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26 Positive psychology-relevant abstracts: July '17 newsletter

Here is a downloadable PDF of these 26 abstracts.

Chamodraka, M., M. R. Fitzpatrick, et al. (2017). "Hope as empowerment model: A client-based perspective on the process of hope development." The Journal of Positive Psychology 12(3): 232-245. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2016.1225115

            Research on the relationship of client hope to successful therapy outcome underlines the need to discover the processes and conditions when hope flourishes. Snyder?s Hope Theory has been applied to psychotherapy but client subjective experiences are needed to illuminate nuances in the process. The present study examined the trajectory of hope development in psychotherapy using interviews with 18 counseling clients, analyzed using grounded theory methodology. Findings were synthesized into a dynamic model titled hope as empowerment model (HEM) that shares features of Snyder’s Hope Theory. HEM introduces patterns of particular salience to psychotherapy. The compatibility of client preferences with therapist input raised faith in the process of counseling and, in turn, hope in a positive outcome. A number of conditions, including the flexibility of client role preferences and the directiveness of hope-inspiring therapeutic strategies, influenced the nature and strength of client hope. Implications for therapy and positive psychology are considered.


Denovan, A. and A. Macaskill (2017). "Stress and subjective well-being among first year uk undergraduate students." Journal of Happiness Studies 18(2): 505-525. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9736-y


            Transition to university is stressful and successful adjustment is imperative for well-being. Historically research on transitional stress focussed on negative outcomes and ill health. This is the first UK study applying a positive psychology approach to investigate the characteristics that facilitate adjustment among new university students. A range of psychological strengths conceptualised as covitality factors, shown individually to influence the stress and subjective well-being (SWB) relationship were assessed among 192 first year UK undergraduates in week three of their first semester and again 6 months later. Path analyses revealed that optimism mediated the relationship between stress and negative affect (a component of SWB) over time, and academic self-efficacy demonstrated significant relationships with life satisfaction and positive affect. Contrary to predictions, stress levels remained stable over time although academic alienation increased and self-efficacy decreased. Optimism emerged as a key factor for new students to adjust to university, helping to buffer the impact of stress on well-being throughout the academic year. Incorporating stress management and psycho-educational interventions to develop strengths is discussed as a way of promoting confidence and agency in new students to help them cope better with the stress at university.


Diener, E., S. D. Pressman, et al. (2017). "If, why, and when subjective well-being influences health, and future needed research." Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being 9(2): 133-167. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/aphw.12090

            (Available in free full text) We review evidence on whether subjective well-being (SWB) can influence health, why it might do so, and what we know about the conditions where this is more or less likely to occur. This review also explores how various methodological approaches inform the study of the connections between subjective well-being and health and longevity outcomes. Our review of this growing literature indicates areas where data are substantial and where much more research is needed. We conclude that SWB can sometimes influence health, and review a number of reasons why it does so. A key open question is when it does and does not do so—in terms of populations likely to be affected, types of SWB that are most influential (including which might be harmful), and types of health and illnesses that are most likely to be affected. We also describe additional types of research that are now much needed in this burgeoning area of interest, for example, cross-cultural studies, animal research, and experimental interventions designed to raise long-term SWB and assess the effects on physical health. This research area is characterised both by potentially extremely important findings, and also by pivotal research issues and questions.


Duffy, R. D., C. L. Torrey, et al. (2017). "Calling in retirement: A mixed methods study." The Journal of Positive Psychology 12(4): 399-413. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2016.1187201

            This mixed methods study aimed to examine the experiences of a calling in retirement with a sample of 196 retired adults. First, a qualitative analysis explored the types of activities participants experienced as a calling as well as the types of barriers that participants perceived as keeping them from living their calling. ‘Helping Others’ emerged as the largest category of calling that participants endorsed and ‘No Resources to Live Calling’ emerged as the most frequently endorsed barrier. Building on our qualitative findings, we conducted a quantitative analysis to examine the relation of perceiving a calling with well-being. Consistent with prior research with working adult populations and in support of our hypotheses, perceiving a calling related to life meaning and life satisfaction, and structural equation modeling demonstrated that life meaning and living a calling (via life meaning) fully mediated the perceiving calling-life satisfaction relation. Implications for research and practice are discussed.


