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Healthcare 2016, 4(3), 66;

Review of Positive Psychology Applications in Clinical Medical Populations

Psychology Research Group, Sheffield Hallam University, Unit 8 Science Park, Sheffield S1 2 WB, UK
Academic Editor: Helen Pattison
Received: 8 March 2016 / Revised: 26 August 2016 / Accepted: 2 September 2016 / Published: 7 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Psychology in Healthcare Settings)
Full-Text   |   PDF [566 KB, uploaded 7 September 2016]   |  


This review examines the application of positive psychology concepts in physical health care contexts. Positive psychology aims to promote well-being in the general population. Studies identifying character strengths associated with well-being in healthy populations are numerous. Such strengths have been classified and Positive Psychology Interventions (PPIs) have been created to further develop these strengths in individuals. Positive psychology research is increasingly being undertaken in health care contexts. The review identified that most of this research involves measuring character strengths and their association with health outcomes in patients with a range of different conditions, similar to the position in positive psychology research on non-clinical populations. More recently, PPIs are beginning to be applied to clinical populations with physical health problems and this research, although relatively scarce, is reviewed here for cancer, coronary heart disease, and diabetes. In common with PPIs being evaluated in the general population, high quality studies are scarce. Applying PPIs to patients with serious health conditions presents significant challenges to health psychologists. They must ensure that patients are dealt with appropriately and ethically, given that exaggerated claims for PPIs are made on the internet quite frequently. This is discussed along with the need for more high quality research. View Full-Text
Keywords: positive psychology interventions; cardiovascular disease; cancer; diabetes; character strengths; health assets; review positive psychology interventions; cardiovascular disease; cancer; diabetes; character strengths; health assets; review

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Macaskill, A. Review of Positive Psychology Applications in Clinical Medical Populations. Healthcare 2016, 4, 66.

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