Advertisement

Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 1753–1768 | Cite as

Second Wave Positive Psychology: Exploring the Positive–Negative Dialectics of Wellbeing

  • Tim LomasEmail author
  • Itai Ivtzan
Review Article

Abstract

Positive psychology has tended to be defined in terms of a concern with ‘positive’ psychological qualities and states. However, critics of the field have highlighted various problems inherent in classifying phenomena as either ‘positive’ or ‘negative.’ For instance, ostensibly positive qualities (e.g., optimism) can sometimes be detrimental to wellbeing, whereas apparently negative processes (like anxiety) may at times be conducive to it. As such, over recent years, a more nuanced ‘second wave’ of positive psychology has been germinating, which explores the philosophical and conceptual complexities of the very idea of the ‘positive.’ The current paper introduces this emergent second wave by examining the ways in which the field is developing a more subtle understanding of the dialectical nature of flourishing (i.e., involving a complex and dynamic interplay of positive and negative experiences). The paper does so by problematizing the notions of positive and negative through seven case studies, including five salient dichotomies (such as optimism vs. pessimism) and two complex processes (posttraumatic growth and love). These case studies serve to highlight the type of critical, dialectical thinking that characterises this second wave, thereby outlining the contours of the evolving field.

Keywords

Dialectics Flourishing Positive Negative Second wave positive psychology 

References

  1. Aarts, H., Paulussen, T., & Schaalma, H. (1997). Physical exercise habit: On the conceptualization and formation of habitual health behaviours. Health Education Research, 12(3), 363–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahmed, S. (2007). The happiness turn. New Formations, 63, 7–14.Google Scholar
  3. Ahmed, S. (2010). The promise of happiness. New York: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. American Psychiatric Association. (1980). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  5. Aristotle. (350BCE/2000). Nicomachean ethics (R. Crisp Ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bassi, M., Falautano, M., Cilia, S., Goretti, B., Grobberio, M., Pattini, M., & Delle Fave, A. (2014). The coexistence of well-and ill-being in persons with multiple sclerosis, their caregivers and health professionals. Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 337(1), 67–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bauman, Z. (2013). Liquid love: On the frailty of human bonds. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  8. Baumeister, R. F., Smart, L., & Boden, J. M. (1996). Relation of threatened egotism to violence and aggression: The dark side of high self-esteem. Psychological Review, 103(1), 5–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beck, A. T. (1999). Prisoners of hate: The cognitive basis of anger, hostility, and violence. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  10. Becker, D., & Marecek, J. (2008). Positive psychology: History in the remaking? Theory and Psychology, 18(5), 591–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bhikkhu, T. (2013). Sallatha sutta: The arrow (SN 36.6). Access to insight. Google Scholar
  12. Calhoun, L. G., & Tedeschi, R. G. (2013). Posttraumatic growth in clinical practice. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Camus, A. (1955). The myth of sisyphus, and other essays. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  14. Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1990). Origins and functions of positive and negative affect: A control-process view. Psychological Review, 97(1), 19–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Christiansen, S., Oettingen, G., Dahme, B., & Klinger, R. (2010). A short goal-pursuit intervention to improve physical capacity: A randomized clinical trial in chronic back pain patients. Pain, 149(3), 444–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Crocker, J., & Park, L. E. (2004). The costly pursuit of self-esteem. Psychological Bulletin, 130(3), 392–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. DasGupta, S. (2008). Narrative humility. The Lancet, 371(9617), 980–981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dekel, S., Ein-Dor, T., & Solomon, Z. (2012). Posttraumatic growth and posttraumatic distress: A longitudinal study. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 4(1), 94–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Delle Fave, A., Brdar, I., Freire, T., Vella-Brodrick, D., & Wissing, M. (2011). The eudaimonic and hedonic components of happiness: Qualitative and quantitative findings. Social Indicators Research, 100(2), 185–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125(2), 276–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dostoevsky, F. (1880/1990). The Brothers Karamzov (R. Pevear & L. Volokhonsky, Trans.). San Francisco, CA: North Point Press.Google Scholar
