Froman, L. (2010). Positive psychology in the workplace [Special issue]. , (2), 59–69. doi:10.1007/s10804–009–9080–0. An economy in a downward spiral, rising unemployment, anxieties about future job loss, lack of access to affordable health care, a crisis in the financial industry, and declining consumer confidence are among some of the challenges creating significant stress in the lives of workers and their families. What impact are these stressors having on the day–to–day lives of people in the workplace? What role do concepts of positive psychology have in helping people to not only cope more effectively, but open their hearts and minds to move forward with newfound confidence, resilience, determination, hope, and vision for a better future? How can workers and their organizations create a more positive and proactive workplace that bridges economic and human goals? The purpose of this article is to examine these questions through an integrative analysis of conceptual and empirical approaches to positive organizational behavior and outcomes. Theory and research covering such areas as self–determining behavior patterns, emotional intelligence, psychologic capital, innovation, and workplace change are described, analyzed, and applied to individuals, groups, and the overall organizational system. These themes come together through the concept of a virtuous organization. These organizations have cultures infused with a strong ethical–moral foundation and leaders who bring out the best of their employees. Organizations of virtue strive to do well by doing good and strive to do good by doing well. These organizations succeed by having multiple bottom lines, not just economic ones. As such, they bridge the goals of economic development with human development.
Fredrickson, B. L. (2004). The broaden–and–build theory of positive emotions. , (1449), 1367–78. doi:10.1098/rstb.2004.1512. The broaden–and–build theory describes the form and function of a subset of positive emotions, including joy, interest, contentment and love. A key proposition is that these positive emotions broaden an individual's momentary thought–action repertoire: joy sparks the urge to play, interest sparks the urge to explore, contentment sparks the urge to savour and integrate, and love sparks a recurring cycle of each of these urges within safe, close relationships. The broadened mindsets arising from these positive emotions are contrasted to the narrowed mindsets sparked by many negative emotions (i.e. specific action tendencies, such as attack or flee). A second key proposition concerns the consequences of these broadened mindsets: by broadening an individual's momentary thought–action repertoire––whether through play, exploration or similar activities––positive emotions promote discovery of novel and creative actions, ideas and social bonds, which in turn build that individual's personal resources; ranging from physical and intellectual resources, to social and psychological resources. Importantly, these resources function as reserves that can be drawn on later to improve the odds of successful coping and survival. This chapter reviews the latest empirical evidence supporting the broaden–and–build theory and draws out implications the theory holds for optimizing health and well–being.
Day, J. M. (2009). Religion, spirituality, and positive psychology in adulthood: A developmental view [Special issue]. , (4), 215–229. doi:10.1007/s10804–009–9086–7. For decades, psychologists have been interested in the question whether, and how, religious and spiritual behavior, in terms of beliefs, attitudes, practices, and belonging, could be scientifically studied and assessed in terms of their relative good, or ill, for human well–being. This article considers contributions of religious commitment and spiritual practice to well–being and cognitive–developmental theoretical models and related bodies of empirical and clinical research regarding religious and spiritual development across the life cycle, with particular attention to questions related to positive adult development.
Dahlsgaard, K., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2005). Shared virtue: The convergence of valued human strengths across culture and history. , (3), 203–213. doi:10.1037/1089–26184.108.40.206. Positive psychology needs an agreed–upon way of classifying positive traits as a backbone for research, diagnosis, and intervention. As a 1st step toward classification, the authors examined philosophical and religious traditions in China (Confucianism and Taoism), South Asia (Buddhism and Hinduism), and the West (Athenian philosophy, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) for the answers each provided to questions of moral behavior and the good life. The authors found that 6 core virtues recurred in these writings: courage, justice, humanity, temperance, wisdom, and transcendence. This convergence suggests a nonarbitrary foundation for the classification of human strengths and virtues.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1999). If we are so rich, why arenʼt we happy? , (10), 821–827. doi:10.1037//0003–066X.54.10.821. Ever since systematic thought has been recorded, the question of what makes men and women happy has been of central concern. Answers to this question have ranged from the materialist extreme of searching for happiness in external conditions to the spiritual extreme claiming that happiness is the result of a mental attitude. Psychologists have recently rediscovered this topic. Research supports both the materialist and the mentalist positions, although the latter produces the stronger findings. The article focuses in particular on one dimension of happiness: the flow experience, or the state of total involvement in an activity that requires complete concentration.
