Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Positive Psychology

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_612


Positive psychology, the scientific study of positive phenomena from the neurobiology of positive emotions to application in the clinic and in everyday life, encompasses multiple efforts to understand and promote well-being and health (Aspinwall & Staudinger, 2003; Aspinwall & Tedeschi, 2010; Lopez & Snyder, 2009; Ryff & Singer, 1998; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Key elements include (a) the identification of human strengths (qualities and processes that allow people to navigate adversity, pursue their goals, and make the most of life) and (b) empirical research directed toward understanding the diverse conditions that create and sustain such strengths. These processes have been investigated in a wide variety of domains, including education, social development, close relationships, aging, work, and health.


Core Concerns of Positive Psychology and Health

Positive psychology is an active and growing field, with thousands of published articles in the last...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Aspinwall, L. G., & Staudinger, U. M. (Eds.). (2003). A psychology of human strengths: Fundamental questions and future directions for a positive psychology. Washington, DC: APA Books.Google Scholar
  2. Aspinwall, L. G., & Tedeschi, R. G. (2010). The value of positive psychology for health psychology: Progress and pitfalls in examining the relation of positive phenomena to health. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 39, 4–15.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Becker, D., & Marecek, J. (2008). Dreaming the American dream: Individualism and positive psychology. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2, 1767–1780.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bonanno, G. A. (2004). Loss, trauma, and human resilience: Have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events? American Psychologist, 59, 20–28.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Diener, E., & Chan, M. Y. (2011). Happy people live longer: Subjective well-being contributes to health and longevity. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-being, 3(1), 1–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Folkman, S. (Ed.). (2011). The Oxford handbook of stress, health, and coping. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Howell, R. T., Kern, M. L., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2007). Health benefits: Meta-analytically determining the impact of well-being on objective health outcomes. Health Psychology Review, 1, 1–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lazarus, R. S. (2003). Does the positive psychology movement have legs? Psychological Inquiry, 14, 93–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lopez, S. J., & Snyder, C. R. (Eds.). (2009). Oxford handbook of positive psychology (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803–855.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Park, C. L., Lechner, S. C., Antoni, M. H., & Stanton, A. L. (Eds.). (2009). Medical illness and positive life change. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  12. Pressman, S. D., & Cohen, S. (2005). Does positive affect influence health? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 925–971.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Rasmussen, H. N., Scheier, M. F., & Greenhouse, J. B. (2009). Optimism and physical health: A meta-analytic review. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 37, 239–256.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. (1998). The contours of positive human health. Psychological Inquiry, 9, 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55, 1–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Taylor, S. E. (1983). Adjustment to threatening events: A theory of cognitive adaptation. American Psychologist, 38, 1161–1173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Taylor, S. E., Kemeny, M. E., Reed, G. M., Bower, J. E., & Gruenewald, T. L. (2000). Psychological resources, positive illusions, and health. American Psychologist, 55, 99–109.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Tindle, H. A., Chang, Y.-F., Kuller, L. H., Manson, J. E., Robinson, J. G., et al. (2009). Optimism, cynical hostility, and incident coronary heart disease and mortality in the women’s health initiative. Circulation, 120, 656–662.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of PsychologyChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand