In recent years, interventions that apply positive psychology principles have become increasingly popular, providing an alternative approach to promoting students’ well-being. A recent research published in Frontiers in Psychology examined a positive education program in China focusing on positive emotion for middle school students”
Participants were drawn from a public middle school in the city of Chengdu, China. A total of 173 eighth graders from six classes participated in this study, of which 84 were randomly allocated to the experiment group, and 89 were assigned in the control group. Students in the experiment group received a 10-session positive education program delivered by their head-teachers who received training in positive psychology from the researchers. The program consisted of three main modules, namely understanding emotions, fostering positive emotions and managing negative emotions. Each session lasted 45 minutes. Students in the control group spent the same time taking a moral education class that covered moral character, school discipline and class culture building.
Students completed online assessments of their depression level before and after the intervention. The study found that:
- The depression level of students in both groups increased as measured by the post-test.
- However, compared to the students in the control group, the increase in the level of depression of students in the experiment group was significantly lesser.
The authors suggested that comparing to correcting students’ behaviors, positive interventions which kept students intrinsically motivated could also help students improve their life in an effective way.