Positive Psychology Programs for Youth in Diverse Communities

  • Jane GillhamEmail author
  • Katherine Sachs Leventhal
  • Tayyab Rashid
  • Afroze Anjum
  • Steve Leventhal


Positive psychology interventions have shown great promise in promoting well-being. However, existing programs for both adults and youth have typically targeted predominantly affluent populations in high income communities and countries. Less is known about the relevance and benefits of positive psychology approaches with other populations. This chapter describes our team’s collective experience developing, implementing, and evaluating school-based positive psychology programs for youth (children and adolescents) in a variety of communities around the world, including communities in India, Kenya, and Canada. We discuss the relevance of positive psychology concepts, especially character strengths and resilience, and intervention approaches. We share lessons learned and recommendations for future work that can help to ensure positive psychology programs are cross-culturally relevant and responsive. Key among these are: (1) the importance of including local community members in each phase of program development, implementation, and evaluation, and (2) the necessity of flexibility when scaling programs to reach large populations.


Positive psychology interventions Character strengths School-based interventions Children Adolescents Culture 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane Gillham
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katherine Sachs Leventhal
    • 2
  • Tayyab Rashid
    • 3
  • Afroze Anjum
    • 4
  • Steve Leventhal
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentSwarthmore CollegeSwarthmoreUSA
  2. 2.CorStoneBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC)ScarboroughCanada
  4. 4.Toronto District School Board (TDSB)TorontoCanada

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