Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Abstracts
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PublicationUsing Storytelling to Reframe Difficult Events and Grow: How Positive Psychology Can Help Change the Story You’re Telling Yourself(2020-01-01) Roebuck, Victoria; Roebuck, VictoriaWe have all faced adversities and traumas in our lives that can challenge our well-being. For many people, these experiences can be crippling. But self-narrative is a powerful tool we can use to cope with difficult experiences and to move toward psychological and emotional well-being. One of the most significant findings in recent psychology research is that people can choose their thoughts and have control over how they interpret what happens to them. Those thoughts, in turn, can directly impact our well-being. This capstone showcases narrative patterns, strategies, and tools that can help us author and edit the stories we tell ourselves. More specifically, I will cover two storytelling patterns, which are defined by the theme of growth, that result in higher levels of well-being: redemptive stories and positive reframing. I will also offer strategies for how people can begin to adopt these two storytelling patterns into their own lives and minds as they make sense of their difficult experiences. PublicationPACER: A Psychological Well-being Framework and Design Process for Running Programs and Race Organizers(2020-01-01) Florin, Michelle B; Florin, Michelle BPhysical activities such as running have a positive impact on participant physical and psychological health. While all runners may experience benefits such as decreased risk of all-cause mortality (Lee et al., 2014), Type 2 diabetes (Lavie et al., 2014), improved cognitive function (Young, 1979; Stroth, Hille, Spitzer, & Reinhardt, 2009), and reduced stress and depression (Blumenthal et al., 1999), positive psychology posits there is more to life than eliminating physical ailments and stress. This paper proposes a well-being framework, backed by positive psychology research and a design process, that can help running organizations intentionally structure programs to optimize well-being, above and beyond the default benefits of running. This paper identifies five different aspects of psychological well-being that are particularly salient to running: positive emotions, accomplishment, community and connection, efficacy, and resilience (PACER). Together, the framework and literature that supports it, and the design process, serve as a “toolkit” to help running program designers to amplify psychological well-being through running programs. PublicationHow to H.E.A.L: A Positive Reconciliation Intervention Strategy for Restoring Wounded Relationships(2020-01-01) McCargo, ShondreaHealthy relationships and connections with the loved ones in our lives are essential components of development and a sense of identity. While these foundational relationships are crucial contributing factors to wellbeing, challenges such as differencing opinions, conflicting personalities, and wrongdoings make it challenging to maintain meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships beyond transgressions. This capstone book proposal explores components of a strategy for creating a space conducive to redefining meaningful relationships through understanding another's experiences and journey, and building a new relationship for a future together. In this proposal, through a mother and daughter's engagement in a strengths-based questioning intervention, central themes about healthy relationships are undertaken, including how to love others beyond their detrimental mistakes. This proposal explores the difference between restoring a relationship to its former state versus a positive reconciliation approach of cultivating a healthy environment for crafting an entirely new relationship that is authentic, meaningful, and transformative. Contributory factors to relationship breakdowns are examined, primarily the impact of past trauma, as well as benefits to restoring connections. Through the leveraging of character strengths, forgiveness, and perspective, this proposal explains how to overcome pain and shame of past relationship transgressions to reach love and healing. PublicationPurpose vs. Meaning: Dawn of Separation - What Defines and Distinguishes the Two Giant Constructs?(2016-01-01) Elinav, RotemIs purpose an essential component of meaning? In other words, can one have a meaningful life without having a clear purpose? Considering the intimate relationship between the two, purpose and meaning are commonly used synonymously, and while some scholars see them as distinct; they still regard purpose as a component of meaning. However, recent research suggests that the two constructs are not only distinct; they can also be seen as separate constructs thus deserving personal empirical attention. This paper aims to disentangle the complex tie between purpose and meaning by: (1) clarifying each of their definitions and identifying the distinction between the constructs; and (2) examining the relationship between the two. A differentiation of purpose and meaning will provide a foundation for further research and development of valid measurements and applicable tools to help people experience more purpose and/or meaning in their lives. PublicationThe Intergenerational Transmission of Self-Compassion(2020-01-01) Drulla Rossi, Adriana; Drulla Rossi, AdrianaSelf-compassion is an adaptive coping ability consisting of approaching failure and hardship with balanced awareness, self-kindness and the recognition that challenges are inherent to the human condition. Self-compassion is associated with reduced psychiatric symptoms and positive attributes that lead to human flourishing, thus being a construct of interest to Positive Psychology. This paper intends to contribute to the increasing body of knowledge in self-compassion by exploring its development in individuals. We conducted a cross-sectional investigation of 246 mother-adolescent dyads (adolescent Mage= 14.0 years, 50.8% girls), to investigate the intergenerational transmission of self-compassion and factors mediating this relationship. Results indicated that maternal self-compassion is positively related to adolescent self-compassion directly, and indirectly via parental self-efficacy and adolescent attachment to mother. We did not find evidence that the association between maternal and adolescent self-compassion is moderated by sex, or that lack of self-compassion is associated with maternal psychological control. Our results suggest the relationship between maternal self-compassion and parental self-efficacy is important