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1987). The support of autonomy and the control of behavior. , (6), 1024–37. doi:10.1037/0022–35220.127.116.114 In this article we suggest that events and contexts relevant to the initiation and regulation of intentional behavior can function either to support autonomy (i.e., to promote choice) or to control behavior (i.e., to pressure one toward specific outcomes). Research herein reviewed indicates that this distinction is relevant to specific external events and to general interpersonal contexts as well as to specific internal events and to general personality orientations. That is, the distinction is relevant whether one's analysis focuses on social psychological variables or on personality variables. The research review details those contextual and person factors that tend to promote autonomy and those that tend to control. Furthermore, it shows that autonomy support has generally been associated with more intrinsic motivation, greater interest, less pressure and tension, more creativity, more cognitive flexibility, better conceptual learning, a more positive emotional tone, higher self–esteem, more trust, greater persistence of behavior change, and better physical and psychological health than has control. Also, these results have converged across different assessment procedures, different research methods, and different subject populations. On the basis of these results, we present an organismic perspective in which we argue that the regulation of intentional behavior varies along a continuum from autonomous (i.e., self–determined) to controlled. The relation of this organismic perspective to historical developments in empirical psychology is discussed, with a particular emphasis on its implications for the study of social psychology and personality.
Catania, A. C. (2001). Positive psychology and positive reinforcement. , (1), 86–87. doi:10.1037/0003–066X.56.1.86. Comments on M. E. P. Seligman and M. Csikszentmihalyi's (see record 2000–13324–001) introduction to the special issue on positive psychology (American Psychologist, 2000[Jan], Vol 55). The commenting author suggests that to achieve a major scientific shift to positive psychology (which could complement the dominant disease–oriented focus in mental health), psychologists should reconcile and merge the two foci; this could be best done by gradually infusing positive psychology into current models of psychopathology and treatment. To ease the integration and transition from a psychopathology–focused to a strength–focused approach in therapeutic psychology, programmatic research might be necessary; three possible areas of attention are discussed.
Bonanno, G., Galea, S., Bucciarelli, A., & Vlahov, D. (2007). What predicts psychological resilience after disaster? The role of demographics, resources, and life stress. , (5), 671–82. doi:10.1037/0022–006X.75.5.671. A growing body of evidence suggests that most adults exposed to potentially traumatic events are resilient. However, research on the factors that may promote or deter adult resilience has been limited. This study examined patterns of association between resilience and various sociocontextual factors. The authors used data from a random–digit–dial phone survey (N = 2,752) conducted in the New York, NY City area after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack. Resilience was defined as having 1 or 0 posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and as being associated with low levels of depression and substance use. Multivariate analyses indicated that the prevalence of resilience was uniquely predicted by participant gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, level of trauma exposure, income change, social support, frequency of chronic disease, and recent and past life stressors. Implications for future research and intervention are discussed. [Study of predictors of resilience using multivariate analyses and population–based data set.]
Diener, E. (2000). Subjective well–being: The science of happiness and a proposal for a national index [Special issue]. , (1), 34–43. doi:10.1037//0003–066X.55.1.34. One area of positive psychology analyzes subjective well–being (SWB), people's cognitive and affective evaluations of their lives. Progress has been made in understanding the components of SWB, the importance of adaptation and goals to feelings of well–being, the temperament underpinnings of SWB, and the cultural influences on well–being. Representative selection of respondents, naturalistic experience sampling measures, and other methodological refinements are now used to study SWB and could be used to produce national indicators of happiness.
Bohart, A. C., & Greening, T. (2001). Humanistic psychology and positive psychology. , (1), 81–82. doi:10.1037/0003–066X.56.1.81. Comments on M. E. P. Seligman and M. Csikszentmihalyi's (see record 2000–13324–001) introduction to the special issue on positive psychology (American Psychologist, 2000[Jan], Vol 55). The commenting authors wish that Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi had done a more scholarly job of investigating humanistic psychology.
Baumeister, R. F. (1987). How the self became a problem: A psychological review of historical research. , (1), 163-176. doi:10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.168 In this article, historical evidence pertaining to selfhood is reviewed. A scheme of stages is delineated, according to which the modern self and its uncertainties have evolved. The historical data are then reviewed in connection with the following four major problems regarding the self: knowing and conceptualizing the self; defining or creating the self; understanding one's potential and fulfilling it; and relating the single self to society.