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Passing on positivity, can PsyCap help healthy ageing?


Brigid Veale
10 June 2015

As the Australian community ages, the development of innovative and creative ways to increase the wellbeing of the elderly is essential. One method being explored is PsyCap transference.

PsyCap, or Psychological Capital, refers to an individual’s levels of hope, efficacy, resilience and optimism.

In a world-first study, a Southern Cross University research team is working with Wesley Mission Brisbane to examine whether aged care workers can transfer PsyCap to the elderly.

Led by Professor Yvonne Brunetto, the study aims to enhance the wellbeing of older Australians through measuring PsyCap transference between aged care workers and those in their care. The research involves face-to-face interviews with aged care workers and those they care for in the Gold Coast and northern NSW regions.

“If the results are positive this will lead to an increase in the wellbeing of residents. In practice this means aged care workers who have higher levels of PsyCap behave in positive ways that are passed on to the people in their care,” Professor Brunetto said.

“In turn, these residents replicate the positive behaviour and experience higher levels of optimism and hope, and lower levels of stress, facilitating the development of better longer-term wellbeing outcomes.

“Past research shows that wellbeing casually affects both longevity and quality of life outcomes.”

Wesley Mission Brisbane’s Director of Education and Research Dr Judy Wollin said the study would help optimise staff skills and knowledge to enhance aged-care provision.

“Resilience is key to building staff capacity to provide excellence in key areas on an ongoing basis,” Dr Wollin said.

“Wesley Mission Brisbane is eager to participate in rigorous research that will inform our work and the wider aged care industry on the role staff resilience plays in the provision of quality care.”

The research team is seeking more participants for the study and is hoping to hear from nursing homes and residential care organisations in the region who would like to take part.

Interested parties can contact Professor Yvonne Brunetto at