Friedman, E. M., C. Ruini, et al. (2017). "Lighten up! A community-based group intervention to promote psychological well-being in older adults." Aging & Mental Health 21(2): 199-205. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2015.1093605

            Objectives: Aging is often characterized by declines in physical and mental health and increased risk for depression and social isolation. A protective factor that has been found to effectively moderate these phenomena is psychological well-being. The aim of his study was to pilot test a novel group intervention (Lighten UP! program) for the promotion of psychological well-being in older adults living in the community.  Methods: Lighten UP! is an eight-week program consisting of 90-minute group session designed to teach participants to identify and savor positive experiences across multiple domains of eudaimonic well-being. It was delivered to a sample of 103 men and women aged 60 or over, that were assessed pre- and post-intervention with Ryff's Psychological Well-being Scale (PWB), Life Satisfaction scale, Geriatric Depression Scale, Symptom Questionnaire, and items measuring sleep complaints and social well-being.Results: At the end of the eight weeks, participants reported significantly increased PWB, life satisfaction, and social well-being along with lower levels of depression and fewer physical symptoms and sleep complaints. These gains were particularly robust for individuals with lower pre-program levels of PWB.  Conclusions: This pilot investigation suggests the feasibility of a short group program for enhancing well-being in older adults. Future controlled investigations with long-term follow-up assessment are needed to confirm the effectiveness and sustained benefits of the Lighten UP! program.


Gadeikis, D., N. Bos, et al. (2017). "Engaging in an experiential processing mode increases positive emotional response during recall of pleasant autobiographical memories." Behaviour Research and Therapy 92: 68-76. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796717300402

            (Available in free full text) It is important to identify effective emotion regulation strategies to increase positive emotion experience in the general population and in clinical conditions characterized by anhedonia. There are indications that engaging in experiential processing (direct awareness of sensory and bodily experience) bolsters positive emotion experience but this has not been extensively tested during memory recall. To further test this notion, 99 community participants recalled two positive autobiographical memories. Prior to the second recall, participants either underwent an experiential, analytical, or distraction induction (n = 33 per condition). Subjective happiness and sadness ratings and heart rate variability (HRV) response were measured during each recall. Greater spontaneous use of experiential processing during the first memory was associated with greater happiness experience, but was unrelated to HRV and sadness experience. Inducing experiential processing increased happiness experience relative to both the analytical and distraction conditions (but had no impact on sadness experience). There was a significant difference in HRV between conditions. The experiential condition led to a trend-significant increase, and the other conditions a non-significant decrease, in HRV from the first to the second memory. These results suggest that engaging in experiential processing is an effective way to up-regulate positive emotion experience during positive memory recall.


Gallagher, M. W., S. C. Marques, et al. (2017). "Hope and the academic trajectory of college students." Journal of Happiness Studies 18(2): 341-352. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9727-z


            Previous longitudinal studies of student hope have established a connection between how people think about the future and their college achievement. This study examined the role of hope in predicting the achievement and retention of college students while controlling for educational history and two other psychological constructs, academic self-efficacy and engagement. Hope, self-efficacy, engagement were all correlated with both the number of semesters enrolled and cumulative grade point averages (GPAs) for the first 4 years of college. Hope was the only factor that had unique effects when examining predictors simultaneously and controlling for academic history. Hope uniquely predicted the number of enrolled semesters, whether students returned for the 2nd semester of college, whether students graduated in 4 years, and students’ GPAs across 4 years of college. Results therefore indicate that hope was the most robust predictor of academic achievement in college after controlling for educational history. These findings point to a need to help students develop the capacity to initiate and sustain movement toward goals in the pursuit of higher academic achievement.


