Review Articles


Under the umbrella term "positive computing" concepts of positive psychology are transferred to the domain of human-computer interaction (HCI). In an interdisciplinary community psychologist, computer scientists, designers and others are exploring promising ways how to utilize interactive technology to support wellbeing and human flourishing. Along with this, the recent popularity of smartphone apps aiming at the improvement of health behavior, mindfulness and positive routines, suggests the general acceptance of technology as a facilitator of personal development. Given this, there generally seems a high potential for a technology mediated trigger of positive behavior change, especially in context of positive psychology and resource oriented approaches such as solution-focused coaching. At the same time, there is still a lack of well-founded approaches to design such technology which consider its responsible role as an "interactive coach" and systematically integrate the needed expertise of different disciplines. The present article discusses the general potential and particular challenges to support the goals of positive psychology and human desire for self-improvement through interactive technology and highlights critical steps for a successful partnership between both.

Research Articles


Time perspective and psychological well-being in younger and older adults

Olivia Lee Pethtel, Marnie Moist, Stephen Baker

Journal of Positive School Psychology , Vol. 2 No. 1 (2018), 11 April 2018, Page 45-63

The purpose of the present study was to examine the present fatalistic time perspective as a mechanism that may partially account for age differences in purpose in life and personal growth. An additional purpose of this study was to explore the relations among age, time perspective, and psychological well-being. Seventy-five older adults (M=73.43, SD=7.91) and 77 younger adults (M=19.58, SD=1.19) completed surveys measuring time perspective (past positive, past negative, present fatalistic, present hedonistic, future) and psychological well-being (autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, and self-acceptance). Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that the present fatalistic time perspective predicted purpose in life and personal growth above and beyond age and income. Several significant correlations were found among the time perspective and psychological well-being variables. Results showed that age was positively correlated with the past negative and present fatalistic time perspectives, but negatively correlated with the future time perspective. Results showed that age negatively correlated with purpose in life and personal growth, but positively correlated with autonomy. Results are discussed in light of socioemotional selectivity theory, theory of time perspective, and implications for incorporating time perspective into mental health counseling.

An investigation into the multifaceted relationship between gratitude, empathy, and compassion

Grace Y. Kim, David Wang, Peter Hill

Journal of Positive School Psychology , Vol. 2 No. 1 (2018), 11 April 2018, Page 23-44

The virtues of gratitude, empathy, and compassion are associated with various psychological and relational benefits. Past research suggests that gratitude and empathy are correlated and that compassion is in fact derived from empathy. However, limited research exists concerning the direct relationship between gratitude and compassionate love (i.e., a more enduring form of compassion). This study examined the relationship between the two constructs, with empathy as a potential mediator in this relationship. Two hundred undergraduate students from a religiously affiliated university were recruited and completed an online, multi-section questionnaire that includes measures of gratitude, empathy, and compassionate love. Statistical analyses revealed a significant partial mediation effect, with gratitude being both directly and indirectly (via empathy) associated with compassionate love. In other words, higher levels of gratitude produced greater compassionate love through increased feelings of empathy. Further analyses indicated that among the three types of empathy explored (cognitive empathy, emotional contagion, and emotional disconnection), cognitive empathy best mediated the relationship between gratitude and compassionate love. These findings have important implications in both a clinical and research context, including the utilization of gratitude and empathy interventions to increase protection against clinician burnout and improve client health and well-being. Future research is warranted in further exploring the relationship among these variables utilizing more objective forms of measurement.

The Spotlight activity: Development and feasibility test of a naturalistic attention-redirection well-being intervention

Lilian Shin, Peter Ruberton, Sonja Lyubomirsky

Journal of Positive School Psychology , Vol. 2 No. 1 (2018), 11 April 2018, Page 64-91

Positive activities, such as savoring, gratitude, and optimism, have been shown to boost positive emotions and reduce negative emotions. We argue that a shared mechanism driving their well-being benefits is the redirection of attention. In this feasibility study, we develop and pilot-test this mechanism with a novel positive activity intervention, the “spotlight activity,” that taught participants how to become mindful of where their attention was and to redirect it as needed. Individuals (initial N = 108) were randomly assigned to a 5-week spotlight activity intervention or to a waitlist control group and were assessed on measures of psychological well-being, need satisfaction, and hassles and uplifts. Preliminary results showed that, at post-test, the spotlight group reported significantly higher life satisfaction, meaning in life, and general weekly affect, as well as significantly lower negative affect and hassle intensity. The study provided initial evidence for the feasibility of a novel attention-redirection intervention and its potential to increase psychological well-being.

Fear of happiness is an important psychological construct and has a significant effect on life outcomes such as well-being. This study sought to examine whether fear of happiness could explain variance in subjective well-being and psychological well-being domains after controlling for Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) and Behavioral Activation System (BAS) Model of Personality. A total of 243 participants (189 males and 54 females) completed Fear of Happiness Scale, Positive-Negative Affect Schedule, Psychological Well-being Scales and BIS/BAS personality scales. In terms of correlational analyses, fear of happiness revealed significant negative correlations with positive affect, all domains of psychological well-being except purpose in life (autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations with others, and self-acceptance) and BAS fun seeking dimension while a significant positive correlation was found with negative affect. With regard to hierarchical multiple regression analyses, fear of happiness accounted for a unique variance in both affective aspects of subjective well-being, namely positive and negative affect and three aspects of psychological well-being (autonomy, positive relations and self-acceptance) after controlling for BIS/BAS personality model. These results suggested that fear of happiness is uniquely useful to both subjective and psychological well-being beyond the effect of the aspects of BIS/BAS personality.