The effectiveness of a positive group psychotherapy on the promotion of young adults' mental health

Carla Alexandra Fonte, Mariana Melo


Background: Positive mental health has had different definitions, but the current one embraces the presence of levels of well-being and decreased levels of psychopathology. This vision of positive mental health has increased the interest in developing positive psychological intervention programs and activities that promote mental health, increasing levels of well- being and decreasing levels of psychopathology. This study aimed to verify the impact and effectiveness of a positive psychotherapy-based group intervention plan, in a non-clinical sample on the increase of well-being and reduction of psychopathology.

Method: The sample was selected by non-random convenience, consisting of 40 participants, who were subdivided into an experimental group and a comparison group, each consisting of 20 elements. The experimental group is made up by 11 men (55%) and 9 women (45%), with ages between 18- 27 years old, being the average of ages 20,70 (SD= 2,830). The comparison group is composed by 10 women (50%) and 10 men (50%) aged between 18 and 27 years old, being the average of the ages 22 (SD=6,808).  To evaluate the effectiveness of the program, an assessment was done in two moments (pre and posttest), using the MHC-SF (for well-being assessment) and the DASS-21 (for psychopathology assessment) as assessment measures.

Results: The results obtained show a significant improvement in social well-being as well as a reduction in the levels of psychopathology (anxiety, depression, and stress).

Conclusions: These results demonstrate that participation in the program is beneficial for mental health promotion.  It is suggested that a larger sample size and a randomization process may be used in future research.


Well-being; Mental health; Positive psychological interventions; Group psychotherapy.

Full Text:



Baptista, A. (2021). Aprender a ser feliz: Exercícios de Psicoterapia. Pactor.

Bolier, L., Haverman, M., Westerhof, G. J., Riper, H., Smit, F., & Bohlmeijer, E. (2013). Positive psychology interventions: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. BMC public health, 13(1), 1-20.

Burlingame, G. M., McClendon, D. T., & Yang, C. (2018). Cohesion in group therapy: A meta- analysis. Psychotherapy, 55(4), 384–398.

Carr, A., Cullen, K., Keeney, C., C Canning, C. Mooney, O., Chinseallaigh, E. & Annie O’Dowd, A. (2021). Effectiveness of positive psychology interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 16 (6), 49–769

Chu, M. H., Lau, B., Leung, J., Chan, S. C., Tang, B., Lau, C., Newby, C., Chiu, R., Lo, W. T., Schrank, B., & Slade, M. (2022). Positive psychotherapy for psychosis in Hong Kong: A randomized controlled trial. Schizophrenia research, 240, 175–183.

Couto, Daiane Bocard do, & Vicente, Carla Cristine. (2018). Psicoterapia de grupo com foco na adaptação acadêmica: um experimento com estudantes. Estudos e Pesquisas em Psicologia, 18(3), 812-830.

Dambrun, M., & Dubuy, A. (2014). A Positive Psychology Intervention Among Long‐Term Unemployed People and Its Effects on Psychological Distress and Well‐Being. Journal of Employment Counseling, 51, 75-88.

Duckworth, A.L., Steen, T.A., & Seligman, M. (2005). Positive psychology in clinical practice. Annual review of clinical psychology, 1, 629-51. Bem Estar Subjetivo. Revista Psicologia: Teoria e Pesquisa, 20 (2), 153-164.

Fonte, C., Silva, I., Vilhena, E., & Keyes, C. L. M. (2020). The Portuguese Adaptation of the Mental Health Continuum-Short Form for Adult Population. Community Mental Health Journal, 56(2), 368-375.

Fredrickson, B. L., Cohn, M. A., Coffey, K. A., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. M. (2008). Open hearts build lives: positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. Journal of personality and social psychology, 95(5), 1045–1062.

Froh, J., Kashdan, T., Ozimkowski, K., & Miller, N. (2009). Who benefits the most from a gratitude intervention in children and adolescents? Examining positive affect as a moderator. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4,408–422.

Gable, S. L., & Haidt, J. (2005). What (and why) is positive psychology? Review of General Psychology, 9(2), 103–110.

García-Álvarez, D., Soler, M., Achard-Braga, L., & Cobo-Rendón, R. (2020). Program of Positive Psychology Applied to Education on the Psychological Wellbeing of Educational Actors. Revista Electrónica Educare, 24(1), 1-24.

Hammill, J., Nguyen, T., & Henderson, F. (2022). Student engagement: The impact of positive psychology interventions on students. Active Learning in Higher Education, 23(2), 129–142.

Hendriks, T., Schotanus-Dijkstra, M., Hassankhan, A., de Jong, J., & Bohlmeijer, E. (2020). The efficacy of multi-component positive psychology interventions: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Happiness Studies, 21(1), 357–390.

