The differential effects of solution-focused and problem-focused coaching questions on the affect, attentional control and cognitive flexibility of undergraduate students experiencing study-related stress

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The differential effects of solution-focused and problem-focused coaching questions on the affect, attentional control and cognitive flexibility of undergraduate students experiencing study-related stress

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Citation: 
The Journal of Positive Psychology Volume 11, 2016 Issue 5, Pages 460-469
Summary: 

Previous research has demonstrated that Solution-Focused (SF) coaching can help individuals to attain positive outcomes. However, not much is known about the processes through which these positive outcomes are achieved. In two experiments, we subjected undergraduate students to either SF or Problem-Focused (PF) questions about their study-related problems. In Experiment 1, we hypothesized and found that SF questioning (as compared to PF questioning) leads to higher positive affect (H1a) and lower negative affect (H1b). Contrary to our expectations, SF questions did not lead to higher attentional control (H2). In Experiment 2, we aimed to replicate the hypotheses for positive and negative affect and additionally hypothesized that SF questioning leads to higher cognitive flexibility (H3a). The results supported these hypotheses. However, our hypothesis that the differential effects of SF and PF questioning on cognitive flexibility are mediated by positive affect (H3b) was not supported. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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