Wellbeing Matters in Kuwait: The Alnowair’s Bareec Education Initiative
- 169 Downloads
Wellbeing is predictive of improved learning outcomes, better mental health, prosocial and civic behavior, higher work productivity, and enhanced life satisfaction. Given that literature in support of wellbeing is robust, it is incumbent on local communities to put this research into practice and develop culturally-competent programs that promote the skills to increase it. In collaboration with Alnowair, a non-profit organization committed to increasing wellbeing in Kuwait, a semester-long positive psychology program, called Bareec, was designed to generate positive emotions and increase levels of flourishing in university and secondary school students. The Bareec program consisted of 15-min weekly instructions in positive psychology and positive psychology interventions. To test the program’s efficacy, Bareec was implemented in the national public university and in 10 secondary schools (total N = 977). Relative to control groups, Bareec university participants showed greater levels of flourishing (eudaimonic wellbeing; d = .32), while secondary school participants showed enhanced positive affect (hedonic wellbeing; d = .27) in addition to a small improvement in flourishing (d = .15).
KeywordsPositive psychology Kuwait Positive psychology interventions Positive education School University
- Arampatzi, E., Burger, M. J., Ianchovichina, E., Röhricht, T., & Veenhoven, R. (2015). Unhappy development: Dissatisfaction with life on the eve of the Arab Spring. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7488. https://doi.org/10.1596/1813-9450-7488.
- ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller. (2015). 7th Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey. Retrieved July 7, 2017 from http://www.arabyouthsurvey.com/uploads/whitepaper/archives/2015-AYS-White-Paper-EN_09042016131858.pdf.
- ASDA’A Burson Marsteller. (2018). Arab Youth Survey 2018: A decade of hopes & fears. Retrieved March 12, 2018 from http://arabyouthsurvey.com/findings.html.
- Buck, B., Carr, S. R., & Robertson, J. (2008). Positive psychology and student engagement. Journal of Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives in Education, 1(1), 28–35.Google Scholar
- Central Intelligence Agency. (2016). The World Factbook: Kuwait. Retrieved January 12, 2017 from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ku.html.
- Chancellor, J., Layous, K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2015). Recalling positive events at work makes employees feel happier, move more, but interact less: A 6-week randomized controlled intervention at a Japanese workplace. Journal of Happiness Studies, 16, 871–887. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-014-9538-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Deming, D. J. (2015). The growing importance of social skills in the labor market. Working Paper No. 21472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved March 2, 2016 from https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/ddeming/files/deming_socialskills_aug16.pdf.
- Diener, E., & Seligmn, M. (2004). Beyond money: Toward an economy of well-being: Psychological science in the public interest. Social Capital Gateway, 5, 1–31.Google Scholar
- Dimitrov, D. M., & Rumrill, P. D., Jr. (2003). Pretest-posttest designs and measurement of change. Work: A Journal of Assessment Prevention, and Rehabilitation, 20, 159–165.Google Scholar
- Dunn, D. S., Beard, B. M., & Fisher, D. J. (2011). On happiness: Introducing students to positive psychology. In R. Miller, E. Balcetis, S. R. Burns, D. B. Daniel, B. K. Saville, & W. D. Woody (Eds.), Promoting student engagement (Vol. 2, pp. 207–216). Washington, DC: Society for the Teaching of Psychology, Division 2, American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
- Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405–432. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01564.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House.Google Scholar
- Gallup. (2010). Life evaluations in the GCC: Subjective wellbeing and health. Retrieved November 12, 2016 from http://www.gallup.com/poll/157064/life-evaluations-gcc-subjective-wellbeing-health.aspx.
- Garland, E. L., Fredrickson, B. L., Kring, A. M., Johnson, D. P., Meyer, P. S., & Penn, D. L. (2010). Upward spirals of positive emotions counter downward spirals of negativity: Insights from the broaden-and-build theory and affective neuroscience on the treatment of emotion dysfunctions and deficits psychopathology. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 849–864. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2010.03.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gillham, J. E., Reivich, K. J., Freres, D. R., Chaplin, T. M., Shatté, A. J., Samuels, B., et al. (2007). School-based prevention of depressive symptoms: A randomized controlled study of the effective-ness and specificity of the Penn Resiliency Program. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75, 9–19.Google Scholar
- Green, L. S., Oades, L. G., & Robinson, P. L. (2012). Positive education programmes: Integrating coaching and positive psychology in schools. In Christian van Nieuwerburgh (Ed.), Coaching in education: Getting better results for students, educators, and parents (pp. 115–132). London: Karnac Books.Google Scholar
- Heckman, J. J., & Kautz, T. (2012). Hard evidence on soft skills. NBER Working Paper No. w18121. Retrieved May 12, 2017 from SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2073161.
- Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (2017). World Happiness Report 2017. New York, NY: Sustainable Development Solutions Network.Google Scholar
- Hoare, E., Bott, D., & Robinson, J. (2017). Learn it, live it, teach it, embed it: Implementing a whole school approach to foster positive mental health and wellbeing through Positive Education. International Journal of Wellbeing, 7(3), 56–71. https://doi.org/10.5502/ijw.v7i3.645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- International Finance Corporation. (2011). Education for employment: Realizing Arab youth potential. International Finance Corporation. Retrieved January 11, 2016 from www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/1a854480482cc759a513edd1c8896efa/e4eReportFinal.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.
