Positive psychological characteristics such as optimism, positive affect, gratitude, and related constructs may play an important role in health. In patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D), positive psychological constructs have been associated with superior medical outcomes, including better glucose control and lower mortality rates. The beneficial effects of positive psychological states in T2D are most likely mediated through health behaviors such as increased physical activity and adherence to a healthier diet. Furthermore, numerous studies with non-diabetic populations have shown that performing various positive psychological exercises (e.g., writing gratitude letters, performing acts of kindness) have led to greater well-being. Compared to other available treatments, these activities are simple and involve constructs that have been associated with superior adherence and diabetes-related outcomes. However, there has been minimal research on the use of positive psychological interventions in T2D, though small studies of related interventions have been linked to improvements in positive affect and, in some cases, greater health behavior adherence and lower blood sugar. Continued work is needed to ascertain whether positive psychology interventions can truly impact functioning, blood sugar, and overall health in this key population.
Keywords: Diabetes; Optimism; Positive affect; Positive psychology; Positive psychology intervention; Well-being.