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Special Issue "The Contribution of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing Literacy"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020) | Viewed by 36636

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Lindsay G. Oades
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Wellbeing Science, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia
Interests: wellbeing literacy; positive psychology; wellbeing science; policy; thriveability theory; mental health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We have been invited to plan and edit a Special Issue on “Positive Psychology and Wellbeing Literacy” for the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH). Positive psychology is a scientific and applied approach to uncovering people’s strengths and promoting positive functioning and wellbeing. This endeavour does not deny nor demean endeavours to alleviate pain or treat illness. Rather, the aim is to have a science of positive functioning and wellbeing that complements basic and applied sciences of disease and illness. For example, primary and secondary prevention is a well-known conceptualisation, whilst primary and secondary enhancement is not. Primary enhancement may be considered living a good life. Secondary enhancement may be considered living your best possible life.

Wellbeing Literacy is an emerging concept that can be defined as the intentional language use about and for wellbeing. It is related to other types of literacy, including emotional literacy, health literacy and mental health literacy. Contemporary views of literacy are multimodel; i.e., they involve reading and writing, speaking and listenting, creating and viewing. This is a much broader conceptualisation than tradtional health prevention or promotion campaigns, as it examines how wellbeing is constructed and communicated. Wellbeing literacy may be considered as a communication capability and, hence, influenced by environmental and situational factors.

This Special Issue has two foci: first, the contribution of positive psychology to population health and wellbeing; second, the potential contribution of wellbeing literacy (intentionally communicating about and for wellbeing) to understanding and enhancing population health and wellbeing.

We especially encourage the submission of papers that report on:

  • the interaction of positive psychological factors (e.g., strengths, optimism, self-regulation) related to population health and/or wellbeing;
  • contemporary views in wellbeing science that can be applied to populations;
  • wellbeing literacy and other aspects of language use that influence aspects of population health; or
  • new data or conceptualisatons of population health through a wellbeing or positive psychological lens.

We encourage prospective authors to submit a 350-word abstract by 1 December 2019 for consideration and feedback by the Guest Editors. Authors whose abstracts are accepted will be invited to submit a full manuscript. Subject to the decision of the Special Issue editors, up to five manuscripts accepted through this process will receive a waiver of the normal Journal publication fee. In addition, authors may submit their paper through the normal journal submission process and the usual journal processing fee of 1800 CHF will apply. All manuscripts will be subject to the journal’s normal peer review process. The closing date for full manuscript submissions (through either process) is 30 June 2020.

IJERPH is an established, open access, peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health. Its impact factor is 2.468 (2018); 5-Year Impact Factor: 2.948 (2018). For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph.

Prof. Lindsay G. Oades
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • positive psychology
  • wellbeing
  • wellbeing literacy
  • population health
  • social determinants
  • capability
  • social marketing
  • systems science

