Promoting flourishing* in persons with psychosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis of positive psychology interventions

Jens Einar Jansen1, John Gleeson2, Sarah Bendall3, Miguel Angel Alcazar-Corcoles4, Simon Rice5, Erik Simonsen1, Patrick McGorry3, Mario Alvarez-Jimenez3; 1Psychiatric research Unit, Slagelse, Region Zealand, Denmark, 2School of Psychology, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia, 3Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Australia, 4Department of Biological and Health Psychology, School of Psychology, Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), Spain, 5Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Australia

While recent years have seen a renewed optimism regarding recovery in persons with psychosis, it has been argued that most interventions are overly focused on symptom reduction. Central to Positive Psychology is the idea that positive and healthy aspects of life are not simply the opposite of distress and disorder. In other words, reducing negative emotions does not necessarily increase positive feelings, resilience, and the experience of purpose and meaning. This resonates with the ideas behind the Recovery Movement as well as acceptance- and mindfulness based interventions. The aim of this study was to synthesize findings of positive psychology interventions for people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. A systematic literature search according to the PRISMA guidelines using relevant databases and manual searches. The outcome measures used were positive emotions, compassion, mindfulness and subjective well-being. Interventions included individual therapy, group training and group therapy Twelve studies, comprising 411 persons with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder met inclusion criteria. As can be seen in Figure 1 and 2, the effect sizes were moderate to high in the controlled studies and low to moderate in the uncontrolled studies. Heterogeneity was low to moderate, but there were important variations in terms of methodological quality (average quality was in ‘medium’ range). With the limitations in mind, the positive psychology interventions show promise in increasing positive feelings, positive behaviors, or positive cognitions. This may induce ‘positive spirals’ that can buffer against stress and relapse and thus promote long term recovery and maintaining treatment effects.

Topic Area: Psychosocial Interventions

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