Positive Psychology Articles Page 2

Danner Et Al (2001): Positive emotions in early life and longevity: Findings from the nun study

  • Authors looked at autobiographies of 180 nuns (75-102 years old) written more than 50 years prior. Consistent with other emotion/health studies, this study found a significant relationship between emotional content in autobiographies written in early adulthood and longevity 60 years later.

Taylor (2011): How psychosocial resources enhance health and well-being

  • Psychosocial resources are the skills, beliefs, talents, and individual personality factors that influence how people manage stressful events, including self-esteem, optimism, a sense of mastery, active coping skills, and social support. Can have genetic and/or environmental causes and are critical for regulating responses to threat.
  • Those who grew up in adverse environments showed less neural activity (higher avoidance) when viewing emotional pictures and a higher response when avoidance was impossible.
  • Social support positively influences neurological responses to threatening tasks. Friends are good.

Snyder & Lopez (2007): Attachment, love, and flourishing relationships

  • Attachment begins early in life and marks future interactions.
  • Maladaptive parental behaviors: chaotic attempts to meet a child’s needs; Adaptive parental behaviors: responsiveness to child’s cues, associated with functional behavior and emotional experiences of children; Attachment system: “regulates the proximity-seeking behaviors connecting infants and caregivers in physical and emotional space” The quality of this basic attachment system can affect the child’s relationships with others.
  • Mary Ainsworth’s (1979) Strange Situation Assessment: child’s caregiver removed and reintroduced twice. Child’s reactions are coded and the quality of the child-caregiver attachment is assessed as “secure,” “insecure-avoidant,” or “insecure-resistant/ ambivalent.” These patterns can predict aspects of a child’s behavior throughout life.
  • Brennan et al. (1998): attachment -related avoidance and anxiety: secure (low on both attachment-related avoidance and anxiety), dismissing (high on avoidance and low on anxiety), preoccupied (low on avoidance and high on anxiety), fearful (high on both avoidance and anxiety). Our attachment system dictates how we form new relationships.
  • Conceptualizations for love (1) Romantic: passionate (intense arousal, absorption) and compassionate (soothing and steady) or both; (2) Triangular: passion, intimacy, commitment; (3) Self-Expansion Theory of Romantic Love
  • Harvey et al.’s (1997, 2001) Five-Component Model of Minding Relationships: (1) Knowing and being known; (2) Making relationship-enhancing attributions for behavior; (3) Accepting and respecting; (4) Maintaining reciprocity in minding; (5) Maintaining continuity in minding

Harvey & Omarzu (1997): Minding the close relationship

Minding = never-ending reciprocal knowing process involving a complex package of interrelated thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. “Mind” is used to stress the centrality of the mind in the process.

5 components of minding:

  1. Behaviors aimed at knowing the other (self-disclosure listening, observing, and questioning)
  2. Attributions and perceptions of a partner’s qualities and behavior (caring foundation)
  3. Accepting what is found via knowing and self-disclosing
  4. Reciprocity in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  5. The process takes time and it never ends

Reis & Gable (2003): Toward a positive psychology of relationships

  • Positive and negative processes are independent: appetite (rewarding) and aversion (punishing). Relating well is not the same as not relating badly.
  • Negativity bias: a tendency to rely on negative cues rather than positive cues, as negative info tends to be more extreme from neutral than positive info
  • Expectancy violation: one zinger will erase 20 acts of kindness. We expect people to be kind and a violation of our expectancy leaves us feeling as if the reaction is extreme.
  • Strong negatives are more potent than mild positives. Accumulation bias: positive events more common than negative, so viewing a single event may underestimate importance of positive events.
  • Society tend to dwell on the negative (If it bleeds, it leads), but most interactions are at least mildly enjoyable and pleasant. Most people are fairly satisfied with friendships, marriages, and family life.