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Article
Development and Assessment of the Personal Emotional Capital Questionnaire for Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1856; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041856 - 14 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1425
Abstract
(1) Background: The present study developed and evaluated a personal emotional capital questionnaire (PECQ) for adults that assessed 10 domains of personal emotional capital. (2) Method: Initially, 100 items were created and then administered to students attending Semnan University and Semnan University of [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The present study developed and evaluated a personal emotional capital questionnaire (PECQ) for adults that assessed 10 domains of personal emotional capital. (2) Method: Initially, 100 items were created and then administered to students attending Semnan University and Semnan University of Medical Sciences in Iran. Of the 700 questionnaires distributed, 527 were completed in full. Students were sampledusing the multi-stage random cluster method. Exploratory factor analyses, Cronbach’s alpha, and test–retest reliability were used to evaluate the scale. (3) Results: The ten components ofthe PECQ were confirmed. Test–retest correlations after 30 days were high, as was Cronbach’s alpha (0.94). Thecomponents highly correlatedwith overall emotional capital. The PECQ displayed convergent validity as it positively correlated with the Keyes’s Mental Health Continuum—Short Form and students’GPAs. The PECQ displayed divergent validity as it negatively correlated with measures of depression, anxiety and stress (Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS21)). Differences in overall PECQ scores and its components were examined for several variables including gender, age, marital and employment status, academic program, and field of study. PECQ scores were not sensitive to the order of administering questionnaires. (4) Conclusion: The results suggest that the PECQ is a valid and reliable measure of personal emotional capital and supports its use in adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contribution of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing Literacy)
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Article
Wellbeing Literacy: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Preliminary Empirical Findings from Students, Parents and School Staff
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1485; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041485 - 04 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2900
Abstract
Aims: Wellbeing literacy is the intentional use of wellbeing relevant vocabulary, knowledge and language skills to maintain or improve the wellbeing of oneself, others and the world. In this study, we operationalize the human aspects of the concept of wellbeing literacy and empirically [...] Read more.
Aims: Wellbeing literacy is the intentional use of wellbeing relevant vocabulary, knowledge and language skills to maintain or improve the wellbeing of oneself, others and the world. In this study, we operationalize the human aspects of the concept of wellbeing literacy and empirically test its relationship with wellbeing and illbeing. We also assess its incremental variance in wellbeing and illbeing, after controlling for existing and well-established predictors of these constructs within education settings. Methods: We developed and empirically tested the Wellbeing literacy 6-item (Well-Lit 6) scale to assess the concept of wellbeing literacy in the education context. The scale was developed based on a working definition of wellbeing literacy, in combination with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)’s definition of literacy. The Well-Lit 6 was administered via a cross-sectional survey to three Australian samples that comprise different elements of Australian education systems: students (N = 1392), parents (N = 584) and school staff (N = 317). Results: Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) suggested the six items of the Well-Lit 6 form an independent construct, empirically distinguishable from other wellbeing-related constructs (e.g., general wellbeing, resilience, and emotion regulation). Convergent analyses showed wellbeing literacy was positively related to wellbeing and negatively related to illbeing. Incremental validity analyses showed wellbeing literacy predicted variance in wellbeing and illbeing after controlling for participant demographics, resilience, and emotion regulation, showing initial evidence of incremental validity. Conclusions: Our results provide preliminary evidence that wellbeing literacy is a distinct construct from wellbeing and illbeing, and it also demonstrates significant unique variance in these constructs over and above resilience and emotion regulation. The Well-Lit 6 is a useful provisional measure of wellbeing literacy, although we suggest a fruitful avenue for future research is to develop a more comprehensive scale of wellbeing literacy that denotes specific facets of communication, allowing a fuller exploration wellbeing literacy, its components, and their antecedents and consequences. We offer further recommendations for future research and discuss limitations with our approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contribution of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing Literacy)
Article
Wellbeing Literacy: A Capability Model for Wellbeing Science and Practice
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 719; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020719 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 11123
Abstract
Wellbeing science is the scientific investigation of wellbeing, its’ antecedents and consequences. Alongside growth of wellbeing science is significant interest in wellbeing interventions at individual, organizational and population levels, including measurement of national accounts of wellbeing. In this concept paper, we propose the [...] Read more.
Wellbeing science is the scientific investigation of wellbeing, its’ antecedents and consequences. Alongside growth of wellbeing science is significant interest in wellbeing interventions at individual, organizational and population levels, including measurement of national accounts of wellbeing. In this concept paper, we propose the capability model of wellbeing literacy as a new model for wellbeing science and practice. Wellbeing literacy is defined as a capability to comprehend and compose wellbeing language, across contexts, with the intention of using such language to maintain or improve the wellbeing of oneself, others or the world. Wellbeing literacy is underpinned by a capability model (i.e., what someone is able to be and do), and is based on constructivist (i.e., language shapes reality) and contextualist (i.e., words have different meanings in different contexts) epistemologies. The proposed capability model of wellbeing literacy adds to wellbeing science by providing a tangible way to assess mechanisms learned from wellbeing interventions. Moreover, it provides a framework for practitioners to understand and plan wellbeing communications. Workplaces and families as examples are discussed as relevant contexts for application of wellbeing literacy, and future directions for wellbeing literacy research are outlined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contribution of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing Literacy)
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Article
Examining Emotional Literacy Development Using a Brief On-Line Positive Psychology Intervention with Primary School Children
