments mentioned in the first post, and the linked thread.

    It would seem from this paper, if I understand the abstract correctly, that positivity did not help improve fatigue.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
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  3. adreno

    adreno Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm very negative about positive psychology.
     
  4. Adrian

    Adrian Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This is one I've never come across before. My first thought was it doesn't make sense for chronic illness. I guess the paper you pointed to sounds like it didn't find anything of interest but I've only scanned the abstract.


    I can see that people who have had and recovered from acute illnesses may answer these positively. But I can't see that otherwise. But then question 2 could be taken in a positive or negative sense - I've had a "new start" but that new start may not be a good one!

    My conclusion about all these questionnaires is when we see research quoting them we need to understand the questions in the context of chronic illness. That can really change the conclusions.
     
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  5. EzzieD

    EzzieD Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    My personal response to this questionnaire is that it makes me feel sick too. Patronising, lacking in awareness/insight/empathy. As mentioned above by Adrian, would make more sense if administered after recovery rather than while ill, if at all. But to someone who is terribly chronically ill, it comes across as taking the mickey (at least, that's how it comes across to me).

    (ETA: Edited for better clarity)
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  6. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    IMO it's a trap.

    ....or...are we going to start seeing articles that basically say the cure for unhappiness is to get a chronic illness, scientists announce in a study on how to have a more fulfilling life.

    Now I saw a suitable emoji earlier.....where is it......it doesn't appear to exist :banghead::banghead::banghead:
     
  7. Trish

    Trish Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The only advantage for us of taking such a questionnaire that I can see would be as a mechanism for killing off the pernicious theories about us staying ill because we gain something from it that the BPS people suggest.

    I tried filling it in myself and I scored strongly disagree on every question.
    Yet I am a not a negative person, I am not depressed, I make the best of the situation I'm in when I can and accept that I will be grumpy or melancholy or miserable some of the time. I just cannot see that having this illness for 28 years has in any way benefited me or those around me.
     
  8. EzzieD

    EzzieD Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    TBH, I can't see even that being an advantage for us - the therapists would simply spin it to make us look like we answered Strongly Disagree to everything because we're 'depressed', wouldn't they? Argh, we just can't win.

    That's probably just about right! And the emoticon you want is probably a copiously vomiting one, but the nearest I've been able to find here is: :yuck:
     
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  9. Pibee

    Pibee Established Member

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    I think researchers who do these questionnaires are in fact self-deluded and trying to protect themselves from the fear of the reality that life might suck and they or their loved ones might suffer.

    It is desperately trying to find the silver lining, instead of accepting suffering.
    Bad for us, bad for the world.
     
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  10. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Some of these people should get a real job.
     
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  11. Lidia

    Lidia Established Member

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    "Other people appreciate me more because of my illness"?

    What are these people smoking?
     
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  12. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I thought the whole idea of positive psychology was as an antidote to "deficit-based" models in clinical psychology, where every problem is described in terms of what's lacking or what's going wrong. But if you start measuring individuals' degree of positivity - and making inferences about the person from that - then what you're really doing is measuring whether people have a deficit in positivity or not.

    You're back where you started.
     
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  13. cyclamen

    cyclamen Established Member

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    A different spin for psychologists: „this sickness gain is keeping You ill“
     
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  14. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Haha, yea, if these "silver linings" are so positive, then they would definitely count as "secondary gains" from illness!!

    Really, I'm so SICK and TIRED of people judging us and trying to dictate how we should react to being chronically ill. Reactions to chronic illness will be as varied as people are, and everyone should be allowed to find their own way - unless they specifically ask for assistance.
    And no, there definitely ARE a form of self-delusion, and it takes only a simple thought experiment to realise as much. If they were "real", you'd have people not wanting to get better, because the positives of being ill are so fabulous, or healthies begging to be made ill so that they too could reap the benefits.
     
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  15. Trish

    Trish Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Br J Health Psychol. 2004 May;9(Pt 2):163-74.
    Positivity in illness: self-delusion or existential growth?
    Sodergren SC1, Hyland ME, Crawford A, Partridge MR.
    Author information

    Abstract
    OBJECTIVES:

    This study investigated the relationship between a measure of positivity in illness, the Silver Lining Questionnaire (SLQ), and measures of personality and spirituality/religious beliefs as a way of determining whether positivity in illness is a delusion or existential growth.

