Article

Positive Psychology Progress: Empirical Validation of Interventions.

Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
American Psychologist (Impact Factor: 6.87). 01/2005; 60(5):410-21. DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.60.5.410
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Positive psychology has flourished in the last 5 years. The authors review recent developments in the field, including books, meetings, courses, and conferences. They also discuss the newly created classification of character strengths and virtues, a positive complement to the various editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (e. g., American Psychiatric Association, 1994), and present some cross-cultural findings that suggest a surprising ubiquity of strengths and virtues. Finally, the authors focus on psychological interventions that increase individual happiness. In a 6-group, random-assignment, placebo-controlled Internet study, the authors tested 5 purported happiness interventions and 1 plausible control exercise. They found that 3 of the interventions lastingly increased happiness and decreased depressive symptoms. Positive interventions can supplement traditional interventions that relieve suffering and may someday be the practical legacy of positive psychology.

1 Follower
 · 
195 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Virtues, broadly understood as stable and robust dispositions for certain responses across morally relevant situations, have been a growing topic of interest in psychology. A central topic of discussion has been whether studies showing that situations can strongly influence our responses provide evidence against the existence of virtues (as a kind of stable and robust disposition). In this review, we examine reasons for thinking that the prevailing methods for examining situational influences are limited in their ability to test dispositional stability and robustness; or, then, whether virtues exist. We make the case that these limitations can be addressed by aggregating repeated, cross-situational assessments of environmental, psychological and physiological variables within everyday life-a form of assessment often called ecological momentary assessment (EMA, or experience sampling). We, then, examine how advances in smartphone application (app) technology, and their mass adoption, make these mobile devices an unprecedented vehicle for EMA and, thus, the psychological study of virtue. We, additionally, examine how smartphones might be used for virtue development by promoting changes in thought and behavior within daily life; a technique often called ecological momentary intervention (EMI). While EMA/I have become widely employed since the 1980s for the purposes of understanding and promoting change amongst clinical populations, few EMA/I studies have been devoted to understanding or promoting virtues within non-clinical populations. Further, most EMA/I studies have relied on journaling, PDAs, phone calls and/or text messaging systems. We explore how smartphone app technology provides a means of making EMA a more robust psychological method, EMI a more robust way of promoting positive change, and, as a result, opens up new possibilities for studying and promoting virtues.
    Frontiers in Psychology 05/2015; 1(6). DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00481 · 2.80 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Values-in-Action-classification distinguishes six core virtues and 24 strengths. As the assignment of the strengths to the virtues was done on theoretical grounds it still needs empirical verification. As an alternative to factor analytic investigations the present study utilizes expert judgments. In a pilot study the conceptual overlap among five sources of knowledge (strength’s name including synonyms, short definitions, brief descriptions, longer theoretical elaborations, and item content) about a particular strength was examined. The results show that the five sources converged quite well, with the short definitions and the items being slightly different from the other. All strengths exceeded a cut-off value but the convergence was much better for some strengths (e.g., zest) than for others (e.g., perspective). In the main study 70 experts (from psychology, philosophy, theology, etc.) and 41 laypersons rated how prototypical the strengths are for each of the six virtues. The results showed that 10 were very good markers for their virtues, nine were good markers, four were acceptable markers, and only one strength failed to reach the cut-off score for its assigned virtue. However, strengths were often markers for two or even three virtues, and occasionally they marked the other virtue more strongly than the one they were assigned to. The virtue prototypicality ratings were slightly positively correlated with higher coefficients being found for justice and humanity. A factor analysis of the 24 strengths across the ratings yielded the six factors with an only slightly different composition of strengths and double loadings. It is proposed to adjust either the classification (by reassigning strengths and by allowing strengths to be subsumed under more than one virtue) or to change the definition of certain strengths so that they only exemplify one virtue. The results are discussed in the context of factor analytic attempts to verify the structural model.
    Frontiers in Psychology 04/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00460 · 2.80 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Gratitude interventions can be divided into those that explicitly cultivate appreciative feelings (gratitude journaling) and those that strengthen relationships (gratitude letter). There is an absence of research on the motivation to participate in different gratitude interventions. Using an experimental approach, we compared two gratitude interventions on underlying motivations for starting and completion. We provided students (N = 904) with an opportunity to start a web-based intervention (gratitude journaling or letter). Subsequently, we measured the perceived usefulness of the intervention, social norms related to using this intervention, their self-control, and intention to start the intervention. Results showed that keeping a gratitude journal and writing a gratitude letter to someone were perceived as equally useful and socially acceptable. Yet participants felt less efficacious in writing a gratitude letter, which in turn decreased self-initiation and the actual completion of the intervention. As for individual differences, people with greater dispositional gratitude expected the intervention to be easier, more beneficial, and socially acceptable; meaningful sex differences also emerged. Our findings provide new insights into underlying motivations and individual differences that influence the initiation and efficacy of gratitude interventions.
    Personality and Individual Differences 03/2015; 75:1-6. DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2014.11.004 · 1.86 Impact Factor