Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Strengths Intervention on Adolescent Mental Health are Mediated by Changes in Negative Emotions

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Abstract

Previous studies in adult samples have shown that emotions, especially positive emotions, are one of the key mechanisms of change in positive psychology interventions. The current research aimed to investigate whether these emotions also mediate the effect of a positive psychology intervention, based on mindfulness and strengths use for adolescents, on mental health outcomes (i.e., well-being, peer-related and attentional problems). A quasi-experimental study was performed, including assessments one week before and one week after the intervention. The results of the multilevel mediation analyses showed that adolescents who completed the intervention (N=70) experienced a significant decrease in negative emotions but no significant increase in positive emotions compared to adolescents who did not participate in the intervention (N=236). Changes in negative emotions mediated changes in mental health outcomes (i.e., well-being and peer-related problems) associated with the intervention. Further, adolescents who started, but not necessarily completed the intervention (N=116) experienced no significant decrease in negative emotions. Findings suggest that positive psychology interventions may have an effect on health outcomes by decreasing negative emotions in addition to fostering positive emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Positive Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Feb 2024

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