  22. Ehrenreich, B. (2009). Smile or die: How positive thinking fooled America and the world. London: Granta.Google Scholar
  23. Fianco, A., Sartori, R. D. G., Negri, L., Lorini, S., Valle, G., & Fave, A. D. (2015). The relationship between burden and well-being among caregivers of Italian people diagnosed with severe neuromotor and cognitive disorders. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 39, 43–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Frankl, V. E. (1963). Man’s search for meaning: An introduction to logotherapy. New York: Washington Square Press.Google Scholar
  25. Friedman, H. S., Tucker, J. S., Tomlinson-Keasey, C., Schwartz, J. E., Wingard, D. L., & Criqui, M. H. (1993). Does childhood personality predict longevity? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 176–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gerrard, M., Gibbons, F. X., Reis-Bergan, M., & Russell, D. W. (2000). Self-esteem, self-serving cognitions, and health risk behavior. Journal of Personality, 68(6), 1177–1201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Giltay, E. J., Geleijnse, J. M., Zitman, F. G., Hoekstra, T., & Schouten, E. G. (2004). Dispositional optimism and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in a prospective cohort of elderly Dutch men and women. Archives of General Psychiatry, 61(11), 1126–1135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hadfield, C. (2013). An astronaut’s guide to life on earth. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  29. Haidt, J. (2003). The moral emotions. In R. J. Davidson, K. R. Scherer, & H. H. Goldsmith (Eds.), Handbook of affective sciences (pp. 852–870). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Hardin, E. E., Robitschek, C., Flores, L. Y., Navarro, R. L., & Ashton, M. W. (2014). The cultural lens approach to evaluating cultural validity of psychological theory. American Psychologist, 69(7), 656–668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hayes, S. C. (2002). Buddhism and acceptance and commitment therapy. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 9(1), 58–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hegel, G. W. F. (1812/1969). Science of Logic (A. V. Miller, Trans.). London: George Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  33. Held, B. S. (2002). The tyranny of the positive attitude in America: Observation and speculation. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(9), 965–991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Held, B. S. (2004). The negative side of positive psychology. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 44(1), 9–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Horowitz, A. V., & Wakefield, J. C. (2007). The loss of sadness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Iyengar, S. S., & Lepper, M. R. (1999). Rethinking the value of choice: A cultural perspective on intrinsic motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76(3), 349–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Joshanloo, M. (2014). Eastern conceptualizations of happiness: Fundamental differences with Western views. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15(2), 475–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Jost, J. T. (1995). Negative illusions: Conceptual clarification and psychological evidence concerning false consciousness. Political Psychology, 16, 397–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kashdan, T. B., Biswas-Diener, R., & King, L. A. (2008). Reconsidering happiness: The cost of distinguishing between hedonics and eudaimonia. Journal of Positive Psychology, 3(4), 219–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Keyes, C. L. M. (2007). Promoting and protecting mental health as flourishing: A complementary strategy for improving national mental health. American Psychologist, 62(2), 95–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kierkegaard, S. (1834/1957). The concept of dread (W. Lowrie, Trans. Second ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  42. King, L. A. (2001). The hard road to the good life: The happy, mature person. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 41(1), 51–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. King, M. L. (2007). The papers of martin luther king. In C. Carson (Ed.), Advocate of the social gospel, September 1948–March 1963 (Vol. VI). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  44. Koutrouli, N., Anagnostopoulos, F., & Potamianos, G. (2012). Posttraumatic stress disorder and posttraumatic growth in breast cancer patients: A systematic review. Women and Health, 52(5), 503–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lazarus, R. S. (2003). Does the positive psychology movement have legs? Psychological Inquiry, 14(2), 93–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lee, J. A. (1973). The colors of love: An exploration of the ways of loving. Don Mills: New Press.Google Scholar
