Positive psychology progress: empirical validation of interventions

Am Psychol. Jul-Aug 2005;60(5):410-21. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.60.5.410.

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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Happiness*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Personality
  • Psychology / trends*
  • Psychotherapy
  • Social Values
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology