Psychological Theories Applied in This Research

The theoretical frameworks chosen for this study include the broad theoretical contexts of the study in terms of personality psychology and positive psychology and the choice of the HWM of Witmer and Sweeney (1992) and Myers, Sweeney and Witmer (2000); discussed in Chap. 4, as well as the FDT of Fowler (1981), discussed in Chap. 5.[1]

The researcher has an interest in health research with particular focus on saluto- genesis, mental health and well-being, as evidenced in former research projects and publications (Mayer, 2011; Mayer & Boness, 2013; Mayer & Krause, 2012). She has explored the question of what keeps leaders and individuals in management positions healthy. However, she has not yet explored how outstanding and world- famous individuals, such as Paulo Coelho, keep well and healthy.

The researcher has a particular interest in spirituality in the context of mental health and well-being, as shown in various recent publications (e.g. Mayer & Viviers, 2014a, 2014b). With regard to previous research, the researcher assumes that spirituality and faith have a strong impact on mental health and well-being. Paulo Coelho is of particular interest to the researcher, since he has published extensively on the topic of spirituality in daily life interactions. The researcher expects to find that Coelho follows a spiritual path that gives him strength to master his life as a celebrity and writer. At the same time, the interest in Coelho’s spirituality is driven by the researcher’s interest in developing faith and spirituality and applying these concepts in daily interactions. The researcher is therefore positively biased with regard to the topics of mental health and holistic wellness, as well as with regard to spirituality and faith development, which are consciously addressed through a self-reflexive attitude, as emphasised by Dilthey (see Sect. 6.3).

Related to the above and for the reason of the self-development and self- actualisation of the researcher, the researcher has chosen theories within her field of interests which she has not worked with and applied in research before, but have been proven in earlier psychobiographical studies and can be applied to the first- and third-person documents of the subject researched.

These two concepts of wellness and spirituality (here in terms of faith) seem to be interrelated (Mayer & Geldenhuys, 2014) and should therefore be explored in depth with regard to a psychobiographical study on an outstanding and extraordinary individual.

The first step of content analysis (see Sect. 6.9) has revealed that the first- and third-person documents on Paulo Coelho refer to the topics of mental health and well-being, as well as to the life theme of faith and Coelho’s intra-psychological development. Therefore, it seems that the analysis of the life in terms of wellness and faith - which obviously seem to be interlinked as well - is a good choice to be explored in depth in the psychobiographical study context.

The HWM (Myers et al., 2001; Sweeney & Witmer, 1991; Witmer & Sweeney, 1992) is based on a holistic approach to wellness and includes life tasks, life forces and global events that integrate spirituality, self-direction, work and leisure, friendship and love (Myers et al., 2000) - all tasks that play a role in the life of Paulo Coelho and in the documents analysed. These tasks have an influence on the life of the subject, his wellness, faith, success and achievements, which should not be underestimated - particularly with regard to the writer’s productivity, creativity and his international success.

Furthermore, faith and its development have played an important role in the life and development of Paulo Coelho as a person and as a writer. It is a theme that occurs throughout his life and many of his creative works. Therefore, the theory of faith development seems to be one of the most interesting theories to be used for analysis in this study, as shown in the findings in Sects. 7.6, 8.3.2, and 8.4.2.

Finally, both of the theories seem to be interlinked and wellness and faith (in terms of spirituality) might influence each other mutually (Mayer & Geldenhuys, 2014; Mayer & Viviers, 2014a, 2014b). The combination of these two theories aims at gaining deeper information on the interrelation of mental health and faith from a qualitative psychological approach, which needs further investigation, as described in recent research (Mayer & Geldenhuys, 2014; Mayer & Viviers, 2014a, 2014b).

After the description of the sampling process, the first- and third-person documents and the application of psychological theories in the methodological context, the following sub-chapters refer to the data analysis and interpretation in this psychological research, integrating content analysis and the analysis of primary indicators and prototypical scenes.

  • [1] The choice of psychological theories applied in this research is presented in Sect. 1.4 and isaddressed in Sect. 6.8.3 as a sub-chapter of Sect. 6.8 on data collection. The choice of theoreticalapplication is presented in this methodological section to give the reader an idea about the possibleauthor bias with regard to the choice of theories in terms of data collection, analysis and interpretation and is therefore viewed as part of the methodological discussion of data collection.
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