The effects of psychological interventions on well-being measured with the Mental Health Continuum: a meta-analysis

Jannis T. Kraiss*, Kleinjan Redelinghuys, Laura Anne Weiss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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The last decades experienced a rapid growth in the number of studies examining the effects of psychological interventions on well-being, yet well-being is often conceptualized and measured in different ways in these studies. Previous meta-analyses included studies with a plethora of different well-being instruments, which provides an ambiguous picture of the effectiveness. Furthermore, prior meta-analyses mainly included specific types of psychological interventions. The goal of the current study was to synthesize the effectiveness of psychological interventions in improving well-being as measured with one consistent and comprehensive well-being instrument, the Mental Health Continuum (MHC). The literature was searched for RCTs examining the effect of psychological interventions in both clinical and non-clinical populations that used the MHC as outcome. 46 RCTs (N = 7,618) and 64 comparisons were analyzed using 3-level meta-analysis models. When compared with non-active control groups, small significant effects were found for total well-being at posttest (β = 0.25), and for the subscales emotional (β = 0.27), social (β = 0.25), and psychological well-being (β = 0.30). Effects were smaller but still significant at follow-up. Subgroup analyses yielded significantly stronger effects for guided compared with non-guided interventions and for studies with good quality. Effects were similar for clinical and non-clinical populations and specific types of interventions. Mindfulness and ACT interventions significantly improved well-being. These findings suggest that psychological interventions can improve well-being, and that different interventions have the potential to improve well-being. Effects also seem to be independent of other factors, including delivery mode, format or target group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3655-3689
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of happiness studies
Issue number7
Early online date22 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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