Gloster, A. T., J. Klotsche, et al. (2017). "Increasing valued behaviors precedes reduction in suffering: Findings from a randomized controlled trial using act." Behaviour Research and Therapy 91: 64-71. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796717300219

            Psychological flexibility theory (PFT) suggests three key processes of change: increases in value-directed behaviors, reduction in struggle with symptoms, and reduction in suffering. We hypothesized that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) would change these processes and that increases in valued action and decreases in struggle would precede change in suffering. Data were derived from a randomized clinical trial testing ACT (vs. waitlist) for treatment-resistant patients with primary panic disorder with/without agoraphobia (n = 41). Valued behavior, struggle, and suffering were assessed at each of eight sessions. Valued actions, struggle, and suffering all changed over the course of therapy. Overall changes in struggle and suffering were interdependent whereas changes in valued behavior were largely independent. Levels of valued behaviors influenced subsequent suffering, but the other two variables did not influence subsequent levels of valued action. This finding supports a central tenet of PFT that increased (re-)engagement in valued behaviors precedes reductions in suffering. Possible implications for a better understanding of response and non-response to psychotherapy are discussed.


Graber, R. (2017). Do best friends promote psychological resilience in adults? . British Psychological Society Annual Conference. Brighton.

            Although psychological evidence suggests that social support broadly facilitates the development of psychological resilience in adulthood, little is understood about the particular role of best friendships in this regard. Dr Rebecca Graber led this preliminary study which hypothesised that a better quality best friendship would positively impact the development of psychological resilience in a community sample of British adults.  The study analysed whether better perceived close friendship quality significantly predicted subsequent psychological resilience at 12-month follow-up, controlling for earlier resilience; 75 adults completed the questionnaire.  A community sample of 185 adults based in the UK was recruited through online social networking sites, university events and community organisations supporting socially isolated adults.  Participants completed assessments on psychological resilience, best friendship quality, coping behaviours and self-esteem. Participants then completed the same assessments one year later, to see how best friendship quality had impacted resilience processes over this period. Longitudinal regression and bootstrapped multiple mediation analyses were used to explore the results.  Project Timeframe: The research project commenced in 2010 and ended in 2012.  Project Aims: The aim of the project was to determine the impact of best friendship upon resilience development in adults over time.  Project Findings & Impact: Results revealed that best friendships are a protective mechanism supporting the development of psychological resilience in adults, although the mechanisms for this relationship remain unclear.  The study provided statistical evidence, for the first time, of the vital role of these valued social relationships upon resilience development in an adult sample, while posing open questions for the mechanisms underlying this effect. Consideration was also given to the limitations to the study based on sampling and measurement issues, in the context of both resilience and relationship research.  These findings support research by Dr Graber, published in 2016, revealing that best friends facilitate resilience processes in socioeconomically vulnerable children.


Hall, J. A. (2017). "Humor in romantic relationships: A meta-analysis." Personal Relationships 24(2): 306-322. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pere.12183

            This manuscript reports a meta-analysis of the correlation between humor and relationship satisfaction in romantic relationships, combining 43 distinct samples from 39 manuscripts and including 15,177 participants (54.7% female) with a mean age of 34.0 years. Drawing from 3 theoretical dimensions of humor (i.e., within-person/relational, positive/negative, instrumental/content free), weighted mean effect sizes were estimated for 12 distinct subdimensions of humor. All 6 positive types of humor were positively associated with relationship satisfaction, and 4 of 5 negative types of humor were negatively associated with relationship satisfaction. Instrumental humor was unassociated with satisfaction. In support of the proposed relational dimension, self-reported humor showed small associations with satisfaction, while partner-perceived and relational humor showed medium and large effect sizes, respectively.


