Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Since the time of this research, the world has undergone a global pandemic that has changed the way we are able to build community and cultivate connection in our lives. Though this work was done primarily from the lens of building in-person connection and community, many of the themes and factors included in this framework can and should be considered as we reimagine our sense of community connection in a COVID world.


In a world that is more virtually connected than ever before, social connection is waning at an alarming rate. Extensive research has demonstrated the importance of individuals’ connection to others, and community, as central for holistic well-being. In this paper, I build a bridge between positive psychology and community psychology. I introduce a recipe for authentic human connection (AHC) and present a 3x3x3 conceptual model that explores how AHC shows up at three levels of community: micro-communities of dyads and families, meso-communities of workplaces and schools, and macro-communities of neighborhoods, cities, and countries. For each level of community, I identify facilitating factors for AHC. These include eye contact, listening, virtue, psychological safety, psychological capital, play, social capital, ritual, and sense of place. I also explore inhibiting factors for AHC such as unconscious bias, fear, social and cultural norms, power structures, competition, instability, inequality, mistrust, and physical environment. Drawing on the rich resource of positive psychology, I close my paper by presenting three strategies for individuals to cultivate authentic human connection across all levels of community.


community, connection, wellbeing, COVID, loneliness, workplaces, organizations, schools, communities


Wellbeing/Flourishing, Education, Community, Connection, Relationships, Health/Wellness, Organizations, Communities





Date Posted: 10 March 2022