Heekerens, J. B., & Eid, M. (2021). Inducing positive affect and positive future expectations using the best-possible-self intervention: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 16(3), 322-347.

Jung-Im Kim. (2021). The Effects of Mindfulness-Positive Psychology Program on the Stress and Well-Being of Call Center workers. Annals of the Romanian Society for Cell Biology, 1242–1247.

Kasperek‐Zimowska, Beata & Bednarek, Agata & Giguere, Marta & Parnowska, Dorota & Żochowska, Agnieszka & Malewicz‐Sawicka, Maryla. (2021). The impact of positive psychotherapy of psychoses on the subjective well‐being of people suffering from chronic schizophrenia—Preliminary report. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. 22. 250-256.

Keyes, C. L. M., Shmotkin, D., & Ryff, C.D. (2002). Optimizing well-being: The empirical encounter of two traditions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 1007-1022.

Krahnen, L.,S.; Bauernfiend, G.;Lieber, P. & Jipp, M (2022). Evaluation of two short-term stress interventions in the context of mobility. Transportation Reseach Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour. Volume 84, pp 155-164

Lambert, L., Topolskaya, E., Warren, M. A., & Habib, M. A. (2019). Positivity at work: It’s not a contradiction! In L. Lambert, & N. Pasha-Zaidi (Eds.), Positive psychology in the Middle East/North Africa: Research, policy, and practice (pp. 133-156). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Lyubomirsky, S., & Layous, K. (2013). How do simple positive activities increase well-being? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22(1), 57–62.

Lyubomirsky, S., Dickerhoof, R., Boehm, J. K., & Sheldon, K. M. (2011). Becoming happier takes both a will and a proper way: An experimental longitudinal intervention to boost well-being. Emotion, 11(2), 391–402.

Martins, C. (2011). Manual de análise de dados quantitativos com recurso ao IBM SPSS: saber decidir, fazer, interpretar e redigir. Braga: Psiquilibrios Edições.

Malat, J., Cheng, S.E.T., Tay, A.T.S. (2023). Group Psychotherapy. Tasman’s Psychiatry, 1-36.

Marrero, Rosario J & Carballeira, Mónica & Martín, Sabrina & Mejías, Miriam & Hernández- Cabrera, Juan. (2016). Eficacia de una intervención en psicología positiva combinada con terapia cognitivo conductual en estudiantes universitarios. Anales de Psicología. 32. 728.

Myles, L.A.M., Connolly, J., Stanulewiz, N. (2020). The Mediating Role of Perceived Control and Desire for Control in the Relationship between Personality and Depressive Symptomology. Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 8(3).

Pais-Ribeiro.J.L.(2010). Investigação e avaliação em psicologia e saúde. Placebo.

Pais-Ribeiro, J., Honrado, A. & Leal, I. (2004). Contribuição para o estudo da adaptação portuguesa das escalas de ansiedade, depressão e stress (EADS) de 21 itens de Lovibond e Lovibond. Psicologia, Saúde e Doenças, 5(2), 229- 239.

Parks, A. C., & Layous, K. (2016). Positive psychological inter-ventions. In J. C. Norcross, G. R. VandenBos, D. K. Freedheim, & R. Krishnamurthy (Eds.), APA handbook of clinical psychol-ogy: Applications and methods (Vol. 3, pp. 439–449). American Psychological Association.

Parks, A. C., & Schueller, S. (2014). The Wiley Blackwell handbook of positive psychological interventions. Wiley.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual review of psychology, 52(1), 141-166.

Schotanus-Dijkstra, M., Drossaert, C., Pieterse, M. E., Boon, B., Walburg, J. A., & Bohlmeijer, E. T. (2017). An early intervention to promote well-being and flourishing and reduce anxiety and depression: A randomized controlled trial. Internet interventions, 9, 15–24.

Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55(1), 5–14.

Sin, N., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2009). Enhancing well-being and alleviating depressive symptoms with positive psychology interventions: A practice-friendly meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(5), 467–487.

Shoshani, A., & Steinmetz, S. (2014). Positive psychology at school: A school-based intervention to promote adolescents’ mental health and well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies: An Interdisciplinary Forum on Subjective Well-Being, 15(6), 1289–1311.

Snyder, C. R., Lopez, S. J., Edwards, L. M., & Marques, S. C. (2016). Oxford handbook of positive psychology (Third ed.). Oxford University Press.

Visintini, R., Roder, E., Gaj, N., & Maffei, C. (2020). Group Experience Therapy for outpatients with Borderline Personality Disorder features: preliminary results on its effectiveness in a randomized trial. Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 8(1).

Waters, L. (2020). Using positive psychology interventions to strengthen family happiness: A family systems approach. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 15(5), 645–652.

World Health Organization (2004). Promoting mental health: concepts, emerging evidence, practice: summary report.



  • There are currently no refbacks.