Helliwell, J., R. Layard, et al. (2017). World happiness report. New York:, Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

            (Available in free full text) The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness. The World Happiness Report 2017, which ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels, has recently been released at the United Nations at an event celebrating International Day of Happiness. The report, the fifth one to come out since 2012, continues to gain global recognition as governments, organizations and civil society increasingly use happiness indicators to inform their policy-making decisions. In addition to the rankings, this year’s report includes an analysis of happiness in the workplace and a deeper look at China and Africa.


Hou, W. K., K. M. Lau, et al. (2017). "Savoring moderates the association between cancer-specific physical symptoms and depressive symptoms." Psycho-Oncology 26(2): 231-238. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pon.4114

            Background: This study investigated the associations of savoring with cancer-specific physical symptoms, psychological distress, and psychological well-being and the moderating effect of savoring in the associations between physical symptoms and psychological outcomes among cancer patients. Methods: A total of 263 Chinese adults recently diagnosed with cancer (mean time since diagnosis = 43.72 days, SD = 38.20) were recruited and administered a questionnaire assessing cancer-specific physical symptoms, perceived capability of savoring the moment, psychological distress, and psychological well-being within six months following diagnosis. Results: Structural equation modeling revealed significant associations of savoring with physical symptoms and psychological distress and well-being (β = −0.41–0.54, p < 0.0001). Savoring significantly moderated the association between physical symptoms and depressive symptoms. Simple slope tests revealed that the association was not significant at higher levels of savoring (estimate = 0.15, z = 0.49, p = 0.62) whereas it was stronger at lower (estimate = 1.11, z = 4.81, p < 0.001) and medium (estimate = 0.63, z = 3.04, p < 0.01) levels of savoring. The effects of demographic and medical covariates were controlled for in all models. Conclusions: The findings suggest that savoring is positively associated with physical and psychological functioning among people with cancer. The link between physical symptoms and depressive symptoms could be exacerbated at lower levels of savoring. Fostering savoring beliefs and practices could be a significant psychological component of symptom management among cancer patients.


Kushlev, K., S. J. Heintzelman, et al. (2017). "Enhance: Design and rationale of a randomized controlled trial for promoting enduring happiness & well-being." Contemporary Clinical Trials 52: 62-74. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2016.11.003

            (Available in free full text) Individuals who are higher in subjective well-being not only feel happier, they are more likely have fulfilling relationships, increased work performance and income, better physical health, and longer lives. Over the past several decades, the science of subjective well-being has produced insights into these benefits of happiness, and - recognizing their importance - has begun to examine the factors that lead to greater well-being, from cultivating strong relationships to pursuing meaningful goals. However, studies to date have typically focused on improving subjective well-being by intervening with singular constructs, using primarily college student populations, and were short-term in nature. Moreover, little is understood about the impact of a well-being treatment delivered online vs. in-person. In the present article, we describe a comprehensive intervention program including 3-month initial treatment followed by a 3-month follow-up, ENHANCE: Enduring Happiness and Continued Self-Enhancement. One-hundred and sixty participants will be recruited from two different sites to participate in one of two versions of ENHANCE: in-person (n=30) vs. wait-list control (n=30); or online (n=50) vs. wait-list control (n=50). Assessments will be completed at baseline, three months and six months. Our primary outcome is change in subjective well-being across treatment (3months) and follow-up (6months). Secondary outcomes include self-report and objective measures of health, as well as a psychological mediators (e.g., psychological needs) and moderators (e.g., personality) of treatment outcomes. We hope to provide researchers, practitioners, and individuals with an evidence-based treatment to improve happiness and subjective well-being.


