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The Efficacy of Multi-Component Positive Psychological Interventions (Expanded Abstract)

Hendriks, T. 1, Schotanus-Dijkstra, M. 2, Hassankhan, A. 1, de Jong, J. 3, & Bohlmeijer, E. 2. Journal of Happiness Studies (Manuscript accepted for publication).

1 Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Anton de Kom Universiteit van Suriname, Paramaribo, Suriname

2 Centre for Health and Well-being Research, Department of Psychology, Health, and Technology, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands.

3 Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, the Netherlands 

Corresponding author: Dr. Tom Hendriks, Anton de Kom University of Suriname, Email: tom.hendriks@uvs.edu

Introductory Statement: 

This expanded abstract describes the results of a meta-analysis of 50 studies conducted over 20 years on extent of effects of using multi-component positive psychology interventions (MPPIs) upon subjective and psychological well-being and depression.

The efficacy of multi-component positive psychological interventions (Expanded Abstract)

Recently, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of multi-component positive psychology interventions (MPPIs). A previous meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials examining the efficacy of positive psychology interventions (PPIs) reported small effects on subjective and psychological well-being and depression. The large majority of the studies in this analysis consisted of interventions containing a single positive activity.


We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that included 50 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that were published between 1998 and August 2018. The quality of each study using the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool for assessing risk of bias in RCTs

We found standardized mean differences of Hedges’ g = 0.34 for subjective well-being, Hedges’ g = 0.39 for psychological well-being, indicating small to moderate effects. In addition, we found Hedges’ g = 0.29 for depression, and Hedges’ g = 0.35 for anxiety and stress, indicating small effects. Moderator analyses only showed a significant effect for study quality, showing larger effect sizes for low quality studies compared to studies of moderate and high quality.

We conclude that MPPIs have a small effect on subjective well-being and depression, and a small to moderate effect on psychological well-being. In addition, they may have a small to moderate effect on anxiety and a moderate effect on stress, but definite conclusions of the effects of MPPIs on these outcomes cannot me made due to the limited number of studies. Further, well- conducted research among diverse populations is necessary to strengthen claims on the efficacy of MPPIs.

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