The effect of positive psychology activities on young people
Recently, a group of researchers from the University College Dublin led by Prof. Alan Carr analysed 347 studies with over 72,000 participants who were practicing various positive psychology interventions. They tried to identify the effect of the positive psychology activities on participants’ wellbeing, depression, anxiety, quality of life, and stress. They found that while adults showed moderate or small improvements in their health, using positive psychology interventions, young people demonstrated the highest levels of improvement. This is promising given that many such interventions are implemented in schools as ad hoc, or structured wellbeing programmes.
Another analysis of multitude of studies published around the same time looked specifically at young people. The researchers found that a series of positive psychology interventions implemented in schools resulted in participants’ more significant decrease of depression and increase of deeper-level wellbeing, as opposed to simple happiness and the effect was seen both short-term, as well as long term. This is yet another promising finding offering us hope in relation to helping children learn life skills for a brighter future. However, the number of studies used in this meta analysis was small, so more research needs to be carried out for us to confirm the findings.
Carr, A., Cullen, K., Keeney, C., Canning, C., Mooney, O., Chinseallaigh, E., & O’Dowd, A. (2020). Effectiveness of positive psychology interventions: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Positive Psychology. https://doi-org.jproxy.nuim.ie/10.1080/17439760.2020.1818807
Tejada-Gallardo, C., Blasco-Belled, A., Torrelles-Nadal, C., & Alsinet, C. (2020). Effects of school-based multicomponent positive psychology interventions on well-being and distress in adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 49(10), 1943–1960. https://doi-org.jproxy.nuim.ie/10.1007/s10964-020-01289-9