Lindahl, J. R., N. E. Fisher, et al. (2017). "The varieties of contemplative experience: A mixed-methods study of meditation-related challenges in western buddhists." PLOS ONE 12(5): e0176239. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0176239

            (Available in free full text) Buddhist-derived meditation practices are currently being employed as a popular form of health promotion. While meditation programs draw inspiration from Buddhist textual sources for the benefits of meditation, these sources also acknowledge a wide range of other effects beyond health-related outcomes. The Varieties of Contemplative Experience study investigates meditation-related experiences that are typically underreported, particularly experiences that are described as challenging, difficult, distressing, functionally impairing, and/or requiring additional support. A mixed-methods approach featured qualitative interviews with Western Buddhist meditation practitioners and experts in Theravāda, Zen, and Tibetan traditions. Interview questions probed meditation experiences and influencing factors, including interpretations and management strategies. A follow-up survey provided quantitative assessments of causality, impairment and other demographic and practice-related variables. The content-driven thematic analysis of interviews yielded a taxonomy of 59 meditation-related experiences across 7 domains: cognitive, perceptual, affective, somatic, conative, sense of self, and social. Even in cases where the phenomenology was similar across participants, interpretations of and responses to the experiences differed considerably. The associated valence ranged from very positive to very negative, and the associated level of distress and functional impairment ranged from minimal and transient to severe and enduring. In order to determine what factors may influence the valence, impact, and response to any given experience, the study also identified 26 categories of influencing factors across 4 domains: practitioner-level factors, practice-level factors, relationships, and health behaviors. By identifying a broader range of experiences associated with meditation, along with the factors that contribute to the presence and management of experiences reported as challenging, difficult, distressing or functionally impairing, this study aims to increase our understanding of the effects of contemplative practices and to provide resources for mediators, clinicians, meditation researchers, and meditation teachers.


Littman-Ovadia, H., S. Lavy, et al. (2017). "When theory and research collide: Examining correlates of signature strengths use at work." Journal of Happiness Studies 18(2): 527-548. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9739-8


            Signature strengths are individuals’ highest-ranked strengths, those that they own, celebrate, and frequently exercise. Their use has been theorized to elicit positive affect, and contribute significantly to individuals’ functioning and well-being. The present study examined two elements of these ideas in the work arena: (a) Associations of strengths use at work with work outcomes (work meaningfulness, engagement, job satisfaction, performance, organizational citizenship behavior, and counterproductive work behaviors), focusing on differences in the associations of signature-strengths use, lowest-strengths use, and happiness strengths-use at work; (b) The role of positive affect in mediating these associations. The results, based on self-reports of an international sample of 1031 working individuals, generally indicated that the use of all kinds of strengths had positive correlates. As expected, using signature strengths had the highest, robust unique contribution to behavioral outcomes (performance, organizational citizenship behavior, and lower counterproductive work behavior). But unexpectedly, using happiness strengths (and not signature strengths) had the highest, robust unique contribution to psycho-emotional work-related outcomes (work meaningfulness, engagement, and job satisfaction). Positive affect mediated the association between strengths use and all work-related outcomes for the three kinds of strengths, when each was examined separately. However, when uses of the three kinds of strengths were examined together, positive affect mediated the effects of lowest strengths use and those of happiness strengths use, but not the effects of signature strengths use. These findings highlight the differential benefits of using different kinds of strengths, and suggest that additional (and different) mechanisms may underlie these effects.


Milojev, P. and C. G. Sibley (2017). "Normative personality trait development in adulthood: A 6-year cohort-sequential growth model." J Pers Soc Psychol 112(3): 510-526. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27831700

            The present study investigated patterns of normative change in personality traits across the adult life span (19 through 74 years of age). We examined change in extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, openness to experience and honesty-humility using data from the first 6 annual waves of the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (N = 10,416; 61.1% female, average age = 49.46). We present a cohort-sequential latent growth model assessing patterns of mean-level change due to both aging and cohort effects. Extraversion decreased as people aged, with the most pronounced declines occurring in young adulthood, and then again in old age. Agreeableness, indexed with a measure focusing on empathy, decreased in young adulthood and remained relatively unchanged thereafter. Conscientiousness increased among young adults then leveled off and remained fairly consistent for the rest of the adult life span. Neuroticism and openness to experience decreased as people aged. However, the models suggest that these latter effects may also be partially due to cohort differences, as older people showed lower levels of neuroticism and openness to experience more generally. Honesty-humility showed a pronounced and consistent increase across the adult life span. These analyses of large-scale longitudinal national probability panel data indicate that different dimensions of personality follow distinct developmental processes throughout adulthood. Our findings also highlight the importance of young adulthood (up to about the age of 30) in personality trait development, as well as continuing change throughout the adult life span.


