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A Multiple Component Positive Psychology Intervention to Reduce Anxiety and Increase Happiness in Adolescents: The Mediating Roles of Gratitude and Emotional Intelligence

Abstract

The study aimed to examine the effectiveness of a multicomponent positive psychology program for adolescents with moderate levels of anxiety symptoms in Hong Kong, China. The program combined elements and techniques of gratitude and emotional intelligence intervention delivered in the group format. Adopting a two-armed randomized controlled trial research design, a total of 92 secondary school students who scored 9–11 in the Chinese Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, were randomly assigned to the intervention and control groups. After the seven-session program, participants of the intervention groups showed a significant decrease in anxiety and significant increase in subjective happiness. Furthermore, the two active components of this program, gratitude and emotional intelligence, mediated the relationship between the intervention and the change in subjective happiness. In addition, emotional intelligence mediated the effect of the intervention on the change in anxiety symptoms. Findings of this study shed light on the applicability and efficacy of multicomponent positive psychology programs in alleviating anxiety and enhancing subjective happiness of adolescents. Future research is called for to advance our understanding of multicomponent positive psychology programs across different types of active components, samples, and conditions.

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Funding

This research is supported by Social Welfare Development Fund, the Social Welfare Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.

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First author: Funding acquisition, Conceptualization, Methodology, Writing-review and editing. Second and corresponding author: Data analysis, Writing - original draft preparation. Third author: Data collection.

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Correspondence to Minmin Gu.

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Kwok, S.Y.C.L., Gu, M. & Tam, N.W.Y. A Multiple Component Positive Psychology Intervention to Reduce Anxiety and Increase Happiness in Adolescents: The Mediating Roles of Gratitude and Emotional Intelligence. J Happiness Stud 23, 2039–2058 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-021-00487-x

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Keywords

  • Positive psychology intervention
  • Gratitude
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Anxiety
  • Subjective happiness
  • Chinese adolescents