Original Research

Exploring personality traits, mindfulness and sense of coherence of women working in higher education

Claude-Hélène Mayer, Sabie Surtee, Delene Visser
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 14, No 1 | a674 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v14i1.674 | © 2016 Claude-Hélène Mayer, Sabie Surtee, Delene Visser | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 November 2014 | Published: 22 July 2016

About the author(s)

Claude-Hélène Mayer, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, South Africa
Sabie Surtee, Higher Education Resource Services Network in South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa
Delene Visser, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Orientation: Previous research shows that personality traits (PT), mindfulness (MI) and sense of coherence (SOC) are connected to psychological well-being and of importance to Human Resource Management (HRM).

Purpose: The purpose of this article was to determine the relationship between PT, MI and SOC of women working in South African Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

Motivation for study: The study explores the relationships of PT, MI and SOC in women in HEIs to contribute to a deeper understanding of these relationships within the HRM context, particularly with regard to training and development in HEIs.

Research design, approach and method: A cross-sectional, survey-based research design was used to address the research objective. Both snowball and convenience sampling were utilised to obtain the sample (n = 125). The sample was derived from the Higher Education Resource Services network. The Life Orientation Questionnaire, Freiburger MI Inventory and Big Five PT Questionnaire were utilised and showed acceptable levels of reliability. Exploratory factor analysis with either a direct oblimin or varimax rotation was used to investigate the factor structure of the questionnaires (λ < 1 were used), because one of the questionnaires had not been used in the South African context before. Descriptive statistics, factor analysis, Spearman/ Pearson correlations, canonical correlations and multiple regressions were used to determine the relationship between the variables.

Main findings: The results showed a significant relationship between the components PT, MI and SOC. It appears that PT plays a significant role in influencing MI and SOC.

Practical/managerial implications: Managers and human resource practitioners need to recognise how PT, MI and SOC interrelate and need to become aware of the impact of these positive psychological constructs on women in HEIs.

Contribution: These findings contribute new knowledge that can be used to create healthy HEIs through empirically-based, gender-specific training programmes.


women, higher education, South Africa


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