Positive Psychology Interventions for Chronic Physical Illnesses: A Systematic Review


Positive health focuses on enhancing health along with curing illness to bring about well-being. Treatment for physical illness generally involves drug therapy, while the psycho-social aspects, specifically the positive psychology perspectives, are largely ignored; nevertheless, a growing number of investigations are now studying the effects of positive psychology interventions on health outcomes. The objective of this paper is to systematically review positive psychology interventions in chronic physical illness. A literature search through the databases of EBSCO, PubMed and PsycINFO, reference lists of significant papers and grey literature was conducted following four criteria set for this review. The number of studies selected finally that acceded to the criteria was 14. These studies were analysed by focusing on the study characteristics, kinds of intervention and outcomes of positive psychology interventions. Overall findings reveal that different intervention programmes have been devised by combining various exercises, writing is the most commonly used method for administration and positive psychology interventions are considered feasible and acceptable by patients, but findings about their usefulness are inconclusive. Suggestions for future research, clinical practice and application in communities have been provided which may be useful for clinicians, practitioners and caregivers.

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The authors would like to thank researchers for sharing their publications via e-mail communication. The current work has been undertaken by the funding provided by Indian Council of Medical Research for Senior Research Fellowship.

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Correspondence to Anindita Ghosh.

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Ghosh, A., Deb, A. Positive Psychology Interventions for Chronic Physical Illnesses: A Systematic Review. Psychol Stud 62, 213–232 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12646-017-0421-y

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  • Positive psychology
  • Positive psychology intervention(s)
  • Chronic physical illness
  • Positive health
  • Physical health