Larson (2000): Toward a Psychology of Positive Youth Development

  • To develop initiative, an individual needs to experience: (1) Intrinsic motivation; (2) Concerted engagement in the environment; (3) A temporal arc of effort directed toward a goal (may incl. setbacks, re-evaluations, and strategy adjustment)
  • ESM study found youth spend most of their time in school, yet it doesn’t foster initiative taking. There are low levels of intrinsic motivation and high rates of boredom. Youth spend the rest of their time in leisure but they don’t use concentration or challenge. The exception being structured voluntary activities.
  • Key is in doing more structured voluntary activities (i.e. clubs, hobbies): motivation, attention, social benefits, build character, health

Masten & Reed (2002): Resilience in development

  • Resilience is the ability to bounce back from and show positive development in the face of adversity. Research has found that children who exhibit resilience generally have better early interactions with their environments. The findings support attachment theory and Erikson’s stage of development.

Sheldon, K. M., & Kasser, T. (2001): Getting older, getting better

  • Researchers measured goals and accomplishments via self-reports of these goals and of well-being. Yes, people are happier as they age.
  • Chronological age is associated with measures of maturity and self-determination. It was negatively associated with identity strivings. Surprisingly, it was not negatively associated with intimacy strivings, meaning interpersonal closeness is a lifelong need.
  • Results indicated that older people know what values are most important and pursue objectives with a more mature sense of purpose than younger people. In contrast, younger people were more likely to strive out of a sense of guilt and were more likely to pursue superficial values (money, popularity).

Valliant,G. (2004): Positive aging

  • Mission of positive aging: add more life to years, not just more years to life.
  • Valliant compared the “Happy-Well” with the “Sad-Sick” and “Prematurely Dead”
  • Dimensions of health: absence of objective physical disability at the close of the study; physical health at end of the study; length of un-disabled life; mental health; social supports; life satisfaction
  • Variables that did NOT predict positive aging: Ancestral longevity; Cholesterol; Parental social class; Warm childhood environment; Stable childhood temperament; Stress.
  • Variables that DID predict positive aging: Not being a smoker, or stopping smoking young; Adaptive coping style (mature defenses); Absence of alcohol abuse; Healthy weight; Stable Marriage; Exercise; Years of education

Donaldson & Ko (2011): Applied Positive Organizational Psychology

  • Positive organizational behavior (POB)is the study of positively-oriented strengths that can be measured, developed, and effectively managed for improvement in today’s workplace (individual traits and behaviors: bottom up approach)
  • Positive organizational scholarship (POS) is concerned with “the study of especially positive outcomes, processes, and attributes of organizations and their members (macro level: top down approach)
  • This article defines key concepts of POP and list empirical findings of increased worker and organization well-being: Strengths, Coaching, Positive Leadership, Positive Organizational Development and Change, Organizational Virtuousness, Flow at work, and PSY Cap.

Bernstein (2003): Positive organizational scholarship

  • A decade old, brief interview with three people leading the charge for Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS). The interviewer has three main questions: (1) What makes POS so compelling to organizational researchers and to practitioners? (2) Why is this a movement both execs and scholars are so energized by? (3) What accounts for the deep caring people express?

Luthans & Youssef (2007): Emerging positive organizational behavior

  • Avoid focusing solely on the positive or the negative. Fields of positive traits: The Big Five, core self-evaluations, and positive psychological traits.
  • Traits are stable and long-lasting while states are more malleable and changeable, and lie along a continuum. POB focus on state-like psychological capacities.
  • PsyCap’s components are: self-efficacy, hope, optimism, and resiliency. It is a multidimensional, latent core construct that boasts high external validity despite being a fairly new concept.
  • Note on POS: a collection of people with positive traits do not necessarily make a positive organization.
  • Article concludes with a discussion of positive deviance, organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), and courageous principled action, and suggestions for future research.

Nafstad, Carlquist, Aasen, & Blakar (2006): Assumptions in psychology and ideological shifts in society

  • PP needs to include tools for understanding how societal and cultural components affect individuals and institutions. Authors discuss three: ideology, the current global ideology (i.e., American-style market society), and the ideological shift from welfare state to free market society.