The effect of positive psychology interventions on well-being and psychopathology in patients with severe mental illness: A systematic review and meta-analysis

B. Geerling*, J. T. Kraiss, S. M. Kelders, A. W.M.M. Stevens, R. W. Kupka, E. T. Bohlmeijer

*Corresponding author for this work

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There is a growing number of studies evaluating the impact of positive psychology interventions (PPI’s) in people with severe mental illnesses (SMI). The results of these studies have not been quantitatively reviewed yet. In this study, we conduct a meta-analysis on the effects of PPI’s on mental health in people with SMI across studies. Sixteen studies are included (nine RCTs), representing 729 patients. Meta-analyses were performed for well-being as the primary outcome at post-treatment. We found no significant effects on both well-being en psychopathology for the PPI’s in comparison with the control conditions. Within-group effects revealed a moderate effect (Hedge’s g = 0.40) on well-being and a large effect on psychopathology (g = 0.70). Though there is at present no evidence that PPIs are more effective in comparison with other active interventions, our findings demonstrated that people with SMI do benefit from PPIs in terms of enhancement of mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-587
Number of pages16
JournalThe Journal of positive psychology
Issue number5
Early online date10 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Positive psychology
  • severe mental illness
  • well-being
  • meta-analysis
  • 22/2 OA procedure

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