  47. Levinas, E. (1987). Time and the other and other essays (R. A. Cohen, Trans.). Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Lewis, C. S. (1971). The four loves. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Google Scholar
  49. Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. (2004). Applied positive psychology: A new perspective for professional practice. In P. A. Linley & S. Joseph (Eds.), Positive psychology in practice (pp. 3–12). Hoboken: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Marx, K. (1844/1975). A contribution to the critique of hegel’s philosophy of right: Introduction (R. Livingstone & G. Benton, Trans.). In L. Colletti (Ed.), Karl marx: Early writings (pp. 243–257). London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  51. Matthews, E. (2000). Autonomy and the psychiatric patient. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 17(1), 59–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Mauss, I. B., Tamir, M., Anderson, C. L., & Savino, N. S. (2011). Can seeking happiness make people unhappy? Paradoxical effects of valuing happiness. Emotion, 11(4), 807–815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. McMahon, D. M. (2006). Happiness: A history. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.Google Scholar
  54. McNulty, J. K., & Fincham, F. D. (2011). Beyond positive psychology? Toward a contextual view of psychological processes and well-being. American Psychologist, 67(2), 101–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Merriam-Webster. (2014). Dialectic.Google Scholar
  56. Mill, J. S. (1873/1960). Autobiography. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Mills, J. (2000). Dialectical psychoanalysis: Toward process psychology. Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 23(3), 20–54.Google Scholar
  58. Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Rodriguez, M. I. (1989). Delay of gratification in children. Science, 244(4907), 933–938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Norem, J. K. (2001). The positive power of negative thinking. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  60. O’Leary, V. E., & Ickovics, J. R. (1994). Resilience and thriving in response to challenge: An opportunity for a paradigm shift in women’s health. Women’s health (Hillsdale, NJ), 1(2), 121–142.Google Scholar
  61. Peterson, C. (2000). The future of optimism. American Psychologist, 55(1), 44–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Pooley, J. A., Cohen, L., O’Connor, M., & Taylor, M. (2013). Posttraumatic stress and posttraumatic growth and their relationship to coping and self-efficacy in Northwest Australian cyclone communities. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 5(4), 392–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Reed, G. L., & Enright, R. D. (2006). The effects of forgiveness therapy on depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress for women after spousal emotional abuse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(5), 920–929.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Rowatt, W. C., Ottenbreit, A., Nesselroade, K. P, Jr, & Cunningham, P. A. (2002). On being holier-than-thou or humbler-than-thee: A social-psychological perspective on religiousness and humility. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 41(2), 227–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57(6), 1069–1081.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. (2003). Ironies of the human condition. Well-being and health on the way to mortality. In L. G. Aspinwall & U. M. Staudinger (Eds.), A psychology of human strengths (pp. 271–287). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  68. Sartre, J.-P. (1952). Existentialism and Humanism (P. Mairet, Trans.). Paris: Methuen.Google Scholar
  69. Schimmel, J. (2013). Development as happiness: The subjective perception of happiness and UNDP’s analysis of poverty, wealth and development. The exploration of happiness (pp. 281–302). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Schopenhauer, A. (1819/1969). The world as will and representation. New York: Dover Publications.Google Scholar
  71. Schwartz, B. (2000). Self-determination: The tyranny of freedom. American Psychologist, 55(1), 79–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Seligman, M. E. P. (1990). Learned optimism. New York: Pocket Books.Google Scholar
  73. Seligman, M. E. P. (1995). The optimistic child: Proven program to safeguard children from depression and build lifelong resilience. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  74. Shenk, J. W. (2006). Lincoln’s melancholy: How depression challenged a president and fueled his greatness. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.Google Scholar
