The influence of low-arousal and high-arousal positive emotions on mental well-being, anxiety and depression

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Positive emotions can be categorized into low and high arousal emotions and some of these emotions might be more important to improve mental health promotion. Several studies have shown that positive emotions are a potential working mechanism of positive interventions. However, the role of low and high arousal emotions in such interventions remains unclear. The aim of this study is to examine which specific positive emotions are enhanced through positive interventions and which of these low and high arousal emotions mediate the efficacy of positive interventions on mental well-being, anxiety and depression.

Post-hoc tests were conducted on three large randomized controlled trials conducted in the general Dutch population with low or moderate well-being: (1) performing prosocial behavior during 6 weeks versus an active (self-focused behavior) and waitlist control (N=288), (2) a 6-week gratitude intervention versus waitlist control (N=144), and (3) an 8-week multicomponent positive psychology intervention versus waitlist control (N=275). Positive emotions, mental well-being, anxiety and depression were measured at pretest, posttest and up to 6 months follow-up. In study 1 and 2, positive emotions were also measured during the intervention.

Results of linear mixed modeling and mediation analyses are expected between May and July 2019. Preliminary analyses showed that prosocial behavior was associated with a higher increase of high-arousal positive emotions, while the multicomponent intervention led to a significant increase of low-arousal positive emotions.

Results are discussed in light of improvement of mental health promotion and positive interventions.
Period18 Oct 2019
Event titleEmotions 2019: 7th International conference on emotions, well-being, and health
Event typeConference
LocationTilburg, Netherlands