in the intergenerational transmission of self-compassion. Parental interventions targeting parental competence may benefit from including self-compassion training. Findings also suggest self-compassion interventions may particularly benefit parents navigating challenging phases of child development, such as adolescence. PublicationWelcome to the Efficacious Factory: Improving Business Results Through Positive Workplace Relationships, Meaningful Work, and Optimism(2021-01-01) Miller, Kathryn AIn manufacturing organizations, value is created through three forms of input: man/woman, machine, and material. Factories manage machine and material challenges with competence. However, industrial psychology, which addresses the human element in workplaces, has essentially pivoted away from manufacturing environments in the last several decades, leaving the human element in manufacturing largely unexplored. We propose three foci to help advance inclusive, effective workplace cultures in factories: positive workplace relationships (particularly gender diversity in manufacturing), meaningful work, and optimism. The resulting inclusive cultures, in which people provide valuable contributions both as individuals and team members, may enable organizational thriving and business performance that continuously improves. In this paper, the literature that examines positive workplace relationships, meaningful work, and optimism is reviewed. Several theoretically sound and empirically based positive interventions that can enhance desirable workplace behaviors that support improved business results are suggested. Finally, the role of leadership in setting these desirable behaviors as norms is discussed. PublicationBeyond Borders: An Interdisciplinary Approach for the Advancement of Social Justice(2020-01-01) Caton, Celeste E; Caton, Celeste EOver the past two decades, positive psychology has significantly advanced the science of well-being, pushing the field to the forefront of psychological scholarship on human flourishing. However, little work has been done within the discipline to explore the role of justice in our ability to thrive individually and collectively. Although this topic takes up a small amount of space within psychological literature relative to other indicators of wellness, overwhelming research suggests that justice is intricately laced to well-being. This paper attempts to build bridges toward the advancement of positive psychology as a social justice-oriented discipline. Through the examination of theory, research, and application within and across various disciplines of psychology, we can develop a more robust understanding of the role of justice in human flourishing. Drawing upon these interdisciplinary insights, suggestions are made as to how positive psychology can become an instrument for social justice. I posit that not only is positive psychology uniquely positioned to address and advance social justice, but it has the responsibility to do so. As a discipline concerned with the well-being of individuals, communities, and society at large, cultivating a more just world aligns with positive psychology’s mission, purpose, and identity. PublicationMissing Link: Marrying Applied Positive Psychology and Diversity Training(2020-01-01) Gong, Masa; Gong, MasaDiversity training has grown over the last twenty years and has recently surged in the wake of the global protests for racial justice and equality sparked by the 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The U.S. Census Bureau has projected that non-Hispanic Whites will no longer be the majority racial group by the year 2044. The emerging majority will be composed of Asians, Blacks, Latinx, and other races. To prepare for this multicultural shift and help increase connectivity between groups, especially in the current COVID-19 era of working from home and Black Lives Matter, companies are investing heavily in diversity training. Diversity training aspires to help workers learn about and appreciate differences as a pathway to more egalitarian behaviors and practices, and diversity also aids in the economic success of the business. Yet current diversity training effects can encompass the opposite. For example, social dominance challenges, power and status needs, in-group and out-group divisions, fragility, negativity, and mixed results in terms of bias reduction, behavior change, and equality in the workplace. This paper will explore how applied positive psychology may help to ameliorate these negative effects and therefore increase the odds of meaningful long-term change. PublicationMoving Forward with Purpose: Increasing Physical Activity for School Wellness(2021-01-01) Bailey, KarenPhysical activity (PA) or movement embedded into elementary school education offers both mental and physical health benefits for students. This paper will look at the important role physical activity plays in the overall physical, emotional, and academic well-being of students and make an argument for why the field of positive education should incorporate physical activity into its framework. It will also make a case for the critical role teachers play in bringing physical activity into their classrooms and provide strategies for how teachers can do this in a more organic way. Studies show that PA is as important to the learning environment as academics. With buy-in from administrators, teachers, and educational institutions, a practice of including physical activity into our daily schedule will produce benefits for wellness at school and beyond. PublicationThe Positive Power of Art: Development of Positive Art Intervention to Promote Emotional Well-being in China(2021-01-01) Han, HaoThere is a rising concern about mental health in China in recent years – with increasing cases of depression, anxiety, stress, and sub-clinical levels of poor mental health conditions. This paper explores the potential to add to the list of potential solution strategies by proposing an innovative perspective that integrate the fields of positive psychology and art therapy to increase positive emotions and decrease negative ones. After extensive review on existing findings about theories and practices in each field, a new form of intervention – positive art intervention is formally introduced. Positive art intervention is an evidence-based practice aiming at promoting emotional well-being and balancing emotions for both clinical and non-clinical populations through different modalities of art engagement in a structured format. Potential strategies to design new positive art interventions are introduced and a call for further development of new positive art interventions is suggested.