Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 293–311 | Cite as

Self-Affirmation Theory and the Science of Well-Being

  • Andrew J. Howell
Review Article


Social psychological self-affirmation research shows that value affirmations often boost adaptive functioning. Yet, such effects are under-recognized within the fields of well-being studies and positive psychology. This paper reviews self-affirmation theory and the principles by which self-affirmation is understood to facilitate resilient responses to self-threats. Next, it reviews research on the impact of self-affirmation on well-being, including feeling good and functioning well. The positive-activity model is employed to conceptualize self-affirmation as a well-being intervention and to underscore potential mediators and moderators of the relationship between self-affirmation and well-being. Future lines of investigation are outlined, including the role of self-affirmation within existing well-being interventions, the use of self-affirmation to enhance other well-being interventions, and the measurement of individual differences in trait self-affirmation in the prediction of well-being.


Self-affirmation Resilience Well-being Positive psychology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMacEwan UniversityEdmontonCanada

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