Efficacy of an adaptation of the Best Possible Self intervention implemented through positive technology: a randomized control trial

Abstract

Best possible Self (BPS) is a positive psychological intervention based on positive future thinking. It has been shown to be effective in improving well-being and depressive symptoms over short periods of time. Positive technology is a scientific approach designed to increase well-being through Information and Communication Technologies. To assess the efficacy of the BPS implemented through a positive technology application in improving optimistic thinking, affect and depressive symptoms, during a one-month period, with two follow-ups one and three months later. Randomized, single-blind control trial. Central randomization was performed by an independent researcher using computer software to generate lists allocating participants to treatments. Recruitment was carried out through advertisements at two universities. Randomized participants were 78 young adults who were assigned to the e-BPS condition (n = 38) or to a control group (n = 40). Participants were asked to visualize their BPS each day using a Positive Technology Application. The Control condition consisted of thinking and writing about daily activities, also through technologies. Affect, future expectations, and depressive symptoms were measured in different time frames. 78 participants were analyzed using intention-to-treat analyses. Results showed that BPS was effective in improving future expectations measures and reducing depressive symptoms until the post-training. However, these effects were not maintained in the three-month follow-up period. This study indicates that BPS can be effectively adapted for implementation through positive technologies. Factors such as the variety of exercises and the instructions can play a role in maintaining the changes in the long term.

Trial registration clinicaltrails.gov Identifier: NCT02321605.

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Correspondence to Ángel Enrique.

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Jaume I University grant PREDOC/2012/51.

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Enrique, Á., Bretón-López, J., Molinari, G. et al. Efficacy of an adaptation of the Best Possible Self intervention implemented through positive technology: a randomized control trial. Applied Research Quality Life 13, 671–689 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-017-9552-5

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Keywords

  • Best Possible Self
  • future thinking
  • Positive Psychological Intervention
  • Positive Technology
  • Optimism
  • well-being