University of East London and Auckland University of Technology
Applied positive psychology; why we must proceed with care
Expressive writing has supported health and psychological improvements in clinical and nonclinical populations. Writing instructions differ in topic, frequency and length all with varying degrees of success. This presentation takes the audience on an insider’s tour of the design and analysis of a randomised control trial to test a writing intervention, undertaken for completion of a Master of Applied Positive Psychology. The experiment sought to replicate previous findings and extend the traditional format with the addition of guided prompts designed to explore prior challenging or positive life events. The aim; to investigate which writing topic and instruction would have greater impact on generalised self-efficacy, self-compassion, positive and negative affect and depression for a general population convenience sample (n = 185) who undertook a one-off, online, writing session. To ensure participants safety all applicants were surveyed for depressive symptomology and those who scored above the cut-off were ring-fenced in an elevated cluster. The balance was randomly allocated to writing cohorts (4) and an active control group. Significant effects for all variable measures were exhibited, however, analysis revealed very unexpected findings. Leaving the researcher to ask, how often does this happen and are we using the correct measures in our research?
Annalise is a positive psychology practitioner and researcher who is passionate about bringing positive psychology to life through coaching in one to one, group and workplace settings. She recently joined the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) Student Division (SIPPA) executive team, taking up the role of Mentoring Co-Lead. She looks forward to growing the program and combining three of her favourite things; academic learning, mentoring and positive psychology. Annalise is a recent graduate of the University of East London Masters of Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology (MAPPCP) where she conducted an expressive writing randomised control trial exploring memory recall and coaching prompts to ameliorate wellbeing and depression. In early 2018 Annalise commenced her PhD studies at Auckland University of Technology upon receiving a Vice Chancellors Doctoral scholarship, her research will explore Lay Theories of Wellbeing and how these may be a vital element of Wellbeing Literacy.