    METHOD:
    This is a cross-sectional study comparing response to the SLQ, to the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ-R), breathlessness, illness type, and spiritual and religious beliefs in a final total sample of 194 respiratory outpatients.

    RESULTS:
    The SLQ was associated positively with extraversion (r =.16, p<.05), unrelated to neuroticism (r =.11, n.s.) and repression (r =.10, n.s.) and was positively associated with spiritual and religious beliefs, F(2; 187) = 7.12, p < 001, as predicted by the existential growth but not the delusion interpretation. There was no relationship between positivity and age, r(194) =.09, n.s., or between positivity and gender t(192) = -1.27, n.s., and nor were there relationships with type of illness, F(4, 188) = 2.17, n.s., or breathlessness, F (5, 173) = 0.42, n.s.

    CONCLUSIONS:
    The results suggest that positivity in illness is associated with existential growth, though the cross-sectional nature of the study precludes a conclusion of causal direction. The non-significant correlation between the SLQ and neuroticism is in the opposite direction predicted by the delusion explanation, but the non-significant relationship between the SLQ and repression is in the predicted direction. We cannot rule out the possibility that some positivity is delusion.


    Psychol Health. 2008;23(6):661-78. doi: 10.1080/14768320701356540.
    Examining adversarial growth in illness: the factor structure of the Silver Lining Questionnaire (SLQ-38).
    Bride OM1, Dunwoody L, Lowe-Strong A, Kennedy SM.
    Author information

    Abstract
    The Silver Lining Questionnaire (SLQ-38) is purported to measure 10 aspects of adversarial growth in illness. To date however, no empirical evidence exists to support this claim. Hence the aim of this study was to investigate the factor structure of the SLQ-38 in a sample of 560 individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), cancer, cardiac, and renal disease. The results demonstrate that 24 SLQ-38 items can be factored into five subscales: improved personal relationships, greater appreciation for life, positive influence on others, personal inner strength and changes in life philosophy, all of which are in accordance with the literature on adversarial growth. Individuals with MS experienced lower adversarial growth compared to other illness groups. Gender, age and time since diagnosis were unrelated to adversarial growth in illness. The utility of the revised SLQ-38 is discussed along with suggestions for future research on the convergent and divergent validity of this revised instrument.
     
  16. TiredSam

    TiredSam Moderator Staff Member

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    I have found my grumpy cynical outlook to be a source of great comfort and credit the improvements I have made since getting ME to it. I would recommend skeptical grumpiness to everyone.

    I would also like to note that the universe is a cold dark place where random shit happens. It could happen to you tomorrow for no reason. If you have trouble accepting that and want to wrap yourself up in positivity it won't make a blind bit of difference, but be my guest by all means.

    I do not acknowledge the benefits of having ME. I may have learnt a few things and have more understanding and appreciation of a few things, but without ME I would be learning and understanding a lot more different things. I had to give up voluntary work teaching homeless kids in favour of lying on the sofa having a headache. I think I was getting more "personal growth" from the first thing.

    Other people appreciated me more when I did more. No-one comes round to sit at my feet listening to my wise insights now that I'm ill, and if they did I'd have to boot them out after 20 minutes. I appreciated life before my illness. ME did not give me a new start in life, it put my life on hold. A cure would give me a new start in life, not being presented with a questionnaire full of positivity platitudes.


    Why did they call it "Silver lining"? Doesn't giving the questionnaire that title introduce bias before you've even read the first question? Why didn't they just call it the "Cheer up luv!" or "Look on the bright side!" questionnaire?

    I wonder if calling it "Life sucks" or "Shit happens" or "What's the fucking point?" would influence the answers given? Now that would be a much more interesting paper.

    No shit. But there are really, aren't there?

    I feel much better after that little rant. Did me the world of good. Be grumpy.
     
  17. Trish

    Trish Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    My sentiments exactly, @TiredSam.

    Just reading through the questionnaire reminded me forcibly of all the negatives of being ill. And made me cross and grumpy that well people feel they have the right to inflict this further suffering on already sick and suffering people.
     
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  18. TiredSam

    TiredSam Moderator Staff Member

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    Well at least it did some good then :grumpy:
     
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  19. Valentijn

    Valentijn Moderator Staff Member

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    :expressionless:
     
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  20. TiredSam

    TiredSam Moderator Staff Member

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    You really like to tweak the nose of terror, don't you?

    :emoji_punch:
     
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