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Title: Positive emotion reactivity in mild to moderate depression
Author: Howley, S. A.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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Aims: This review paper examines the recent literature on the efficacy of positive psychological interventions (PPIs) at treating low mood and increasing positive affect for adults with dysphoric mood. Potential mechanisms underlying these interventions are also explored. Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted to identify studies which empirically tested the efficacy of PPIs. Inclusion criteria were papers reporting empirical studies of specific PPIs compared to a control group with pre- and post- measures of negative and positive affect. Results: 16 studies met the inclusion criteria. Overall, PPIs were efficacious in alleviating dysphoric mood and enhancing positive affect. Moderating and mediating factors were also identified, including personality traits, participant goals and motivations, clinical versus non-clinical samples and format of intervention delivery. There was some evidence that specific PPIs do not perform better than non-specific positive skills tasks. Conclusions: PPIs may enhance positive affect through a non-specific mechanism involving the activation of positive representations of self and others. Recently developed positive cognitive interventions hypothesised specific mechanisms of action relating to “broaden and build” theory (Frederickson et al., 1998, 2002) and competitive memory retrieval (Brewin, 2006). However it is still unclear whether there are different treatment responses to PPIs in non-clinical versus clinical samples that may relate to different ways of processing self-referent information.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available