  75. Siegel, A. (2009). Justice stevens and the seattle schools case: A case study on the role of righteous anger in constitutional discourse. UC Davis Law Review, 43, 927–937.Google Scholar
  76. Spitzberg, B. H., & Cupach, W. R. (1998). The dark side of close relationships. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  77. Szasz, T. S. (1960). The myth of mental illness. American Psychologist, 15(2), 113–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Tangey, J. P. (Ed.). (2005). Humility. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  79. Tavris, C. (1989). Anger: The misunderstood emotion. New York: Touchstone.Google Scholar
  80. Tedeschi, R., & Calhoun, L. (1996). The posttraumatic growth inventory: Measuring the positive legacy of trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9(3), 455–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Tedeschi, R. G., & Calhoun, L. G. (2004). Posttraumatic growth: Conceptual foundations and empirical evidence. Psychological Inquiry, 15(1), 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Thieleman, K., & Cacciatore, J. (2014). When a child dies: A critical analysis of grief-related controversies in DSM-5. Research on Social Work Practice, 24(1), 114–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Thoolen, B. J., Ridder, D. D., Bensing, J., Gorter, K., & Rutten, G. (2009). Beyond good intentions: The role of proactive coping in achieving sustained behavioural change in the context of diabetes management. Psychology and Health, 24(3), 237–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Trzesniewski, K. H., Donnellan, M. B., Moffitt, T. E., Robins, R. W., Poulton, R., & Caspi, A. (2006). Low self-esteem during adolescence predicts poor health, criminal behavior, and limited economic prospects during adulthood. Developmental Psychology, 42(2), 381–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Tsai, J. L. (2007). Ideal affect: Cultural causes and behavioral consequences. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2(3), 242–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Uchida, Y., & Ogihara, Y. (2012). Personal or interpersonal construal of happiness: A cultural psychological perspective. International Journal of Wellbeing, 2(4), 354–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Weinstein, N. D., Marcus, S. E., & Moser, R. P. (2005). Smokers’ unrealistic optimism about their risk. Tobacco Control, 14(1), 55–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Wong, P. T. P. (1995). A stage model of coping with frustrative stress. In R. Wong (Ed.), Biological perspectives on motivated activities (pp. 339–378). Norwood: Ablex Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
  89. Wong, P. T. P. (1998). Implicit theories of meaningful life and the development of the Personal Meaning Profile (PMP). In P. T. P. Wong & P. Fry (Eds.), The human quest for meaning: A handbook of psychological research and clinical applications (pp. 111–140). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc.Google Scholar
  90. Wong, P. T. P. (2009). Viktor frankl: Prophet of hope for the 21st century. In A. Batthyany & J. Levinson (Eds.), Existential psychotherapy of meaning: Handbook of logotherapy and existential analysis. Phoenix: Zeig, Tucker and Theisen Inc.Google Scholar
  91. Wong, P. T. P. (2011). Positive psychology 2.0: Towards a balanced interactive model of the good life. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 52(2), 69–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Wong, P. T. P. (2012). Toward a dual-systems model of what makes life worth living. In P. T. P. Wong (Ed.), The human quest for meaning: Theories, research, and applications (pp. 3–22). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  93. Wong, P. T. P., & Wong, L. C. J. (2012). A meaning-centered approach to building youth resilience. In P. T. P. Wong (Ed.), The human quest for meaning: Theories, research, and applications (2nd ed., pp. 585–617). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  94. Woolfolk, R. L. (2002). The power of negative thinking: Truth, melancholia, and the tragic sense of life. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 22(1), 19–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Worthington, E. L. (2007). Humility: The quiet virtue. New York: Templeton Foundation Press.Google Scholar
  96. Wright, D. S. (2008). Introduction: Rethinking ritual practice in Zen Buddhism. In S. Heine & D. S. Wright (Eds.), Zen ritual: Studies of zen buddhist theory in practice (pp. 3–20). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  97. Yalom, I. (1980). Existential therapy. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of East LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations