, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 1-3
Date: 20 Mar 2010

Introduction to Special Series: The Great Debate—Evaluating the Health Implications of Positive Psychology

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Abstract

Background

In recent years, investigators have focused increased attention on positive psychology constructs and their associations with health outcomes, such as morbidity, mortality, and adaptation to illness. The database regarding some of these concepts and models has grown appreciably, but work in this area has been subject to controversy.

Purpose

This special series of papers offers contrasting perspectives regarding research on positive psychology and health. Both proponents and critics were invited to review recent developments concerning a number of positive constructs that have been evaluated in the oncology literature and in health research, more generally.

Methods

Papers are presented in the format of a debate. Significant advances are reviewed by one set of investigators, Drs, Lisa G. Aspinwall and Richard G. Tedeschi, while shortcomings and concerns are highlighted by another set of investigators, Drs. James C. Coyne and Howard Tennen. Each of these review papers is followed by a rebuttal by the opposing side. A commentary on the exchange is provided by Dr. Sherri Sheinfeld Gorin.

Results

These papers address a range of important considerations regarding conceptualization of constructs, methodological rigor, dissemination of findings, and implications for practice.

Conclusion

The critiques and recommendations offered in these papers may help inform future efforts in this area, as the field continues to evolve.