The Indivisible Self

On the base of an empirical study conducted by Hattie et al. in 2004, Myers and Sweeney (2005a, 2005b) developed the IS-Wel, an evidence-based model of wellness (Myers & Sweeney, 2007). This evidence-based model of wellness emerged from a factor analysis that was conducted on the WOW. The IS-Wel is based on the assumption that the individual is a unity, an indivisible self that is holistic in nature and more than the sum of its parts (Schiffkopf, 1982).

In this model, the self is the core of wellness and connected to the five second- order factors of the self, including the creative, coping, social, essential and physical ones. These five second-order factors of the self include the original 17 components as clearly defined third-order factors. Besides the second-order factors, the model of the IS-Wel also includes a high-order factor, which is wellness (Hattie et al., 2004; Myers, 2009; Myers & Sweeney, 2005b). In accordance with the factor structure, the IS-Wel model was developed. It is based on a number of exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. The data used for the analysis derived from the Wellness Evaluation of Lifestyle (WEL) Inventory (Myers & Sweeney, 2004, 2005a, 2005b), which is a particular assessment instrument that was developed to assess life tasks and sub-tasks as first described by Sweeney and Witmer (1991). The WEL-S is a 120-item questionnaire that uses a five-point Likert scale and has been tested several times statistically (Myers & Sweeney, 2004, 2005a, 2005b).

The IS-Wel was developed with the factor structure described above. It contains the same elements of the HWM as does the WOW. However, the theoretical categories of life tasks and life forces are not grouped. The elements are grouped into the second-order factors, representing the five selves that are part of the self and that build the self as a whole person (Myers, 2009; Myers & Sweeney, 2005a, 2005b). All of the elements of self, the creative, the coping, the social, the essential and the physical parts of self, contain the third-order factors, which were originally the 17 tasks of the HWM. In this model they are defined in different interrelationships: The essential self includes spirituality, self-care, gender identity and cultural identity, the creative self integrates thinking, emotions, control, positive humour and work, the coping self contains realistic beliefs, stress management, self-worth and leisure, the social self refers to friendship and love and the physical self is based on exercise and nutrition (Myers & Sweeney, 2004). One year later, Myers and Sweeney (2005a, 2005b) explained that the 17 tasks include the five life tasks and the 12 sub-tasks of self-direction.

The IS-Wel is affected by the local, the global, the institutional and the chrono- metrical contexts and in turn affects them. According to Myers and Sweeney (2005a), the local (safety) includes family, neighbourhood and community and the institutional (policies and law) integrates education, religion, government and busi- ness/industry. The global (world events) consists of politics, culture, global events, environment, media and community), while the chronometrical (life span) is built upon the perpetual, positive and purposeful. These four contexts were not based on empirical research studies, but on theoretical literature reviews only (Myers & Sweeney, 2005b).

Research on the HWM is conducted across disciplines and cultures and it can be defined as a conceptual model that is used in qualitative and in quantitative research. It has been argued already since the 1990s that health research needs qualitative studies (Jensen & Allen, 1994; Mayer, 2011; Mayer & Boness, 2011a, 2011b), also with regard to holistic wellness concepts (Berrios & Lucca, 2006). Nel (2013), who has used the HWM in a qualitative way, argues that it is important and useful in qualitative research, particularly using the WOW.

In this study, the HWM and the WOW are used in an analysis of the life of Paulo Coelho within a psychobiographical framework. The next section therefore refers to the HWM in psychobiographical research.

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