Morgan, J. K. and S. L. Desmarais (2017). "Associations between time since event and posttraumatic growth among military veterans." Military Psychology. http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/mil0000170

            Despite efforts to understand the antecedents, correlates, and consequences of posttraumatic growth (PTG), the role of time since a traumatic event (time since event) vis-à-vis PTG is not well understood. Part of a larger project exploring experiences following emotionally distressing events among military veterans (N = 197) using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (Mturk), in the current study, we sought to clarify associations between the time since event and PTG. We used cluster-analytic techniques and analyses of variance to (a) determine the number of clusters, and (b) assess differences in core constructs of PTG and participant characteristics across clusters. Results revealed 4 significantly different groups (i.e., clusters) characterized by differential associations between PTG and time since event. These groups also differed significantly in challenge to core beliefs, level of PTSD symptoms, intrusive and deliberate rumination, and age. The immediate moderate-growth group (Cluster 1) experienced moderate levels of PTG over shorter periods of time, severe PTSD symptoms, and was significantly younger. The low-growth group (Cluster 2) was characterized by minimal PTG, regardless of time, the least challenge to core beliefs, and low amounts of intrusive and deliberate rumination. The long-term small-growth group (Cluster 3) was primarily characterized by small amounts of PTG over longer periods of time. The high-growth group (Cluster 4) was characterized by high PTG, regardless of time, greater challenge to core beliefs, the highest amount of deliberate rumination, and the highest number of PTSD symptoms. Findings underscore heterogeneity within military veterans’ experiences of PTG over time.


Nezlek, J. B., D. B. Newman, et al. (2017). "A daily diary study of relationships between feelings of gratitude and well-being." The Journal of Positive Psychology 12(4): 323-332. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2016.1198923

            Much of the research on relationships between gratitude and well-being has concerned between-person level relationships, and this research suggests that increasing people?s feelings of gratitude can increase their well-being. To complement this research, we examined such relationships at the within-person level. Participants (N = 130) in the present study described their well-being and how grateful they felt each day for two weeks. MLM analyses found that at the within-person level, daily feelings of gratitude and hedonic and eudaimonic well-being were positively related. Lagged analyses found that feelings of gratitude on one day were positively related to hedonic (but not eudaimonic) well-being on the next day, and well-being on one day was not related to gratitude on the next day. These results complement existing research and suggest that causal relationships between gratitude and well-being may vary as a function of whether gratitude is measured in more affective or cognitive terms.


Schneider, M. and F. Preckel (2017). "Variables associated with achievement in higher education: A systematic review of meta-analyses." Psychol Bull 143(6): 565-600. http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/bul/143/6/565/

            The last 2 decades witnessed a surge in empirical studies on the variables associated with achievement in higher education. A number of meta-analyses synthesized these findings. In our systematic literature review, we included 38 meta-analyses investigating 105 correlates of achievement, based on 3,330 effect sizes from almost 2 million students. We provide a list of the 105 variables, ordered by the effect size, and summary statistics for central research topics. The results highlight the close relation between social interaction in courses and achievement. Achievement is also strongly associated with the stimulation of meaningful learning by presenting information in a clear way, relating it to the students, and using conceptually demanding learning tasks. Instruction and communication technology has comparably weak effect sizes, which did not increase over time. Strong moderator effects are found for almost all instructional methods, indicating that how a method is implemented in detail strongly affects achievement. Teachers with high-achieving students invest time and effort in designing the microstructure of their courses, establish clear learning goals, and employ feedback practices. This emphasizes the importance of teacher training in higher education. Students with high achievement are characterized by high self-efficacy, high prior achievement and intelligence, conscientiousness, and the goal-directed use of learning strategies. Barring the paucity of controlled experiments and the lack of meta-analyses on recent educational innovations, the variables associated with achievement in higher education are generally well investigated and well understood. By using these findings, teachers, university administrators, and policymakers can increase the effectivity of higher education.


