Nurturing Positivity: A Positive Psychology Intervention to Enhance Well-Being, Engagement, and Achievement among At-Risk Students

Project Number
OER 06/13 RBK

Project Duration
December 2013 - September 2017


Positive psychology research has shown that happiness is not just an epiphenomenon but a causal influence on successful outcomes. Happier individuals succeed more across multiple life domains. In the school setting, happiness has been shown to facilitate better learning. Interventions that enhance student happiness seem to hold promise not only in terms of improving socio-emotional well-being but also in terms of achieving the more traditional goals of schooling. Given the importance of improving student happiness for achieving the dual goals of student well-being and better learning, the aim of this study was to develop and test the efficacy of a positive psychology intervention in terms of enhancing student happiness, adaptive learning strategies, motivation, engagement, and achievement. The intervention will be based on Fredrickson's (1998, 2001) broaden-and-build theory which focuses on the role of positive emotions in broadening people's thought-action repertoires and in building up enduring personal resources. Academically at risk Normal Academic and Normal Technical students will be the target population. The proposed project has important theoretical and practical implications. The major contribution of the project would be the development of a multi-faceted intervention program that simultaneously targets all the positive emotions in the broaden-and-build framework. This addresses an important gap in the extant literature because most interventions have only focused on one or two of the positive emotions. There is a distinct lack of more comprehensive interventions. Moreover, most positive psychology interventions have focused on adult participants and there is a lack of interventions specifically targeted for school-aged youth. This project will focus on the development of a program tailored for Singapore high school students. It is deemed to be more sustainable compared to other alternatives because school counselors will be trained by the researchers and they will be heavily involved in the development and implementation of the intervention. Thus, another important component of the project will be capacity-building for the participating schools.

Funding Source

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