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7612; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207612 - 19 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1962
Abstract
Wellbeing literacy (WL) may be the missing ingredient required to optimally enhance or enable positive psychology intervention (PPI) effectiveness. This study involved Victorian government funded primary schools, including two rural, two regional, and two city schools; participants included 20 classroom teachers and 131 [...] Read more.
Wellbeing literacy (WL) may be the missing ingredient required to optimally enhance or enable positive psychology intervention (PPI) effectiveness. This study involved Victorian government funded primary schools, including two rural, two regional, and two city schools; participants included 20 classroom teachers and 131 grade five and six primary school students. A brief online PPI was implemented by teachers for 10–15 min, three times per week, for six weeks. This paper examines quantitative data collected pre and post the six week intervention, and qualitative data gathered in week one of the intervention regarding intervention effectiveness. The aim is to examine if a brief online PPI effectively builds intentional emotional vocabulary use, and to discuss how on-line PPIs can be used in public health to improve young people’s WL. Considering evaluations of process effectiveness and outcome measures related to student emotional vocabulary use, results tentatively suggest that online PPIs can positively impact emotional vocabulary capability and intentionality. Multimodal communication was exercised during the PPI, suggesting that the brief online PPI format may provide a valuable tool to promote student WL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contribution of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing Literacy)
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Article
Promoting Sustainable Wellbeing: Integrating Positive Psychology and Environmental Sustainability in Education
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 6968; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17196968 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4315
Abstract
This article proposes an integrative policy approach to defining and promoting wellbeing through the joint lenses of positive psychology and environmental sustainability. The study suggests that while both positive education and environmental education address various aspects of wellbeing, a common definition is still [...] Read more.
This article proposes an integrative policy approach to defining and promoting wellbeing through the joint lenses of positive psychology and environmental sustainability. The study suggests that while both positive education and environmental education address various aspects of wellbeing, a common definition is still absent. The study proposes a framework for advancing a mutual concept of wellbeing: “sustainable wellbeing”, integrating aspects of individual wellbeing and the wellbeing of the environment. Sustainable wellbeing is achieved when improving individual wellbeing is correlated with improving the wellbeing of other members of society and the natural environment. It suggests a framework for integrating the benefits of positive education and environmental education into a coherent approach for exploring, discussing, and experiencing sustainable wellbeing. The paper mainly develops, explores, and demonstrates ten rules for implementing sustainable wellbeing literacy in schools, based on cognitive behavioral therapy and positive psychology insights. It contributes to the development and understanding of wellbeing, highlights the benefits of parallel developments of two distinct educational fields, and offers practical guidelines for implementing educational programs. Furthermore, the paper contributes to developing 21st century educational systems and further develops the emerging field of positive sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contribution of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing Literacy)
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Article
Distinct Associations of Hedonic and Eudaimonic Motives with Well-Being: Mediating Role of Self-Control
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5547; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155547 - 31 Jul 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1332
Abstract
The pursuit of hedonia and eudaimonia are two ways to fulfill the goal of a “good life”. While some studies report that both hedonic and eudaimonic motives improve well-being, others suggest that hedonic motives are counterproductive, raising the question of whether and why [...] Read more.
The pursuit of hedonia and eudaimonia are two ways to fulfill the goal of a “good life”. While some studies report that both hedonic and eudaimonic motives improve well-being, others suggest that hedonic motives are counterproductive, raising the question of whether and why eudaimonic motives are more positively associated with well-being. We aimed to identify the distinct associations of hedonic and eudaimonic motives with well-being and investigate whether they are partly mediated by self-control. A total of 2882 college freshmen (1835 females, 1047 males, mean age 18.16 years) completed measures assessing hedonic and eudaimonic motives, self-control, life satisfaction, positive and negative affect, and eudaimonic well-being. Eudaimonic motives were associated with higher life satisfaction, more positive affect, less negative affect, and better eudaimonic well-being. In contrast, hedonic motives were positively associated with life satisfaction, while also being correlated with a greater degree of negative affect and impaired eudaimonic well-being. Self-control mediated the relationships between hedonic and eudaimonic motives and well-being. Eudaimonic and hedonic motives were positively and negatively related to self-control, respectively. Further, high self-control was associated with greater life satisfaction, positive affect, and eudaimonic well-being and lower negative affect. Thus, eudaimonic motives can lead to a better life than hedonic motives because the former enhance self-control, while the latter lower it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contribution of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing Literacy)
Article
Strengthening University Student Wellbeing: Language and Perceptions of Chinese International Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5538; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155538 - 31 Jul 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3500
Abstract
Students at the tertiary education level in Australia are at increased risk of experiencing high levels of psychological distress, with international students at particularly high risk for poor adjustment. As mental health and wellbeing strongly correlate with students’ academic performance and general overseas [...] Read more.
Students at the tertiary education level in Australia are at increased risk of experiencing high levels of psychological distress, with international students at particularly high risk for poor adjustment. As mental health and wellbeing strongly correlate with students’ academic performance and general overseas experience, a growing number of studies focus on what universities can do to effectively support students’ wellbeing. However, assumptions are made about what wellbeing is, strategies primarily focus on treating mental ill-health, and treatment approaches fail to account for cultural differences. This study aimed to explore how Chinese international students understand wellbeing, the language used about and for wellbeing, and activities that students believe strengthen their own and others’ wellbeing. Eighty-four Chinese international students completed the online survey, and a subset of 30 students participated in semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed using thematic, phenomenographic, and language analyses. Physical health and mental health appeared as the key components that participants believed defined wellbeing, and intrapersonal activities were perceived as the primary approach used to strengthen wellbeing. Findings help broaden the understanding of wellbeing concept from the population of tertiary students, identify students’ perspectives of activities that strengthen their wellbeing, offer a snapshot of the language used by Chinese students around wellbeing, and provide new data of population health through a wellbeing lens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contribution of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing Literacy)
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Article
When Do Good Deeds Lead to Good Feelings? Eudaimonic Orientation Moderates the Happiness Benefits of Prosocial Behavior
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4053; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114053 - 06 Jun 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2029
Abstract
Engaging in prosocial behavior is considered an effective way to increase happiness in a sustainable manner. However, there is insufficient knowledge about the conditions under which such a happiness effect occurs. From a person-activity congruence perspective, we proposed that an individual’s eudaimonic orientation [...] Read more.
Engaging in prosocial behavior is considered an effective way to increase happiness in a sustainable manner. However, there is insufficient knowledge about the conditions under which such a happiness effect occurs. From a person-activity congruence perspective, we proposed that an individual’s eudaimonic orientation moderates the effect of prosocial behavior on happiness, whereas hedonic orientation does not. For this purpose, 128 participants were assigned to play a game in which half of them were explained the benevolence impact of playing the game (the benevolence condition), and the other half played the same game without this knowledge (the control condition). Participants’ eudaimonic and hedonic orientations were assessed before the game, and their post-task happiness were measured after the game. The results showed that participants in the benevolence condition reported higher post-task positive affect than those in the control condition. Furthermore, this happiness effect was moderated by participants’ eudaimonic orientation—participants with high eudaimonic orientation reaped greater benefits from benevolence, and their hedonic orientation did not moderate the relationship between benevolence and happiness. The importance of the effect of person-activity congruence on happiness is discussed, along with the implications of these findings for sustainably pursuing happiness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contribution of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing Literacy)
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Article
The Elements of Eco-Connection: A Cross-Cultural Lexical Enquiry
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 5120; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245120 - 14 Dec 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1978
Abstract
The environment is widely recognised to be in peril, with clear signs of a climate crisis. This situation has many dimensions and factors, but key among them are the often-destructive ways in which humans interact with the natural world. Numerous cultures—particularly more industrialised [...] Read more.
The environment is widely recognised to be in peril, with clear signs of a climate crisis. This situation has many dimensions and factors, but key among them are the often-destructive ways in which humans interact with the natural world. Numerous cultures—particularly more industrialised and/or Western ones—have developed predatory and disconnected modes of interaction. In such modes, nature tends to be constructed as a resource to be exploited (rather than, say, a commonwealth to be protected). However, many people—especially, but not only, in less ‘developed’ nations—have cultivated less destructive modes of relationship. These bonds may be broadly encompassed under the rubric of ‘eco-connection’. In the interests of exploring these latter modes, an enquiry was conducted into adaptive forms of engagement with nature across the world’s cultures. The enquiry focused on untranslatable words, i.e., which lack an exact translation in another language (in this case, English). Through a quasi-systematic search of academic and grey literature, together with additional data collection, over 150 relevant terms were located. An adapted form of grounded theory identified three main dimensions of eco-connection: sacrality, bonding, and appreciation. Such analyses have the potential to promote greater wellbeing literacy with respect to our relationship with nature, both within academia and beyond in the wider culture. This includes enriching the nomological network in psychology, and more broadly building a nature-related vocabulary that is more sustainable and harmonious. In doing so, there may also be benefits to public health, in that developing such literacy could possibly influence people’s engagement with nature itself, leading to more adaptive forms of relationship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contribution of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing Literacy)
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Article
A Smartphone App for Improving Mental Health through Connecting with Urban Nature
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(18), 3373; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183373 - 12 Sep 2019
Cited by 38 | Viewed by 5280
Abstract
In an increasingly urbanised world where mental health is currently in crisis, interventions to increase human engagement and connection with the natural environment are one of the fastest growing, most widely accessible, and cost-effective ways of improving human wellbeing. This study aimed to [...] Read more.
In an increasingly urbanised world where mental health is currently in crisis, interventions to increase human engagement and connection with the natural environment are one of the fastest growing, most widely accessible, and cost-effective ways of improving human wellbeing. This study aimed to provide an evaluation of a smartphone app-based wellbeing intervention. In a randomised controlled trial study design, the app prompted 582 adults, including a subgroup of adults classified by baseline scores on the Recovering Quality of Life scale as having a common mental health problem (n = 148), to notice the good things about urban nature (intervention condition) or built spaces (active control). There were statistically significant and sustained improvements in wellbeing at one-month follow-up. Importantly, in the noticing urban nature condition, compared to a built space control, improvements in quality of life reached statistical significance for all adults and clinical significance for those classified as having a mental health difficulty. This improvement in wellbeing was partly explained by significant increases in nature connectedness and positive affect. This study provides the first controlled experimental evidence that noticing the good things about urban nature has strong clinical potential as a wellbeing intervention and social prescription. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contribution of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing Literacy)
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