Dr Carmen Arth (she/they) is the Vice President, Student Life and Learning at Concordia University of Edmonton, Canada. Dr Arth has also been an Associate Professor in Psychology (CUE), the Director of Clinical Training in Marital and Family Therapy at Loma Linda University (CC) and has over twenty years experience as a narrative therapist in community and private practice. Dr Arth is passionate about the transformative potential of teaching and research to co-create opportunities not just for learning, but also for positive growth and flourishing. Dr Arth conducts research that brings theoretical and practical applications of positive psychology together with narrative inquiry to explore topics of transformative change, inclusion, and thriving. When she is not working on these passion projects, Dr Arth can be found walking or mountain biking through Edmonton’s beautiful river valley with her pup, and her family and friends.
Ways People Thrive During a Pandemic: Stories of Growth, Self-prioritization, and Resilience
This study addresses how the Covid-19 pandemic affects our lives, and how the situation may even contribute to well-being and thriving in unexpected ways. We address two main research questions: What psychological and contextual factors support people during a pandemic?; and, What learning, appreciation, or growth have people identified during the pandemic that they hope to carry forward? 205 people participated in our study from various places across Canada, the US, and Europe. The study includes 5 quantitative measures: Comprehensive Inventory of Thriving (CIT) (Sue et al., 2014), Brief Resilience Scale (BRS)(Smith et al., 2008), Personal Growth Scale (PGIS)(Ryff & Keyes, 1995), Inclusion of Nature in Self Scale (INS)(Schultz, 2002), and Curiosity and Exploration Inventory-II (CEI-II)(Kashdan et al., 2009); 5 qualitative questions addressing relationships to personal growth, nature, and pets, spirituality and supporting beliefs or meaning structures, and potential sustainable life change; and demographic questions including age, gender and sexual identity, access and engagement with green space, employment status and changes, income, living arrangements, and pets. Digital interviews conducted 6 months later, explore continued and sustainable growth, engagement, subjective meaning, and key learning that supports thriving. Personal growth and resilience are the highest predictors of thriving shown in the quantitative measures, and are emphasized themes in the qualitative measures, along with self-prioritization, connectedness, and resilience. A theme of unobligated time emerged as having high value to support and provide space for self-reflection, creativity, emotional and psychological self-care, and committing to living with intention and self-determination.