Three items of Positive Psychology in the news recently:
A Reuters article (2-26-07) reports EU citizens are officially happy: poll about a pan-European opinion poll published on Monday showing 87% of EU citizens considering themselves happy, with a record 97% in Denmark. The article says that this “Eurobarometer survey on “European social reality” [was] conducted between mid-November and mid-December,” and 26,755 Europeans were interviewed. The unhappiest country was Bulgaria which joined the EU in January, and reported 55% unhappiness. Estonians were found to be the largest optimists, and Hungarians the largest pessimists.
The Eurobarometer opinion poll asked questions about satisfaction with retirement and employment prospects, importance of health, family, friends, work, and leisure, as well as questions about politics and religion. The full text of the Eurobarometer survery is here.
(Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
In the March 2007 Scientific American, Michael Shermer presents the brief article (Can’t Get No) Satisfaction: The new science of happiness needs some historical perspective. Shermer uses thoughts from four books and one study to draw the conclusion that people a century ago would have answered happiness questionnaires in an entirely different way, and Shermer calls for happiness research to have historical perspective. Shermer agrees with author Jennifer Michael Hecht in her book The Happiness Myth (2007) that happiness research is time- and culture-dependant.
NASPA Dissertation-of-the-Year is themed Education and Positive Psychology
The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) has awarded the Dissertation of the Year award to Virginia Miller Ambler for her Ph.D. in Education thesis from the College of William and Mary. Ambler’s dissertation is titled, “Who Flourishes in College? Using Positive Psychology and Student Involvement Theory to Explore Mental Health Among Traditionally Aged Undergraduates.”
From the news release (2-23-07), “Ambler looked at five variables that could contribute to an undergraduate student’s overall social, emotional and psychological well-being: level of academic challenge, active/collaborative learning, student/faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences and supportive campus environment. She found that students’ mental health was significantly related to all five of the engagement variables, with a supportive campus environment being the most predictive of optimal mental health.” There is a large discussion of positive psychology and flourishing in the dissertation. Ambler’s dissertation can be read in full here.