Positive psychology online: using the internet to promote flourishing on a large scale

Jerina Marlinde Bolier

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Online positive psychology enhances well-being and reduces mental health symptoms Positive psychological interventions, and online positive psychological interventions in particular, can be effective in enhancing well-being and reducing depressive and anxiety symptoms, according to the dissertation of Linda Bolier. Also, well-being is positively related to long-term functioning and prognosis while being physically diseased. Positive psychological interventions (PPIs) can be of value in public mental health, as first-step interventions in a stepped care approach. Online application of these interventions are in potential suitable to reach and engage large groups of people. In two meta-analyses, respectively the positive effect of well-being on recovery and survival while being diseased and the effects of PPIs on well-being and depression were explored. A chapter on online PPIs (oPPIs) reviews the advantages, challenges and evidence so far of online positive psychology. After that, two randomized controlled trials were conducted. An online intervention was developed: 'Psyfit – online mental fitness' that for the most part was based on principles that stem or are related to positive psychology, such as optimistic thinking, positive relationships and mindfulness. Psyfit was found to be effective in helping the mildly depressed participants to enhance their well-being, vitality and general health in the short-term and to reduce depressive and anxiety symptoms in both the short and long-term. The cost-effectiveness of the intervention remained inconclusive. In the second trial, Psyfit was offered to nurses in a large academic hospital within a package of other online interventions tailored to a screening profile. Although there was hardly any adherence to the online interventions, positive effects were found for well-being, but not on other outcomes such as mental symptoms and work functioning. It was concluded that PPIs and oPPIs have potential to enhance well-being and to reduce disease in adult populations. In the dissertation, several recommendations were made to improve practice and research in intervention research in positive psychology. More knowledge is needed on how to successfully embed these interventions in various delivery systems, such as healthcare, schools, companies and the World Wide Web.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Bohlmeijer, Ernst T., Supervisor
  • Westerhof, Gerben J., Advisor
  • Riper, M.M., Advisor, External person
Award date27 Mar 2015
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-465-3836-7
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2015


  • IR-95329
  • METIS-310142


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