Coping with stress through bibliotherapy : the effects of reading Zhuang Zi’s fables for Taiwan college students
Fu, Natalie Hsiao-Wei
Thesis or dissertation
- © 2010 Natalie Hsiao-Wei Fu. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
The term “Bibliotherapy” was first coined in 1916. It was mainly used in hospitals for veterans and psychiatric patients before the 1970s (Alexander & Buggie, 1976). Later on, bibliotherapy was applied in the developmental and psychotherapeutic field. Russell (1958) defined bibliotherapy as the application of relevant literature to deal with the client’s personal problem and developmental needs at the proper time.
In this thesis, an appropriate source of reading to effect stress reduction has been found in Zhuang Zi’s fables. This philosophy may have current relevance for our hectic and materialistic modern life. This thesis presents an experiment in bibliotherapy carried out with Taiwanese college students reading a popularized version of the fables.
For the purpose of studying the effects of bibliotherapy with Zhuang Zi’s fables on various aspects of stress that could be anticipated in the lives of students, an inventory called the “Philosophical Beliefs toward Stress Coping Inventory” was designed, and after pilot testing it was composed of 45 items with a Likert scale. These expressed a low-key philosophy of acceptance of circumstances, i.e., “go with the flow”, seeking inner peace rather than worldly achievements. The dimensions were confirmed in retrospect through factor analysis to be “Discarding Prejudice”, “Removing Greed”, and “Forgoing Demands”. The main findings of this study are as follows:
1. There are significant effects on reduction of the following stress: Financial Problems, Career Planning, School Work, and Interpersonal Relationships.
2. Reducing the stress of Financial Problems is mainly influenced by the concept of Removing Greed.
3. Career Planning stress reduction is significantly influenced by the concepts of Quitting Stubbornness, Managing Emotions, Freeing the Spirit, and Accepting Life’s Fate.
4. Accepting the concepts of Quitting Stubbornness and Being Optimistic in Adversity facilitates stress reduction.
5. People with a “Type A Behaviour Pattern” can be helped in stress reduction.
6. Females are more influenced than males in stress reduction by bibliotherapy intervention; however, males are more influenced than females in stress reduction by self-help bibliotherapy.
The results show the beneficial effects of the intervention, which can be recommended by educational or health professionals as an alternative approach in coping with stress.
- Centre for Educational Studies, The University of Hull
- Bright, Barry P., 1947-
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