Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 367–380 | Cite as

A Test of Two Positive Psychology Interventions to Increase Employee Well-Being

  • Seth KaplanEmail author
  • Jill C. Bradley-Geist
  • Afra Ahmad
  • Amanda Anderson
  • Amber K. Hargrove
  • Alex Lindsey



Despite an abundance of organizational research on how contextual and individual difference factors impact well-being, little research has examined whether individuals themselves can take an active role in enhancing their own well-being. The current study assessed the effectiveness of two simple, self-guided workplace interventions (“gratitude” and “social connectedness”) in impacting well-being.


Sixty-seven university employees participated in one of the two self-guided interventions for 2 weeks and completed self-report measures prior to the intervention, immediately following the intervention, and one-month post-intervention. Growth curve modeling was used to examine the effects of each intervention.


Partially supporting hypotheses, the gratitude intervention resulted in significant increases in positive affective well-being and self-reported gratitude but not did significantly impact negative affective well-being or self-reported social connectedness. The social connectedness exercise did not significantly impact any of those four outcomes. However, both interventions related to a reduction in workplace absence due to illness.


The study suggests that self-guided, positive psychology interventions (particularly gratitude) hold potential for enhancing employee well-being. Because the interventions are short, simple, and self-guided, there is little in the way of costs or drawbacks for organizations. Thus, these types of interventions seem like a potentially useful component of workplace wellness initiatives.


This study is one of the few to examine whether self-guided, positive psychology interventions can enhance well-being. Moreover, this is the first study to examine a social connectedness workplace intervention and the first to demonstrate effects on illness-related absence.


Positive psychology Intervention Workplace well-being Gratitude Social connectedness Affect 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seth Kaplan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jill C. Bradley-Geist
    • 2
  • Afra Ahmad
    • 1
  • Amanda Anderson
    • 1
  • Amber K. Hargrove
    • 1
  • Alex Lindsey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Craig School of BusinessCalifornia State UniversityFresnoUSA

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