Smith, J. L. and A. A. Hanni (2017). "Effects of a savoring intervention on resilience and well-being of older adults." Journal of Applied Gerontology 0(0): 0733464817693375. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0733464817693375

            Savoring is the ability to be mindful of positive experiences and to be aware of and regulate positive feelings about these experiences. Previous research has found that savoring interventions can be effective at improving well-being of younger adults, but findings have not been extended to older populations. This pilot study examined the effects of a 1-week savoring intervention on older adults’ psychological resilience and well-being (i.e., depressive symptoms and happiness). Participants, 111 adults ages 60 or over, completed measures of resilience, depressive symptoms, and happiness pre- and postintervention as well as 1 month and 3 months after the intervention. Analyses revealed that participants who completed the savoring intervention with high fidelity also reported improvements in resilience, depressive symptoms, and happiness over time. These findings suggest that the savoring intervention has the potential to enhance older adults’ resilience and psychological well-being.


Sønderlund, A. L., T. A. Morton, et al. (2017). "Multiple group membership and well-being: Is there always strength in numbers?" Frontiers in Psychology 8(1038). http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01038

            (Available in free full text) A growing body of research points to the value of multiple group memberships for individual well-being. However, much of this work considers group memberships very broadly and in terms of number alone. We conducted two correlational studies exploring how the relationship between multiple group membership and well-being is shaped by (a) the complexity of those groups within the overall self-concept (i.e., social identity complexity: SIC), and (b) the perceived value and visibility of individual group memberships to others (i.e., stigma). Study 1 (N = 112) found a positive relationship between multiple group membership and well-being, but only for individuals high in SIC. This effect was mediated by the perceived ease of perceived identity expression and access to social support. Study 2 (N = 104) also found that multiple group memberships indirectly contributed to well-being via perceived identity expression and social support, as well as identity compatibility and perceived social inclusion. But, in this study the relationship between multiple group memberships and well-being outcomes was moderated by the perceived value and visibility of group memberships to others. Specifically, possessing multiple, devalued and visible group memberships compromised well-being relative to multiple valued group memberships, or devalued group memberships that were invisible. Together, these studies suggest that the benefits of multiple group membership depend on factors beyond their number. Instead, the features of group memberships, individually and in combination, and the way in which these guide self-expression and social action, determine whether these are a benefit or burden for individual well-being.


Wakefield, J. R. H., F. Sani, et al. (2017). "The relationship between group identification and satisfaction with life in a cross-cultural community sample." Journal of Happiness Studies 18(3): 785-807. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9735-z

            (Available in free full text) A variety of studies have shown that group identification (a sense of belonging to one’s social group, coupled with a sense of commonality with the group’s members) is linked to high levels of satisfaction with life (SWL). The aim of the present study was to support and extend this literature by: (1) investigating the link between group identification and SWL with a large cross-cultural community sample; (2) examining whether the relationship is moderated by nationality; and (3) considering whether SWL is enhanced by possessing multiple group identifications simultaneously. Utilizing data from Wave 1 of the Health in Groups project, 3829 participants from both Scotland and Italy completed a questionnaire assessing their identification with their family, their local community, and a group of their choice, as well as their level of SWL. Higher identification with each group predicted higher SWL. Nationality was a marginal moderator of the relationship between family identification and SWL, with the relationship being stronger for Italian participants than for Scottish participants. There was also an additive effect of group identification, with a positive relationship between the number of groups with which participants identified and their SWL. These effects were obtained even after controlling for gender, age, employment status, nationality, and extent of contact with each group. The implications for healthcare professionals and their patients are discussed.


