Research Articles


What Pre-school Children Think about Happiness, Hope, Gratitude, Wisdom, Justice, and Optimism? The Positive Conceptual Thinking Development Study

Sanja Tatalović Vorkapić, Ana Babić Šikić

Journal of Positive School Psychology , Vol. 3 No. 1 (2019), 10 April 2019, Page 1-25

The purpose of this research was to explore how pre-school children define and understand positive psychology concepts such as happiness, wisdom, hope, justice, gratitude, and optimism. The research included 100 children (4-7 years old) in Croatia. After receiving consent from parents, an individual structured interview with children was applied. Qualitative and quantitative methodology was used in data processing. It was found that children had the most comprehensive definitions of happiness, but defined the concept of justice the least. Furthermore, although the concept of gratitude recorded the highest answer frequency, the concept of happiness in relation to gratitude was accurately defined. Gratitude was followed by hope, justice, wisdom, and optimism. Boys gave significantly more answers considering happiness, wisdom, justice, and optimism, while older children offered significantly more answers considering the concept of happiness.

Preliminary Experimental Evaluation of a Behavioral-Cognitive Method of Increasing Life Excitement

Allison Poole, John Malouff

Journal of Positive School Psychology , Vol. 3 No. 1 (2019), 10 April 2019, Page 26-44

This randomized controlled trial with 113 adults evaluated the effects of a behavioral-cognitive method developed to increase life excitement. The intervention included encouraging participants to (1) do something new, (2) go somewhere new, (3) act spontaneously, (4) take on a new challenge, (5) learn something new, (6) interact with exciting individuals, (7) engage in romantically or sexually exciting behaviors, (8) read, watch, or listen to something suspenseful or stimulating, (9) take a (reasonable) risk, (10) engage in stimulating exercise or sport, (11) accomplish something new, (12) pursue their own interests, (13) talk with others about exciting experiences, (14) think about past exciting activities, or (15) plan future exciting activities.  Participants reported level of excitement-aimed behavior, positive affect, and life satisfaction at pre-intervention and post-intervention. Experimental-group members also reported their outcome levels three months after the end of the intervention. At pre-intervention, excitement-aimed behavior was significantly associated with positive affect and life satisfaction. The intervention had significant between-groups effects on excitement-aimed behavior and positive affect. The experimental group maintained significant pre-post improvements on these variables through a three-month follow-up. The results provide initial support for a new method of increasing positive affect.

Differences in Character Strengths Levels and Associations with Positive Outcomes Across Contexts

Cheryl P. Stuntz

Journal of Positive School Psychology , Vol. 3 No. 1 (2019), 10 April 2019, Page 45-61

Using character strengths is associated with optimal functioning, psychological fulfilment, and wellbeing in general. While Peterson and Seligman (2004) assumed that character strength use may vary across specific contexts and situations, little research has examined whether these assumptions are true. The current study (a) examined whether level of character strengths differs across general as well as specific eating, exercising, and work contexts, (b) determined how contextualized strengths are, and (c) assessed if the relationships between strengths and positive outcomes in eating, exercise, and work contexts were similar. Participants (N = 270) recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk completed questionnaires assessing character strengths in various contexts as well as psychological need satisfaction, job satisfaction, and eating and exercise behaviors. Results showed that strengths did vary by context, with participants commonly using strengths in general (no context suggested) and at work more than while exercising and while eating. Most strengths demonstrated moderate levels of contextualization by domain, with about half of the variance due to between-person and about half due to within-person variability, except for the less-contextualized strength of religiousness. Finally, across eating, exercising, and work contexts, a set of all (or almost all) strengths related to satisfaction of self-determination theory’s psychological needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Although there are differences in how applicable strengths are across specific contexts, using character strengths appears advantageous in each of these contexts.

The present study investigated the role of resilience in the relationships between the externality of happiness and subjective well-being and flourishing. A sample of 243 healthy Turkish adults (164 males and 79 females) with a mean age of 37.1 (SD = 9) completed measures of externality of happiness, positive and negative affect, satisfaction with life, flourishing, and resilience. Correlation analyses showed that externality of happiness was negatively correlated with positive affect, satisfaction with life, flourishing, and resilience, whilst being positively correlated with negative affect. Structural equation modeling was used to carry out a mediation analysis. The results indicated that resilience mediated the relationships between the externality of happiness and subjective well-being and flourishing. These findings will facilitate an understanding of the factors associated with subjective well-being and flourishing, and were discussed in the light of the relevant literature. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings were provided.

The Reliability and Validity of the Japanese Version of the Ways of Savoring Checklist (WOSC-J)

Erika Miyakawa, Paul E. Jose, Fred B. Bryant, Atsushi Kawakubo, Takashi Oguchi

Journal of Positive School Psychology , Vol. 3 No. 1 (2019), 10 April 2019, Page 77-98

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the reliability and validity of the Japanese version of the Ways of Savoring Checklist (WOSC-J), adapted from the original English version of the Ways of Savoring Checklist (Bryant & Veroff, 2007). We translated and back-translated the WOSC-J, and administered it to 520 Japanese adults using an online survey. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to examine the factor structure of the measure. Confirming our hypothesis, a two-factor model (amplifying and dampening) yielded the best goodness-of-fit to the data. Each of the two factors had adequate internal consistency reliability. To assess the criterion validity of the new instrument, this study also examined associations between the two WOSC-J subscales and measures of emotional experience, self-esteem, and optimism. Consistent with Western data, the amplifying subscale tended to show a stronger positive relationship with positive mood states than did the dampening subscale. Overall, the present findings indicate that the WOSC-J is an acceptable tool for measuring savoring among Japanese adults.