- International Labour Office (ILO). (2013). Rethinking economic growth: Towards productive and inclusive Arab societies. International Labour Office (ILO) Regional Office for the Arab States/UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States, Beirut, Lebanon. Retrieved January 11, 2016 from www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_204119/lang–en/index.htm.
- Johnson, D. P., Penn, D. L., Fredrickson, B. L., Kring, A. M., Meyer, P. S., Catalino, L. I., et al. (2011). A pilot study of loving-kindness meditation for the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 129, 137–140. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2011.02.015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Jones, D. E., Greenberg, M., & Crowley, M. (2015). Early social-emotional functioning and public health: The relationship between kindergarten social competence and future wellness. American Journal of Public Health, 105(11), 2283–2290. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2015.302630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kashdan, T. B., Biswas-Diener, R., & King, L. A. (2008). Reconsidering happiness: The costs of distinguishing between hedonics and eudaimonia. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 3, 219–233.Google Scholar
- Knapp, T. R., & Schafer, W. D. (2009). From gain score t to ANCOVA F. Practical Assessment and Research Evaluation, 14, 1–9.Google Scholar
- Kurtz, J. L., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2012). Using mindful photography to increase positive emotion and appreciation. In J. J. Froh & A. C. Parks (Eds.), Positive psychology in higher education: A practical workbook for the classroom (pp. 133–136). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
- Lambert D’raven, L., & Pasha-Zaidi, N. (2014). Happiness strategies among Arab university students in the United Arab Emirates. Journal of Happiness and Well-Being, 2(1), 131–144.Google Scholar
- Lambert, L., Pasha-Zaidi, N., Passmore, H.-A., & York Al-Karam, C. (2015). Developing an indigenous positive psychology in the United Arab Emirates. Middle East Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(1), 1–23.Google Scholar
- Layous, K., Chancellor, J., Lyubomirsky, S., Wang, L., & Doraiswamy, P. (2011). Delivering happiness: Translating positive psychology intervention research for treating major and minor depressive disorders. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 17, 675–683. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2011.0139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Longhi, S., Nandi, A., Bryan, M., Connolly, S., & Gedikli, C. (2018). Transitions form full-time education into employment: The role of wellbeing. UK: Retrieved from the What Works Centre for Wellbeing.Google Scholar
- Lonigan, C. J., Phillips, B. M., & Hooe, E. S. (2003). Relations of positive and negative affectivity to anxiety and depression in children: Evidence from a latent variable longitudinal study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71(3), 465–481. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.71.3.465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Proctor, C., Tsukayama, E., Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Fox Eades, J., & Linley, P. A. (2011). Strengths Gym: The impact of a character strengths-based intervention on the life satisfaction and well-being of adolescents. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(5), 377–388. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2011.594079.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rao, M. A., Donaldson, S. I., & Doiron, K. M. (2015). Positive psychology research in the Middle East and North Africa. Middle East Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(1), 60–76.Google Scholar
- Roth, R. A., Suldo, S. M., & Ferron, (2017). Improving middle school students’ subjective wellbeing: Efficacy of a multi-component Positive Psychology Intervention targeting small groups of youth and parents. School Psychology Review, 46, 21–41. https://doi.org/10.17105/10.17105/SPR46-1.21-41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Schrank, B., Brownell, T., Tylee, A., & Slade, M. (2014). Positive psychology: An approach to supporting recovery in mental illness. East Asian Archives of Psychiatry, 24(3), 95–103.Google Scholar
- Schwalje, W. (2013). A conceptual model of national skills formation for knowledge-based economic development in the Arab world. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research (Ras Al Khaimah, UAE). Retrieved May 12, 2017 from http://www.alqasimifoundation.com/en/publication/36/a-conceptual-model-of-national-skills-formation-for-knowledge-based-economic-development-in-the-arab-world.
- Seligman, M. E. P., & Adler, A. (2018). Positive education. In The Global Happiness Council (Ed.), Global Happiness Policy Report 2018 (pp. 53–73). New York, NY: Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Retrieved May 15, 2018 from https://www.worldgovernmentsummit.org/api/publications/document?id=304a8bc4-e97c-6578-b2f8-ff0000a7ddb6.
- Shin, L. J., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2016). Positive activity interventions for mental health conditions: Basic research and clinical applications. In J. Johnson & A. Wood (Eds.), The handbook of positive clinical psychology (pp. 349–363). New York: Wiley. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118468197.ch23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Suldo, S., Thalji, A., & Ferron, J. (2011). Longitudinal academic outcomes predicted by early adolescents’ subjective well-being, psychopathology, and mental health status yielded from a dual factor model. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(1), 17–30. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2010.536774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Weiss, L. A., Westerhof, G. J., & Bohlmeijer, E. T. (2016). Can we increase psychological well-being? The effects of interventions on psychological well-being: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS ONE, 11(6), e0158092. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0158092.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wong, P. T. P. (2013). Cross-cultural positive psychology. In K. Keith (Ed.), Encyclopedia of cross-cultural psychology. Oxford, UK: Wiley Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
- World Bank. (2015). Kuwait: GDP per capita. World Development Indicators Data: World Bank. Retrieved May 19, 2017 from http://data.worldbank.org/country/kuwait?view=chart.