Webster, J. D., N. M. Weststrate, et al. (2017). "Wisdom and meaning in emerging adulthood." Emerging Adulthood 0(0): 2167696817707662. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2167696817707662

            Wisdom and meaning are important developments in emerging adulthood. In two studies, we investigated the relationship between wisdom and meaning using self-report measures (Study 1; N = 298) and narrative coding (Study 2; N = 271). Study 1 supported the hypothesis that the search for and presence of meaning in life were both positively correlated with wisdom. The presence of meaning partially mediated the relationship between wisdom and positive self-characteristics (i.e., optimism and self-esteem). Study 2 extended these results by coding two styles of narrative meaning-making in autobiographical memories of stressful life events. As predicted, wisdom was positively associated with exploratory processing (i.e., deriving lessons and insights) in stressful memories but uncorrelated with redemptive processing (i.e., aimed at positive emotional transformation). Results suggest a possible pathway through which wisdom and meaning influence positive self-development and the importance of styles of narrative meaning-making that differentially predict wisdom.


Wiese, C. W., L. Tay, et al. (2017). "Too much of a good thing? Exploring the inverted-u relationship between self-control and happiness." Journal of Personality: n/a-n/a. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12322

            Objective: Can having too much self-control make people unhappy? Researchers have increasingly questioned the unilateral goodness of self-control and proposed that it is beneficial only up to a certain point, after which it becomes detrimental. The little empirical research on the issue shows mixed results. Hence, we tested whether a curvilinear relationship between self-control and subjective well-being exists. Method: We used multiple metrics (questionnaires, behavioral ratings), sources (self-report, other-report), and methods (cross-sectional measurement, dayreconstruction method, experience sampling method) across six studies (Ntotal = 5,318). Results: We found that self-control positively predicted subjective well-being (cognitive and affective), but there was little evidence for an inverted U-shaped curve. The results held after statistically controlling for demographics and other psychological confounds. Conclusion: Our main finding is that self-control enhances subjective well-being with little to no apparent downside of too much self-control.


Wilkinson, R. G. and K. E. Pickett (2017). "The enemy between us: The psychological and social costs of inequality." European Journal of Social Psychology 47(1): 11-24. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2275

            (Available in free full text) There is now substantial evidence that larger income differences in a society increase the prevalence of most of the health and social problems that tend to occur more frequently lower down the social ladder. The pathways through which human beings are sensitive to inequality are however less clear. This paper outlines the explanatory theory that we think best fits the growing but incomplete body of evidence available. Inequality appears to have its most fundamental effects on the quality of social relations—with implications affecting the prevalence of a number of psychopathologies. We suggest that human beings have two contrasting evolved social strategies: one that is adaptive to living in a dominance hierarchy and the other appropriate to more egalitarian societies based on reciprocity and cooperation. Although both strategies are used in all societies, we hypothesise that the balance between them changes with the extent of material inequality.


Yam, K. C., A. C. Klotz, et al. (2017). "From good soldiers to psychologically entitled: Examining when and why citizenship behavior leads to deviance." Academy of Management Journal 60(1): 373-396. http://amj.aom.org/content/60/1/373.abstract

            Research has consistently demonstrated that organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) produce a wide array of positive outcomes for employees and organizations. Recent work, however, has suggested that employees often engage in OCBs not because they want to but because they feel they have to, and it is not clear whether OCBs performed for external motives have the same positive effects on individuals and organizational functioning as do traditional OCBs. In this article, we draw from self-determination and moral licensing theories to suggest a potential negative consequence of OCB. Specifically, we argue that when employees feel compelled to engage in OCB by external forces, they will subsequently feel psychologically entitled for having gone above and beyond the call of duty. Furthermore, these feelings of entitlement can act as moral credentials that psychologically free employees to engage in both interpersonal and organizational deviance. Data from two multisource field studies and an online experiment provide support for these hypotheses. In addition, we demonstrate that OCB-generated feelings of entitlement transcend organizational boundaries and lead to deviance outside of the organization.



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