A Framework for the Adaptation of Positive Psychological Interventions to North American Indigenous Populations

Prev Sci. 2021 Oct;22(7):913-922. doi: 10.1007/s11121-021-01282-z. Epub 2021 Jul 22.


Positive psychology research has led to the development of brief interventions designed to promote positive emotions: positive psychological interventions (PPIs). Randomized controlled trials examining PPIs have found them to be effective in increasing well-being and decreasing depressive symptoms. PPIs have been studied in samples consisting primarily of White Americans; however, PPIs may be useful for members of North American Indigenous groups. PPIs align well with Indigenous views on health, which tend to be strengths-based, holistic, and encompassing the whole body (including the medicine wheel's four dimensions of spirit, mind, heart, and body). This paper provides a framework for the adaptation of PPIs for Indigenous communities and a review of preliminary data on the relationships between positive psychological characteristics and health outcomes including substance use. Implications include the potential widespread impact of culturally adapted PPIs given their alignment with Indigenous thoughts on health and relative ease of administration.

Keywords: Indigenous; Positive psychology; Positive psychology interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Indians, North American*
  • North America
  • Population Groups
  • Psychosocial Intervention
  • Substance-Related Disorders*