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Studying Happiness: Well-Being Interventions And Individual Differences. Annabel Naftali Dianne Vella-Brodrick School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine, Monash University. Background - SWB. Subjective well-being Positive affect (PA) Negative affect (NA)

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Studying Happiness: Well-Being Interventions And Individual Differences


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studying happiness well being interventions and individual differences

Studying Happiness: Well-Being Interventions And Individual Differences

Annabel Naftali

Dianne Vella-Brodrick

School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine, Monash University

background swb
Background - SWB

Subjective well-being

  • Positive affect (PA)
  • Negative affect (NA)
  • Satisfaction with life (SWL)

The benefits of being happy

  • Health – physical and psychological
  • Success – social, work, education
  • Broaden-and-Build Theory of PA (Fredrickson)
is it possible to change swb
IS IT POSSIBLE TO CHANGE SWB?

Hedonic adaptation

(Set-point theory, dynamic equilibrium)

– Sustained change is unlikely

Model of longitudinal well-being (Chronic Happiness)

(Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005)

    • 50% hereditary. Personality is the strongest predictor
    • 10% circumstances
    • 40% - intentional activity
  • What people choose to do, to think and to aspire for in daily life
  • Flexible, changeable, can be manipulated to affect SWB
interventions counting blessings
Interventions:Counting Blessings

‘‘Counting blessings’’ means that you make an effort to think about the many things in your life, both large and small, that you have to be grateful about. These might include particular supportive relationships, sacrifices or contributions that others have made for you, facts about your life such as your advantages and opportunities, or even gratitude for life itself, and the world that we live in. In all of these cases you are identifying previously unappreciated aspects of your life, for which you can be thankful.

Why is gratitude a good thing?

  • Focus on positive rather than negative emotions – past, present, future
  • Linked to other positive conditions like optimism and self-esteem
  • Increases engagement with the present, which is linked to SWB
interventions best possible self
Interventions:Best Possible Self

“Best Possible Self” means that you imagine yourself in the future, after everything has gone as well as it possibly could. You have worked hard and succeeded at accomplishing all of your life goals. Think of this as the realization of your life dreams, and of your own best potentials. In all of these cases you are identifying the best possible way that things might turn out in your life, in order to help guide your decisions now.

Why is it good to write about life goals?

- Triggers healthy self regulation processes – increases awareness into emotional reactions, values, and priorities

-Insightful thinking is linked to positive outcomes

- Visualizing goals promotes progress towards the goals

- Both goal striving and goal progress are important for well-being

placebo life details
Placebo:Life Details

“Life details’’ means that you take notice of the ordinary details of your life that you wouldn’t typically think about. These might include particular classes or meetings you attend, typical interactions with acquaintances, typical thoughts that you have during the day, or your typical schedule as you move through the day. In all of these cases, you may be helped to better identify problem areas in your life, and to take action to change them.

slide7

Do all people benefit from all interventions the same way

What determines the effectiveness of those techniques?

character strengths
Character Strengths

Classification system of humans’ strengths

Values In Action (VIA)

(Peterson & Seligman, 2004)

24 Character Strengths and Virtues

    • Acting upon strengths is fulfilling and satisfying
    • Finding new ways to express strengths enhances positive affect and reduced negative symptoms.
  • Some strengths were found to be most strongly associated with satisfaction with life:
    • Gratitude
    • Love
    • Hope
    • Zest
    • Curiosity
slide9
Aim

Investigate the effect of counting blessings (CB) and best-possible self (BPS) on SWB

Explore the involvement of gratitude and hope in the effect of CB and BPS

hypotheses
Hypotheses
  • CB and BPS will increase PA, NA, SWL (from pre-intervention to post-intervention measures)
  • Gratitude will be positively correlated with change in SWB (from pre- to post-intervention measures)

in the counting blessings group

3. Hope will be positively correlated with change in SWB (from pre- to post-intervention measures)

in the best possible self group

the sample
The sample
  • 305 adults from the general community
    • Age range 18-85
    • 76% females (M=26.8, SD=14.02)
    • 21% males (M=25.91, SD=12.26)
  • Randomly allocated to one of three groups
measures
Measures

Subjective Well-Being

Positive and Negative Affect Scales(PANAS)

(Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988)

Satisfaction With Life Scale(SWLS)

(Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985)

Hope

The Adult Trait Hope Scale (THS)

(Snyder, Harris, Anderson, et. Al, 1991)

Gratitude

The Gratitude Questionnaire(GQ-6)

(McCollough Emmons, & Tsang, 2002)

Social desirability

Short version of Marlowe-Crowne’s [MC-(20)]

(Strahan & Gerbasi, 1972)

slide13

Procedure

SWB

Hope

Gratitude

Intervention

SWB

Social Desirability

  • Online / pen and paper
  • Participants to complete in their own time
statistical analysis
Statistical Analysis

Hypothesis 1:

CB and BPS will increase PA, NA, SWL

Three (2X3) mixed model Two-way ANOVAs:

Within factor: Time of measurement: pre, post

Between factor: Intervention type: CB, BPS, Control

Depenent Variable: 1.Post PA

2.Post NA

3.Post SWL

statistical analysis15
Statistical Analysis

Hypothesis2: Gratitude is related to SWBchange* in CB

Hypothesis3: Hope is related to SWBchange in BPS

Pearson’s Correlations

Separate correlations were calculated for the three intervention groups (CB, BPS, Control) between the scales:

Gratitude, Hope, PAchange, NAchange, SWLchange

* Change variables are (Post SWB scores) – (Pre SWB scores)

results
Results

1. PA: Time: F(1,302)=67.67, p<.001, ²=.18

Intervention: F(2,302)=1.26, p>.05, ²=.01

Interaction: F(2,302)=8.89, p<.001, ²=.06

2. NA: Time: F(1,302)=28.02, p<.001, ²=.09

Intervention: F(2,302)=2.76, p>.05, ²=.02

Interaction: F(2,302)=0.34, p>.05, ²=.00.

3. SWL: Time: F(1,302)=65.20, p<.001, ²=.18

Intervention: F(2,302)=.07, p>.05, ²=.00

Interaction: F(2,302)=7.37, p<.01, ²=.05

Three (2X3) mixed model Two-way ANOVAs: Main effects of time of measurement, main effects of intervention type, and interaction effects (time X intervention):

results in english
Results – in English

Are the counting blessings (CB) andbest possible self (BPS) interventions effective?

Positive Affect (PA)

  • CB, BPS (and life details) increased PA
  • CB and BPS - greater increase than life details

Negative Affect (NA)

  • CB, BPS (and life details) decreased NA

Satisfaction With Life (SWL)

  • CB, BPS (and life details) increased SWL
  • CB - greater increase than BPS and life details
results19
Results

Correlation Coefficients Between the Strengths Hope and Gratitude and the SWB Change Scores for CB, BPS and control Groups.

* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

results in english20
Results – in English

Are the strengthsofgratitudeandhopeinvolved in the effect of the interventions?

The only significant correlation between character strengths and subjective well-being change was between:

Gratitude and Positive Affect for the counting blessings group (4.3%)

what do the results mean
What do the results mean?
  • The counting blessings and the best possible self interventions can effectively enhance SWB (immediately after completing the intervention task)
  • The life-details placebo group, can also enhance SWB
  • The counting blessings intervention is more effective than best possible self at increasing SWL
what do the results mean22
What do the results mean?
  • People with higher gratitude gain a greater increase in PA than people with lower gratitude by practicing counting blessing
  • Hope does not seem to have a direct immediate effect on SWB enhancement when practicing best possible self
what do the results mean in the real world
What do the results mean in theREAL WORLD?
  • Happiness seekers can be taught simple writing tasks like counting blessings, best possible self, and life details
  • These methods are simple and can be varied and adjusted according to individual’s life style and needs
  • Positive interventions can be incorporated into traditional psychological treatments
  • People with greater initial gratitude should be recommended to engage in the counting blessings method if they wish to increase their well-being
slide24
THANK YOU!

Any questions?